VONORE-U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander made his second visit to Monroe County in the past two months when he spoke to the Tellico Lake American Legion Post 256 at Rarity Bay Country Club in Vonore on Thursday.

The Republican incumbent Alexander is on the campaign trail for the Nov. 4 election where he faces Democrat Gordon Ball. Early voting for the election begins Oct. 15.

Alexander was joined by State Rep. Jimmy Matlock, R-Lenoir City, State Sen. Randy McNally, Loudon County Mayor Buddy Bradshaw, Monroe County Mayor Tim Yates, Monroe County Economic Development Director Bryan Hall, Monroe County Sheriff Randy White and Chief Deputy Tommy Jones Jr. among several other dignitaries.

Alexander first praised the hosts, the American Legion, and their members’ service and sacrifice.

He told several funny stories, including one about the time he stopped in for groceries at a store on the Lamar Alexander Parkway in Blount County and the young lady behind the counter saw his credit card and asked him if the was named after the highway. The story drew big laughter as of course, the highway is named after the famous senator and former governor of Tennessee.

But Alexander does have a serious agenda as he seeks to hold onto his seat and hopes Republicans win enough races nationwide to take over the majority of the U.S. Senate. Republicans must win at least six seats Nov. 4 to take a majority in the Senate.

Alexander said his opponent would be pushing for President Barack Obama’s agenda should the Democrat win, while he plans to be on the opposite side of the Obama agenda if he continues so serve.

Alexander took questions from the audience, including one question about gridlock in Washington.

Alexander blames Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, for much of the gridlock, however he pointed to instances were Republicans and Democrats are working together.

Alexander held up the huge financial aid form (FAFSA) students and parents fill out to apply for financial aid to attend college. The form has more than 100 questions and would likely have stretched more than halfway across the room had the veteran senator let it.

“It discourages people from going to college,” he said.

Alexander, former U.S. Department of Education secretary and former president of the University of Tennessee, said he is working with Democrats to make a much shorter form with only a handful of questions. He said in fact two or three questions are all that is needed.