Richard Roberts graduated from Greeneville High School and earned a law degree from the University of Tennessee. Shortly afterward, Richard went to work with Senator Howard Baker in Washington.

In 1994, Richard went to work as a senior vice-president for Landair, a trucking and freight company. Richard then teamed up with Scott Niswonger to create the Niswonger Foundation. This foundation has exceeded $50 million in scholarships and direct aid to kids and communities in the First District. Richard and his wife Imogene reside in Greeneville.

The first words out of Roberts’ mouth were about his unwavering support of the President and the War in Iraq. He says he is “steadfast” in his support of President Bush. Wow. In some ways I admire his gusto, his “this stance is going to make me lose the election, but I’m going to take it anyway” attitude, but…wow. Even the majority of Republicans are critical of the President right now, not to mention the non-republican conservatives and liberals…how many people are really going to support an “I love the President” platform?

Question 1: With a great deal of publicity lately, do you believe the Fair Tax is superior to the present tax code?

Roberts admitted that he has not read the book, but believes the Fair Tax is a good plan. He is a business owner and understands the cost of compliance with the current code. Roberts does understand that it is a consumption tax, which shows that, despite not having read the book, he at least has a decent understanding of the plan. He was non-committal on actually voting for the plan if elected.

Question 2: Should abortion be a Federal or States Rights issue?

Roberts believes that we need uniformity in the law in order to avoid abortion “trafficking.” It certainly must be a Federal issue in order to ensure that women aren’t going across state lines to obtain abortions (which, by the way – and this is Jama speaking, not Roberts – was the cause of the argument brought before the court by Roe’s attorneys. Roe said that she was denied equal protection because only wealthy women could afford to cross state lines to get an abortion, while poor women, like herself, did not have the means to do so. Returning to allowing states to decide for themselves whether or not to allow abortion would result in the same problem that Roe brought before the Court). Roberts again stressed that uniformity is needed in the law when dealing with abortion.

Question 3: Do you believe it is the Federal Government’s responsibility to bail out individual states after every natural disaster?

Roberts believes that because we pay into a common system, we should all reap the benefits (my answer to that would be, stop paying so much into that common system so that we can rely on ourselves and our own communities rather than the bureaucracy in Washington. But, hey, I’m not the one running for office). Yes, Roberts says that the Feds should bail out the states. He also mentioned that we should be helping those “across the world.”

Here we go again…requiring of the Federal Government what should only be required of individuals. I thought that someone who is so instrumental in a huge local charity organization would have a better understanding and appreciation for personal giving, as opposed to government forced giving. But clearly I was wrong.

Question 4: Do you believe the Federal Government should play a role and mandate the oil companies on a universal scale, to use the EA85 version of ethanol?

Roberts says that, no, it should not be mandated. Again, we need a comprehensive energy policy and to reduce dependence on foreign oil.

Question 5: Why is the health care insurance industry guaranteed a profit by the Federal Government in a free market system?

Roberts actually presented an answer here that made me want to cheer: he says “Government is the problem with the health care industry!” Roberts believes that the government needs to stop interfering in health care, which would result in lower costs and greater access. The government, Roberts asserts, should not pay for healthcare.

I couldn’t find a thing in this two-minute answer and 30-second rebuttal with which I could disagree!!

Question 6: Title 6 states that “No Person shall be discriminated against on the basis of race, color, or national origin.” The Supreme Court has held that undocumented aliens are considered “Persons” under the equal protection and due process clauses of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. Therefore the assumption has been applied by the Courts, Congress, and State Governments that undocumented aliens have the same rights to all Federal assistance programs as citizens do. What would you do about amending Title 6 to restrict services to citizens only?

Roberts believes that Title 6 is good law, but needs to be amended to read “no citizen” rather than “no person.” He also believes that we need an effective way to determine whether a person is here legally or illegally, and we must address the “anchor baby” problem (just in case you have not heard the term “anchor baby,” this refers to the policy that someone born in this country is automatically a citizen. This results in women hanging out in the parking lots of American hospitals until time to deliver, so that they can have “American” babies. The Feds, of course, are not going to deport the mother of an “American” infant, thus giving the mother a free pass to the US.)

In his final statements, Roberts again reiterated his unwavering support of the President and the war in Iraq. I must admit, Roberts gave a passionate and persuasive argument for the war, pointing out that it is better to fight radical Islam “over there” so that we don’t have to fight it “over here.” He spoke of his “Christian values,” despite the fact that I found nothing in his answers that pointed to any real faith. It seemed as though Roberts tossed Christianity in as an afterthought, rather than it being an actual, integral part of his political philosophy. All-in-all, Roberts seemed to me like George W. Bush Jr. Ok for some, I suppose, but he is certainly not my cup of tea.

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