8:30am

Wed July 9, 2008
Columns

Tuke Seeks to Challenge Alexander for U.S. Senate

Murfreesboro, TN – Former Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Bob Tuke is competing to run against incumbent Republican Senator Lamar Alexander in the November general election.

In a nod to Alexander's "walk across the state" in his successful 1978 gubernatorial campaign, Tuke is "marching" in Tennessee communities in combat boots and fatigues in reference to his service as a marine in Vietnam.

During a march through Murfreesboro at the Stones River National Battlefield, Tuke outlined three top issues that he says Alexander is not addressing.

"I think it's about time that we had somebody who really paid attention to the needs of Tennesseans, and I think Senator Alexander has allowed himself to become too much of the Washington establishment," Tuke said.

Depicting himself as a friend of Alexander's, Tuke insisted, "This is all about issues, politics, and outlook."

Tuke's top issue of concern are high fuel prices.

"Unless you're willing to take on big oil, you can't bring down fuel prices, and Senator Alexander has not been willing to take on big oil," Tuke alleged.

"We need somebody in there who would vote for a windfall profit tax, which is what I would do, and who would vote for removing tax subsidies that these big oil companies obviously enjoy and that they don't need, since they've been enjoying record profits," Tuke said.

Tuke supports diverting the money for oil company subsidies to groups that are working on alternative energy technologies.

Tuke's second major issue of concern is free trade.

"The whole idea of free trade agreements was to have the other side have to do something as well. The United States eliminated its tariffs, but on the other side they were supposed to raise their labor standards and their environmental standards, and none of that's been done," Tuke said.

"I would suspend NAFTA and CAFTA until the countries on the other side begin to demonstrate that they will raise their labor standards," Tuke added.

Tuke also advocates a plan to pull out from Iraq.

"Our military is being badly misused in Iraq. It is essentially supervising a civil war," he said.

"On the other hand, I think the war in Afghanistan is precisely what we need to be doing to fight the war on terror," Tuke stated.

"The Bush administration made a terrible mistake by not focusing on [Afghanistan] and instead invading Iraq," he added.

Tuke will face Democratic opponents in the August Tennessee Democratic primary, including Mark Clayton, Gary Davis, Kenneth Eaton, Leonard Ladner, and Mike Padgett.