As U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., came by The Daily Times office on Tuesday to wish editor Dean Stone a happy 90th birthday, he took a few minutes to talk about what he sees as the most important issues facing the country.

“It’s too hard to find a job,” Alexander said. “That’s the basic problem at home. The recovery for many people has been worse than the recession because it has been so long. That’s the biggest problem. The other biggest problem is the dangers of the world, ISIS and the Ebola epidemics at the same time are a pretty good example of that. It’s a dangerous world.

“They are hard to solve,” Alexander said. “It makes Blount County look pretty good.”

Later in the day, Alexander released a statement on air strikes launched Monday by the U.S. military and its allies against the brutal militant group known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS).

“The United States is right to begin steps to destroy this brutal group of killers and put a stop to its 4th-century acts of barbarism,” he said. “The president needs to propose a clear military plan and ask Congress for its approval if we want to unite our country and civilized nations against this threat.”

According to the Associated Press, the U.S. and five Arab nations attacked the Islamic State group’s headquarters in eastern Syria in nighttime raids Monday using land- and sea-based U.S. aircraft as well as Tomahawk cruise missiles launched from two Navy ships in the Red Sea and the northern Persian Gulf.

Alexander, who is seeking a third term, will face Knoxville lawyer Gordon Ball, a Democrat, in the Nov. 4 state general election. He said world events are being felt in the tone of the election.

“It makes a more serious campaign, maybe more voters, because suddenly Americans are really worried about what is going on in the world,” he said. “I’ve had people tell me they are frightened by what they see. I believe that means that they’ll be looking for leadership that is steady and strong, and they’ll be looking for candidates that reflect that.”

President Obama’s plans to deal with the ISIS situation need a close look by Congress, Alexander said.

“The problem with his plan for dealing with ISIS is it more a political plan than a military plan. I understand he doesn’t want to go back into Iraq and doesn’t want to go into Syria, I don’t think any of us do, but you can’t have a halfway military effort. My own view is we should be in Washington, D.C., this week and the next week and the next week and we should be debating the president’s plan for dealing with ISIS and his plan for dealing with Ebola.”