Chances are, if you look to your right, you'll see Richard Floyd grinning at you --his banner proclaiming him to be "Your Voice for Sanctity of Life and Marriage, Less Tax - Less Government, Jobs and Economic Expansion, Improved Education." To the average red state voter this may look great, unnecessary capitalization and disparate conjunctions notwithstanding. Furthermore, most who associate themselves with one of the two major parties are likely to vote 'R' or 'D' 'down the page' or abstain from voting on local elections altogether.
However, this is one election where your vote can make a real difference. I became aware of Mr. Floyd's unyielding stance recently in a Chattanooga Times-Free Press article about the archaic laws that are keeping Chattanooga Whiskey Company's distillery (and any distillery for that matter) out of Hamilton County. Regarding having any such distillery in Hamilton County, Mr. Floyd said, "By my faith, I vote against every alcohol bill. I'd vote twice if I could." While I can tolerate that Mr. Floyd's faith tells him alcohol is bad, I can't tolerate such a hard-nosed position in blatant disregard of his constituents and the jobs and income a distillery could bring Chattanooga.
Tennessee's liquor and beer laws have already kept at least one massive brewery operation out of our state. Aside from a recent change that allowed breweries to brew high-gravity beer for in-house sales (while still taxing these beers at a higher rate), it seems clear that our liquor and beer sales laws aren't likely to change any time soon. Now, surely Mr. Floyd can't believe he's going to lead a charge to tighten these already burdensome regulations.
So, what difference is a distillery going to make in local consumption --Mr. Floyd's apparent concern? We all know well that our beloved Jack Daniel's Whiskey can't even be consumed at any business in that distillery's own (dry) Moore County. We also know that Chattanooga Whiskey is available legally in liquor stores and for consumption at local bars and restaurants. This isn't likely to change. So, what harm could possibly come from the distillery being in Chattanooga or Hamilton County?
The bottom line is, Richard Floyd may support all the ideals listed in his banner advertisement. But he's only for them if they don't run counter to his brand of faith --constituents be damned. I consider myself lucky that he only gets to vote once. I hope on Nov. 6, residents of State House District 27 will choose to give him one vote less than that.
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Even though I disagree with my friend Richard Floyd on his position on the Chattanooga Distillery, I find Brad Lumley's letter encouraging people to vote for Frank Eaton for the good of the Chattanooga economy ludicrous. To think that sending one of the leaders of, "Occupy Chattanooga" to Nashville to represent us would encourage more businesses to come to Chattanooga would be hilarious if it wasn't so important. Maybe Frank could take his tent to Nashville and camp out on Capitol Hill. I am sure that would impress business leaders.
Richard Floyd is a man of principle and will represent us well in Nashville. Let's send Richard to Nashville and Eaton back to his tent.