Hagerty vows to stand with Trump

By TIM SINIARD
Posted 1/10/20

Former American ambassador and current U.S. Senate candidate Bill Hagerty stopped in Cleveland on Thursday to rub elbows with local Republican leaders and supporters gathered at Old Fort Restaurant.

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Hagerty vows to stand with Trump

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Former American ambassador and current U.S. Senate candidate Bill Hagerty stopped in Cleveland on Thursday to rub elbows with local Republican leaders and supporters gathered at Old Fort Restaurant.

Hagerty, who served under President Donald Trump as ambassador to Japan, threw his hat into the ring last year when current U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee) announced he would not be seeking a fourth term representing the Volunteer State in Washington.

Prior to making his remarks, the candidate was introduced by Cleveland Mayor Kevin Brooks, who lauded Hagerty’s credentials, stating that he is “shovel-ready.”

Brooks said he worked with Hagerty in Nashville when Brooks was a state representative and Hagerty was commissioner of Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development.

“We fought in the trenches together,” Brooks said of his friend.

In addition to being endorsed by Trump, Hagerty’s political stances check off a list of issues Tennesseans have been valuing in candidates over the past two decades.

Hagerty said he is pro-life, pro-Second Amendment and pro-Israel. He also supports securing the border and low taxes, as well as fiscally-conservative government.

“I’m a Christian conservative,” said the Gallatin native, who is married to Chrissy Hagerty. They have four children: two daughters and two sons, as well as a grandson.

He’s also concerned about the national debt, which is more than $23 trillion.

“Nobody is talking about the debt,” Hagerty said. “The government is doing too much.”

Hagerty vows he will cut down on government waste, fraud and abuse, and stressed that he will work closely with Trump to cut spending, cut the corporate tax rate to encourage job growth and make tax cuts permanent.

Fighting radical Islam is also high on the list of priorities for Hagerty, who said he will stand with Trump to confront terrorism.

The former ambassador told the Cleveland Daily Banner his reason for running for the U.S. Senate is personal.

"The reason I want to do this is because of my children and my grandson,” he said. “And when I hear the calls for socialism and radical extremism coming out of Washington, I think about what the Democratic Party will bring to bear on this nation if they were ever to get control again. I felt called to support the president and stand up against this radical movement for socialism.”

Although the national debt and deficit are immense, Hagerty stressed that it does not necessarily warrant cuts to social programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

He responded to a question from the Banner regarding potential cuts to social initiatives.

“I think 'cut' is not the word I would use,” he said. “What I want to do is look at those programs and see if there is a way to more efficiently and effectively deliver those services with an idea of making them sustainable for our nation, long-term. And that's going to require looking at every aspect of our budget — the discretionary part and the non discretionary part.”

New ideas based on efficiency and effectiveness will be Hagerty’s focus when looking at government spending.

“We’re going to have to see if there is a better way or a different way to do it, and I found out by working in state government, there’s often much more efficient and effective ways to deliver a desired result," he pointed out.

As a result, Hagerty said Washington needs a dose of Tennessee values.

“Tennessee should stand as a role model for Washington because we have the strongest economic balance sheets in the nation,” he said. “We've done a good job balancing our budget, and at the same time, we have strong infrastructure here. We have a strong and very, very solid economy right now."

Standing up to Iran and state-sponsored terrorism are also high on Hagerty’s list of priorities.

“It's absolutely critical that we do this,” he said. “We’ve seen the results of following the process of appeasement, which the previous administration called ‘leading from behind.’”

He said the current president has a different view on foreign policy, particularly when Iran is concerned.

“The president said it very clearly in his press conference that as long as he's the president of the United States, Iran will never have a nuclear weapon, and I can tell you as long as I'm serving in the United States Senate, I'll take the exact same posture: we cannot allow Iran to have nuclear capability," Hagerty stressed.

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