Pictured at the luncheon, sponsored by Atlantic Capital Bank, are from left, Mike Edwards, Knoxville Chamber; Mike Kramer, Atlantic Capital Bank; Sen. Bob Corker; Robert Baird, Atlantic Capital Bank; Mayor Tim Burchett, Knox County; Terry Turner, All Occasions Party Rentals.


Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, a national leader in foreign policy and an evangelist for fiscal restraint, told the Knoxville business community at an August luncheon that the nation’s debt is one of the biggest threats to the United States.

Listing trouble spots around the world, including Korea, Syria and Afghanistan, Corker said, “The greatest threat to our nation right now is ourselves. It’s the fact that we take in much less money than we spend.”

Sen. Corker chairs the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee and serves on the Budget and Banking Committees.

The fastest-growing item in the federal budget right now, he said, is interest on the debt, and with interest rates rising that will continue to worsen unless action is taken.

“As a nation, we have to resolve to deal with this issue appropriately,” the senator said.

The Knoxville Chamber hosted Sen. Corker and more than 300 business leaders at a luncheon sponsored by Atlantic Capital Bank on Aug. 16 at the Holiday Inn at World’s Fair Park. Occurring days after white supremacists marched in Charlottesville, Va., where one person was killed, Corker called what occurred in the city “repugnant” and condemned racist rhetoric and actions.

Mike Edwards, Chamber president, presented Sen. Corker the U.S. Chamber’s Spirit of Enterprise Award for his 100 percent voting record in support of issues that are most important to the success of free enterprise. Those included votes on legislation that would increase access to capital for small business; protect and defend intellectual property rights; and pave the way for manufacturers to compete in a global economy.

“You have served this state extremely well throughout your tenure,” Edwards said. “We are very lucky as a business community to have you.”

Prior to the luncheon, Sen. Corker visited Lifetime Products, which recently celebrated the opening of the largest manufacturing facility in Knox County where the company is expected to employ 500 people over the next five years.