Leatherwood seeking Blackburn's 7th District
By JAKE LOWARY • The Leaf-Chronicle • July 26, 2008Tom Leatherwood says it's time for a change in Washington.
Leatherwood, 51, an Arlington native, is running against Marsha Blackburn for the Republican nomination for the 7th Congressional District.
Leatherwood on Friday met with veterans and Clarksville residents at the Golden Corral on Wilma Rudolph Boulevard to listen to their concerns and see what issues they face. "Veterans are very well informed," he said, praising the interest each has in what gets accomplished.
The big concerns he's heard on the lengthy campaign trail are no surprise. The economy, gas prices, immigration and the war in Iraq are all major issues Leatherwood has heard during the past several weeks.
But to achieve any goals, Leatherwood said some changes within Congress need to be made.
"I think people are tired of incumbents going (to Washington) and fighting all the time," he said in an interview Friday with The Leaf-Chronicle.
He admits, though, that not all of the country's problems can be fixed overnight. "You can't solve every problem, but you can try," he said.
During his recent campaign, Leatherwood says his opponent has been spreading information that is false. He says Blackburn has claimed he's used tax dollars while serving as the Shelby County register and has gone over his budget.
In truth, Leatherwood said, he has come in under budget in at least two years and has generated a budget surplus. "It's just not true, she's making stuff up," he said.
To address the struggling economy, Leatherwood says he hopes to allow domestic oil drilling and put an end to pork-barrel spending and earmarks, which he says have helped damage the economy.
"That's part of the problem with the deficit," he said, specifically noting a $300,000 trip to the Houston, Texas, zoo that Blackburn allegedly supported.
He also called Blackburn's tactics unethical, referring to the hiring of her children as lobbyists for groups that addressed committees on which she sat. "That creates a real conflict of interest," he said.
Leatherwood also hopes to spark a reform of the Republican party, and says it's possible for the party to pick up seats in November, despite analysts' opposite projections. "With Obama at the head of the ticket, we ought to be talking about picking up seats," he said.
Leatherwood faces off against Blackburn on Aug. 7.