The Issues

Fighting for you in Nashville, I will prioritize economic development and job growth, as well as education and healthcare.

Education.

Access to a high-quality education is critical to every child’s future. It’s also critical for the future of Tennessee. Our state’s students deserve a K-12 education that prepares them for either entering the workforce or for continuing on to college. Families who choose to send their children to our public schools should expect a consistently-great education anywhere in Tennessee. 

Our state’s public institutions of higher learning must be best-in-class at getting students ready for the current and future job market as well as leaders in research efforts that make life better for Tennesseans. As your state representative, I will work to make sure the students and educators of Knox County Schools, The University of Tennessee, and Pellissippi State Community College have the resources and support they need.

I am proudly endorsed by Tennessee Federation for Children.

Economic Development

As we begin the process of recovering from the economic impacts of COVID-19, lawmakers must do all they can to support Tennessee businesses and the workers who have been hurt by virus-related closures as well as the resulting consumer behavioral changes. As a business owner, I’ve seen exactly how this crisis is taking a toll and I’ve been tirelessly fighting to keep my employees on the payroll by finding new products for them to produce. I’ll use my knowledge and experience to draft and support legislation that accelerates the recovery in Tennessee.

State government should do all it can to ease the process of starting a business in Tennessee or relocating a business here. I will be actively selling business leaders on the reasons they should choose Knoxville and Knox County as the home for their organizations. Supporting entrepreneurship is important to me, as is providing the right infrastructure that will encourage economic development. We should use all the tools at our disposal - including incentives, grants, and tax credits - to help great businesses start here, relocate here, and grow here. 

It’s also important that we take care of Tennesseans who are facing difficult job circumstances because of the coronavirus. While we hopefully never again see unemployment numbers spike like we did this spring, we must address the shortcomings exposed when Tennessee’s unemployment system struggled to keep up with the needs of our state’s workers who suddenly faced furloughs or the complete loss of a job. We must also continue to invest in programs that give Tennessee adults the opportunity to train for new careers and partnerships that align public education curricula with the needs of employers. At the same time, we must be responsible and attach accountability to our economic development strategies because we have to be good stewards of your money and we have to keep our tax rates and structure competitive for Tennesseans as well as Tennessee businesses. 

Job Growth

Of course, job growth goes hand-in-hand with both economic development and education. And it’s obviously even more critical in the wake of COVID-19. I can’t say it enough: a top priority must be encouraging more quality, high-paying businesses in the state and specifically in Knoxville and Knox County. In addition to the right economic conditions, infrastructure, and location; businesses want a qualified, educated workforce. That’s why we have to ensure our public high schools, community colleges, and universities are working in step with employers to get today’s Tennesseans ready for the jobs of tomorrow.

Healthcare

The coronavirus pandemic has certainly made healthcare an issue we are all talking about. But it has been top-of-mind for most Tennesseans for a long time. The cost of healthcare coverage and treatment keeps many people in our state up at night. Recognizing the impact health insurance can have on an individual and family’s livelihood, I offered insurance to my employees when almost no other companies in my industry were doing so. We have to be open to all ideas to make sure more Tennesseans can be assured they’re not one unexpected illness away from a family financial disaster. Serving on the board of Covenant Health has also given me considerable insight into the challenges facing hospitals and medical professionals in Tennessee. I’ll be able to use that knowledge as I work for you in the General Assembly. We must do what we can to keep our rural neighbors in East Tennessee from losing their doctors and critical emergency care services in their communities. 

As we focus on COVID-19, we can’t forget other aspects of health that affect many Tennesseans including mental health, substance abuse, poor nutrition, and chronic conditions. And we must make sure that our vulnerable seniors - particularly the veterans in our state veterans’ homes - are taken care of.