Members and interested parties, This is a longer post than usual because of its significance. So, get a cup of coffee and take a few minutes to read it in its entirety. It’s confirmed: The Sevier County Tea Party has made its mark. Three weeks ago, I was contacted by a woman named Jane from Senator Alexander’s Knoxville office requesting a meeting, which of course I agreed to. I met with not only her, but Senator Alexander’s Washington Chief of staff, David Cleary. We talked for a little more than an hour. As a result of that conversation, Senator Alexander requested — and his offer was accepted–that he meet with me, Mel Cantebury, and Howard Kingsbury ( owner of the Diner). We met Monday, Sept. 29th. At the onset of the meeting, Senator Alexander said he was there to listen to us. I appreciated the fact that he did not try to use our time as a private campaign event, per se’. Howard and Mel spoke at length about some of the pressing issues facing our nation. ( i.e. immigration, energy, etc. ) When Howard brought up immigration, the senator stated he voted for the Gang of 8 immigration bill because it (purported) to secure our southern border first. He also said that he knew it was not the best bill possible, but that he was expecting it to go to the house for revision, then to conference. He would then see what the compromise bill would look like. In that segment of conversation, he admitted that comprehensive bills are not the best way to pass legislation. He referred to Senator Douglas from Illinois of 1850 when he introduced individual bills, all of which pertained to the same matter at hand. Each bill was passed separately, but collectively changed the overall issue. Senator Alexander stated if the republicans were to win the senate, he sees the same tactic being used. He also said of immigration that after the border is secure, he wants to see a move that allows immigrants a temporary work permit system so immigrants can work in the agriculture business. Howard then relayed a conversation he had with a friend of his in California who currently owns a vineyard. He said that his friend has a difficult time finding anyone to employ because the federal government has made it too comfortable for people–including illegals–to sit at home and collect government handouts. To the best of my recollection, the senator had no real response. Mel touched on several issues, including energy. He elaborated on the coal industry, and the many plants being shut down due to EPA regulations. The senator agreed that we as a nation need...