Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Flip Flops and ...... Beavers ??

Gordonsville, TN held it's 100th Birthday Celebration this past Saturday, the 26th. It was a wonderful event with good food, good music, and classic cars and tractors on display. My favorite was the '69 Camaro. I always wanted one of those.

A "stumping" was held that afternoon in which local, state, and federal candidates for the 2010 elections were given two minutes each to tell about themselves. I was particularly interested in what the incumbent State Senator for the 17th District, Mae Beavers, had to say. She spent most of her allotted time playing defense, though. It got me to thinking about previous conversations I've had with her in which she's told me she's against bonds and public debt - period.

On June 17, 2009, Beavers voted against a bond issue (SB 2358 / HB 2390) by the State of Tennessee that would have provided funding to repair approximately 200 bridges within the state, of which several were in her district. On Saturday Beavers said :
We've got two bridges under construction at the present time, and I just wanna say something folks. You're gonna hear something in this race about those bridges. People are gonna tell you Mae Beavers voted against the bonds so you didn't get the bridges last year. Let me tell ya something folks, those bonds have never been issued. The state has not had to issue those bonds and do the bridge construction. The bottom line ... if you'll go to the Transportation Committee in the Senate, there's testimony that those bridges were not ready for construction money last year. So, I just wanna put that to rest right off the bat.
Notice that she didn't say anything about her actual vote. Interesting, isn't it ?? If those bridges "were not ready" as she claims, then why did TDOT Commissioner Gerald Nicely refer to them as "structurally deficient" in an April 13, 2009 memo to the 106th General Assembly (see memo below) ??
According to this memo and accompanying documents, it does appear that TDOT felt these bridges were ready to be fixed. Beavers then went on to say, on Saturday, that, "We have it (the bridge bonds) in the budget for next year, and ... they will be done." Interestingly, in an election year, Beavers voted in favor of this year's bond bill (SB 3916 / HB 3925) that re-authorized the bridge bonds she voted against last year. Why ?? Well, she's taken quite a bit of heat from her constituents in the counties where the bridges and infrastructure are crumbling. So, in an effort to win their votes, she voted for the bridge repair bonds this year.
You can look at this one of two ways. She's either :
  1. a typical election year politician whose mind is on one thing - getting re-elected, or
  2. a flip-flopper.
Since she previously flip-flopped on running for Wilson Co. Mayor to run for re-election to the State Senate, I believe you could make a good case that the answer is actually all of the above - a flip-flopping, typical election year politician. If the flip flop fits .....

Oh yeah, one other thing - in 2009 when she voted against the bridge bonds that would have funded the improvements on the deteriorating local infrastructure, she voted in favor of   a corporate welfare project where state bonds (SB 315 / HB 421) were issued to build new plants for Volkswagon and Hemlock Semiconductor LLC. She cast that vote on February 26, 2009. Basically, in 2009, she voted against issuing bonds to improve deteriorating infrastructure and the daily activities of her constituents. However, she voted in favor of giving over $400 Million (including interest) to large corporations to build them new plants on the backs of Tennessee's working families.

So, let me break it down and summarize :
  1. First, Beavers claims to oppose bond issues and public debt.
  2. Then, on February 26, 2009, she flip flops and votes in favor of a bond issue for a corporate welfare project.
  3. Next, on June 17, 2009, she flip flops again and opposes a bond issue to fund the replacement and repair of dangerous bridges in Tennessee.
  4. Lastly, on June 3, 2010, she flip flops another time and votes in favor of re-authorizing the same bridge bonds she opposed in 2009.
Dang. That's a lot of flip flopping. Even a Largemouth Bass can't do that much. So, the question remains - when it comes to bonds and public debt, is Beavers "fer it or agin it ??" The really puzzling thing about all this "flip floppin' " is that Beavers is a Conservative Republican. Usually, it's the Liberal Progressive Democrats doing the "flip floppin'." I mean, Bill "Slick Willie" Clinton wrote the book on it. Did I miss a memo somewhere ?? Plus, it kinda makes you wonder what she'll flip-flop on next. Will in be her pro-life views ?? Her opposition to a state income tax ?? Or, maybe even her support for the right to keep and bear arms ?? Who knows ?? One thing seems apparent, though. With Mae, there's plenty of flip flops to go around.
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia and Flickr - FlipFlops : Just Pick One Up
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