Recent activity among candidates for the Sixth District U.S. House of Representatives seat being vacated by Rep. Bart Gordon:
State Sen. Jim Tracy of Shelbyville and State Sen. Diane Black of Gallatin, both Republicans, have traded charges over Black's position on illegal immigration. Tracy's campaign has issued a series of daily press releases under the heading "Diane Black Coddling Illegal Aliens Watch." Tracy condemned Black for trying to exempt Sumner and Robertson counties, in her district, from a state bill which would require law enforcement to check the immigration status of every suspect they arrest. Tracy says Black's amendment would provide "safe havens" for illegal aliens in those two counties.
Black claimed that the bill, as written, would subject sheriff's departments to the type of lawsuits seen in other states with similar legislation. She said the sheriff's of those counties asked her to exempt them.
Both Black and Republican candidate Dave Evans of Wartrace claim that at one point, Tracy had tried to introduce a similar exemption for Rutherford County. Tracy's campaign spokesman, Mike McCrady, says that Tracy's amendment was intended to help Rutherford County get into the 287(g) program, which allows local governments to contract with the federal government to enforce immigration laws. When Rutherford County was not able to get into that program, said McCrady, Tracy withdrew his amendment. No such amendment was ever offered for Bedford or Moore counties, both of which are in Tracy's district.
Black's campaign also claims she has a stronger record of writing and introducing legislation to strengthen immigration laws and enforcement.
Both Black and Tracy are sponsors of the basic bill, Senate Bill 1141.
Evans, meanwhile, in a letter to the editor, accused President Obama and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano of "using the debate over what to do with our borders as a tool to try and stir up racial tensions where none need exist."
Democratic candidate Ben Leming of Murfreesboro, in a news release, expressed concern over the potential reopening of Quail Hollow Landfill in southern Bedford County.
"The recent discussion over whether to reopen the landfill in Bedford County illustrates a larger problem," stated Leming. "We must protect the safety and future prosperity of our families. The Quail Hollow Landfill has a history of contamination concerns going back to an incident in 2003 involving leakage of harmful toxins. We have the responsibility to ensure that our landfills are managed with forward-looking laws, and that the lawmakers we elect are strong leaders who are not afraid to do what's right. If we allow cutting corners or allow lax oversight, we endanger our children's future.
"Even when the Quail Hollow Landfill is closed, it can't be forgotten. If we don't keep a watchful eye and maintain the landfill's containment and drainage systems, we'll risk harming our children's future prosperity. Tennessee depends on our uniquely beautiful God-given environment for economic growth. It only makes sense for the hard-working people of Middle Tennessee to know what is being dumped on their land and in their water. With forward-looking waste management processes and incentives, we'll have a clean and secure future for our children," Leming stated.
Republican candidate Lou Ann Zelenik of Murfreesboro was named "Conservative of the Year" by the National Fiscal Conservative Political Action Committee during a fund-raising banquet May 29 in downtown Nashville.
Conservative commentator Ann Coulter was the featured speaker for the event, which the Zelenik campaign reported drew approximately 400 people.
For a complete list of candidates, click here.