A shift in his stance on Iraq, prevailing attitudes in Washington, D.C. and the upcoming presidential election were among topics visited by U.S. Fourth Congressional District Rep. Lincoln Davis (D-Pall Mall) during a Chamber-sponsored visit with Crossville area business leaders Wednesday morning.

Davis annually takes opportunity of the August break to hold town meetings and to meet with interest groups throughout the 24-county Fourth District that spans from the Mississippi state line into East Tennessee. The congressman serves on the Agriculture and the Financial Services committees of the House.

The Fentress County native lawmaker began his remarks by lamenting the lack of respect within the institution the nation's Capitol represents and that more time seems to be spent blocking debate and discussion on issues than is spent by opposite sides to find common ground on issues.

In addressing the U.S. presence in Iraq, Davis told local business leaders that there seems to be only two lines of thinking on the issue cut and run, or, stay the course. The solon said he favors removing U.S. troops from what he calls "the kill zone" and placing them strategically around the Middle East to give the U.S. a formidable presence in the Mediteranean area.

"I think we should no longer require our troops to be police on the beat," Davis said. He said it was time to turn over policing of the country to the Iraqis and to redeploy U.S. troops in the area to provide "an intimidating presence."

On the issue of health care, Davis told business leaders that the U.S. spends more annually on health care than the amount representing the gross domestic product for all but six countries in the world. While giving no definitive answer for addressing the soaring costs of health care in the U.S., Davis said the issue remains a key one before Congress and among presidential candidates.

"We have to get a handle on the cost of health care. Solutions must be found, because our working families, businesses and seniors can't keep up with the growing costs."

Davis was asked by attendees his feelings on the inheritance tax and the effect of an election year (presidential) on key issues facing the country. He noted that the presidential campaign does tend to polarize the country and then added that of more damage are blogs that attack lawmakers and issues with incorrect information.

"Blogs there is no responsibility for the content like there is for the media they can say whatever they want and people tend to believe it," Davis said as an aside.

David was asked about funding for existing industries to allow them to compete in the world market and noted that the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) was funding development of new and existing industry. He noted that it was a great concern that the U.S. has lost about two million industrial jobs over the past five to six years.

On a related issue, Davis said serious consideration should be given by Congress to look at requiring foreign trade suppliers to put a label identifying the country of origin on all products not made in the U.S. His comments were in relation to the news this week of massive recalls of toys and other goods made in China, because of excessive levels of lead.

Prior to the Crossville visit, Davis attended his fourth Chamber-sponsored conference aiding small business and local governments in Manchester. During the forum, Davis noted that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce had presented him with the Spirit of Enterprise award given to members of Congress who support measures that stimulate job creation and spur economic growth.

In a press release issued after the Crossville meeting, Davis noted that the House passed a five-year reauthorization of agricultural policy, called the Farm Bill. Davis said, "The Farm Bill encompasses much more than the name suggests. It's a safety net for our farmers and redefines our energy policy, which is a national security, environmental and economic issue."

The congressman also noted that 9-11 Commission bill, just signed into law, includes provisions to increase port, aviation, rail and mass transit security. It also strengthens intelligence and information sharing with law enforcement and first responders, making the country better equipped to prevent a future attack.

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