ISSUES

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused economic damage to most sectors of the economy.  As Tennesseans continue facing the health challenges of the virus, we have work to do to rebuild our economy and create jobs.  Thankfully, the fundamentals of Tennessee’s economy are strong:

 

  • Top ranked state for fiscal stability
  • Low taxes and lowest debt per person of any state
  • AAA bond rating from all major ratings agencies
  • Best public pension system in the country

 

Our state’s economic stability didn’t come about by accident.  It’s the result of prudent fiscal leadership at the gubernatorial and legislative levels.  Tennessee is much better positioned than our neighbors for a robust economic recovery.  

 

Tennessee’s Constitution requires a balanced budget.  We set spending priorities so limited resources are spent where they are needed most such as public schools.  Our state has zero road debt because our highways and bridges are maintained on a pay-as-you-go basis.  

 

Fiscal restraint has allowed the legislature to reduce the sales tax on groceries and abolish the death tax.  We improved our business climate by cutting red tape on small businesses so they can grow and hire more workers.  

 

Times are challenging today, but the fundamentals of are economy are strong.  Tennesseans will recover.  Better days are ahead!  

Before my election to the state legislature, I was a teacher, principal, and small business owner.  I usually found that the best answers to challenges came from near the source—locally.  The same is true in health care.

 

Patients and doctors are in the best position to make most health care decisions.  The government in Washington should have a limited role at most in our health care.  This is why I support Governor Lee’s efforts to obtain a block grant for Tennessee’s Medicaid dollars.

 

A block grant will permit Tennesseans to design programs that best work for our citizens.  Rather than a one-size-fits-all approach from Washington, we should bring power back to the state level.  A policy that works best in New York or Oregon may not be what is best suited for our state.   I support the Governor’s block grant proposal so we can make health care policy that is efficient and effective right here in Tennessee.   

I have been passionate about education my entire life.  I started my career as an elementary school teacher and later served as the principal of a local elementary school.  Kathy and I have spent considerable time over the past two decades building and supporting a foundation that provides an education to children living in poverty in Panama.  

 

As Chairman of the House Education Committee, I fought to increase funding for K-12 schools, raise teacher pay, and provide a better education to all Tennessee children.  I am proud that Tennessee’s schools are rated the fastest improving in the United States.  

 

Accomplishments over the past few years:

 

  • Voted to increase K-12 school funding by over $1.5 billion in eight years
  • Supported multiple teacher pay raises
  • Backed more vocational and technical training opportunities for high school students so they learn job-ready skills
  • Supported $40 million to improve school security
  • Addressed early childhood literacy issues in grades K-3  
  • Ensured students and teachers would be held harmless for the abrupt end of the school year due to the coronavirus

 

I care deeply about public schools because a great education shapes great futures for our young people.  I will continue fighting so every child receives a world-class education.