Chattanooga attorney John Wolfe and Blue Cross physician Dr. Lee C. Whittaker – both Democratic candidates for the District 10 state senate seat vacated by Sen. Ward Crutchfield – took their respective campaigns to the JFK Club on Tuesday.
Dr. Whittaker, a veteran of the war in Vietnam, said he made a bargain with God while serving in the military.
“I told God that if He brought me back home safely I’d belong to Him from then on,” he told members of the club for Democrats.
He kept his promise, he said. After returning home, he went to college and eventually became a pastor of a church. Later, he went back to school to become a physician.
Growing up as one of 10 children in Texas, he said, he was raised by a mother with an eighth grade education and a father who went only as far as third grade.
But education for all children – the leaders of tomorrow – is one of his priorities, he said.
“Illiteracy squanders health,” he explained. “We have studies that show that the rate of illness and the death rate is lower among people who have high school educations.”
He is also concerned about senior citizens and the numerous issues facing that population, he said.
“I promise you this,” Dr. Whittaker said. “I won’t disappear after I’m elected . . . I will always be approachable.”
Mr. Wolfe told club members that he has been an active supporter of Democratic Party causes for the past decade. For example, he said, he worked hard during the race between former Chattanooga Mayor Bob Corker, a Republican, and Memphis Rep. Harold Ford, a Democrat, for U.S. Senate seat last year.
“I tried to make sure that people knew about Corker’s record,” he said. While Mayor Corker won, Mr. Wolfe said, “in his own city, Corker only got 41 percent of the vote, and he only got 52 percent in Hamilton County.”
The Chattanooga attorney said he actively supports:
* Ending the sales tax on food in Tennessee, “the highest tax on food in the nation.”
* Doing away with electron voting and replacing it with paper ballots, so there would be a paper trail of every person’s vote.
* Changing the date by which candidates must reveal who contributed to their campaign, and how much, so people who vote early will have that information.
* Public financing of political campaigns.
* Recognition of health care as a right, not a privilege, so that 18,000 Americans won’t have to die every year because they do not have health insurance.
The JFK Club meets from noon to 1 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month in the Cellar Restaurant in downtown Chattanooga.