Senator Williams has been blanketing the district with mailers for the last two weeks. Since I had a few questions about those mailers, I set out to find the answers.
Question 1: Are we paying for this? That’s a full color print… and the paper is awfully glossy!
No. According to Williams’, the expense was covered from his campaign account and not the printing and postage account which legislators use for constituent mailings. Therefore, no taxpayer funds were used or animals harmed in the making of the full-color glossy mailers.
Question 2: How did Williams vote on the bailout?
He didn’t. Williams is a member of the Tennessee General Assembly not the US Congress.
Why would people think this? Well, because Williams’ mailer says: “My job’s to protect your wallet not Wall Street’s”…. Mike knows fixing our economy isn’t about helping Wall Street – it’s about helping Tennessee families struggling to pay for gas and groceries.” But, as far as I know, the Tennessee General Assembly has never participated in a bailout… unless you’d count the various Democratic lawmakers, who’ve landed in jail and needed bailing out. But I think most of them were bailed out by lobbyists rather than the state government… and Williams isn’t one of them anyway – so moving on.
No. It’s a 3 for $3 black wristband, which can be purchased at the Dale Earnhardt Foundation store. The wristbands have “Continue the Legend” imprinted on the front and Dale’s signature imprinted on the back. All proceeds benefit the charitable initiatives of the Dale Earnhardt Foundation – which include supporting the needs of Education, Wildlife Preservation and buying poor needy children small-block Chevy’s…. Okay, I’m not really sure what the Foundation does – but you can read about it here if you’re interested. I doubt Williams is mourning the death of his association with Ramsey’s Republicans – and Ramsey probably threw a $500-a-cup fund raising for Faulk keg party to celebrate the swap. There’s no grief on either side here.
Question 4: Does Mike Williams really buck special interests and party bosses like the mailer says?
Williams has accepted contributions from political action committees and special interest groups. Those contributions were usually in line or slightly below whatever monies were given to other lawmakers during the same reporting period. I don’t see anything suspicious in his voting record – but I don’t know that he “bucked” special interests either. He did buck Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey, who is like the Leona Helmsley of the Senate Republican Caucus – but without the lipstick. So, the party boss line is true.
Question 5: Can Mike Williams eliminate tax breaks for companies, who hire illegal immigrants or ship jobs overseas? Can he make (insert name of factory here) give me my job back?
Williams voted in favor of fining companies which knowingly hire illegal immigrants. Otherwise, I’m not sure what legislation he’s using to support this claim – unless it’s this.
Williams, however, cannot close loopholes in the federal tax law, authorize tax abatements for industries locating to Tennessee or reverse the economic trends that has many local industries scaling back. He also cannot get your job back if you were fired for coming to work drunk or over that 4th of July Company Picnic scandal which involved the moonshine and hookers.
Question 6: Can Mike Williams really “crack down” on big oil and lower gas prices?
Uh… well, he did sponsor this Senate Joint Resolution urging the United States Congress to investigate the possible artificial inflation and manipulation of gasoline prices by American oil companies. I don’t think the Resolution ever passed the House, and even if it did, these resolutions are about as effective as me attempting to lower gas prices by sending Mr. Haslam a strongly-worded letter or routinely punching the local Pilot convenience store manager in the mouth.
So, I’m going to say no, not really.
There are no bold-faced lies in the mailer but there are some big embellishments.
Overall, he’s been a fair to middlin’ senator. Most of the legislation he’s sponsored is related to local issues. Of course, the company creating the mailer has been paid to turn “fair” into “fabulous.” This is how campaign season works – but no, you should not expect to see Williams wandering around in a cape, tights and a double S for Super Senator on his shirt any time soon.
Virgil and Bill point out the photos for the mailer are clearly staged because (Virgil says) “Can’t nobody stand around like that and not get a crick in their neck” but the two give Williams and Governor Bredesen high marks for using a pick-up truck with a rusty tailgate. Bill also reckons, following Williams and Bredesen’s visit to the Co-Op yesterday, approval ratings amongst the locals are going to climb even higher “unless they arrived in a Cadillac or some wimpy foreign car like one of them damn hybrid Toyoters“