Vice Chairman of the Bradley County Commission Adam Lowe said at a debate hosted by the Cleveland Kiwanis Club, "I've worked for the free market, not just believed...We've seen first hand what happens when the government gets in."
Mr. Lowe is running against Dan Howell in the Republican Primary for the District 22 seat in the Tennessee House of Representatives. Mr. Howell is the longtime executive assistant to Bradley County Mayor Gary Davis.
Howell said, "I've owned two businesses in my life. I've been a business manager, I understand what it means to make a payroll...I understand what it means to be downsized. I know what it feels like for a manager to come in and say 'all of you are gone.'"
Both candidates said their Christian faith was important to them. Mr. Lowe said, "I work for my faith, I express it openly. I work for my church."
Mr. Howell said, "I believe that there is a war on Christianity today. I believe that faith in God...is essential to the moral fiber of our nation."
The first question the two men were asked was on the subject of whether school superintendents should be elected or appointed.
Mr. Lowe said, "I think as a community we have to decide what type of governments we want," stating, "Localized control of that issue is what I advocate for."
Mr. Howell said, "I think in most cases when people have the information they need, they are usually able to make the right decision." He pointed out that the parents should be the most important influence in their child's education.
On the subject of Common Core, Mr. Howell said, "Education is so important to the quality of life and we have to make sure we get it right. We must make sure that the new programs that are being promoted...are good programs for the education of our children."
He said when programs have the kind of opposition that Common Core does, it is time to "take a step back and take a look."
Mr. Lowe, who recently completed a Ph.D. in Education, said, "After 30 years in public education, we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that tinkering with standards does not improve education."
He said, "We should be empowering the teacher. Not one student learns the same, not one student can be assessed the same."
Mr. Lowe called Common Core an "empty" and "expensive reform" that has been discouraging to both students and teachers. He said many teachers had come to him saying the new standards made them feel "like robots."
The final debate topic was about whether or not states should use pseudo-ephedrine restrictions to curb methamphetamine production and use.
Mr. Lowe said that making medications containing pseudo-ephedrine prescription-only would only hurt law-abiding citizens. He pointed out that while many criminals use guns, most people in the district do not support restricting gun ownership to try to curb gun crime.
He said the logic of "passing laws on law-abiding people to stop criminals" does not make sense.
Mr. Howell said he did not think making people get a prescription to get cold medicine was a good idea because it placed on them "an additional layer of payment."
Early voting begins on July 18.