By Stanley DunlapStephen Fincher says he's encouraged with the new members of the U.S. Congress and that he's also willing to vote against Republican leadership if he believes it's not in the best interest of the 8th District.
On Monday, Fincher answered questions about the nation's financial shape and his outlook on the legislature during the first stop of a listening tour as he visited Jackson. Fincher also stopped in Milan and Huntingdon on Monday as part of his six-stop economic expansion listening tour. Today he will be in Dyersburg and Obion County, and on Friday the tour will conclude in Henry County.
Fincher, R-Frog Jump, said he's not going to be leveraged by leadership just to vote along party lines. Fincher said he's been impressed with many of the new congressional members he's met who share his fiscal and Christian ideals.
"This is about doing what the people want ... stopping out of control spending," Fincher said during the stop at the West Tennessee Research and Education Center.
Until policies in the nation's capital are changed, efforts to spur job creation will continue to suffer, Fincher said.
Some measures such as the bill eliminating earmarks are important steps to reining in the spending.
"If you don't start with the small things, how will you move to the big ones?" he asked.
Right now, $202 billion is spent yearly on the interest of the nation's debt, Fincher said.
"We're not so hard nosed that we can't compromise, but again, we weren't sent up there to compromise. We were sent up there to lead," he said.
Fincher said the legislature has to look at the best methods to make cuts after being asked about eliminating agencies such as the Department of Education.
"We've got to be careful in one sense not to be too drastic, not to go overboard, but at the same time, what we're doing is not working," he said.
Madison County Commissioner Mark Johnstone asked what is the reality of getting enough people to vote on measures such as ones that would limit regulations on businesses.
Fincher said some Democrats are fiscally conservative, but the problem may be House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
"You very possibly could see some Democrats switch over," he said.
In the 1990s, there were Republican members that allowed spending to get out of control, Fincher added.
"The challenge is working together for the country, and there is a huge number of members that get it," he said.
Madison County resident Larry Sipes said he'd like to see more support for legislation requiring an audit of the Federal Reserve System.
Fincher said there's a need for more transparency and that the Federal Reserve has too much authority. President Barack Obama is now looking for more stimulus spending.
"I saw something mentioned (that) said more people believe Elvis is still alive than think the stimulus bill worked," Fincher said.