Violent crime is a daily threat to those of us who live in Memphis and Shelby County. Crime not only threatens our personal safety, but it’s also a serious threat to our community’s economic growth. I’m working with other conservative leaders in the Tennessee General Assembly to reduce the threat of violent crime.
I voted for Tennessee’s Truth in Sentencing law. This law requires violent criminals to serve their entire sentence. Most of us believe in second chances for those who make mistakes; however, those who commit violence against innocent citizens must expect severe punishment. Victims and families deserve justice.
Violent juvenile criminals are a serious problem in Memphis and Shelby County. Many of these young people know they will be released from jail when they turn 19 years old. Gang leaders often direct juveniles to commit crimes knowing they will be free on their nineteenth birthday. I’m sponsoring a blended sentencing bill that will allow judges to sentence violent juveniles to serve two sentences: one in a juvenile facility and another in an adult facility when they turn 19. Blended sentencing is a tool we need to crackdown on violent juvenile crime in our community.
I supported funding for 142 additional State Troopers. The Tennessee Highway Patrol is committed to assisting an under-staffed Memphis Police Department. Additional Troopers have arrived in Memphis to focus on urban interstate speeding so Memphis Police officers can focus patrols on neighborhoods and business districts. State Troopers are also assisting Memphis Police in high crime areas.
Inflation is inflicting pain on every Tennessee family. Decisions made in Washington to curtail American energy production and over-spend has driven up costs for everything from gasoline to groceries to clothing. Tennessee is doing things the right way, however. The results are clear.
✔️ 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. Tennessee is much well positioned for sustained economic prosperity.
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 and reducing taxes on small businesses so they can grow and hire more workers.
The fundamentals of Tennessee’s economy are strong!
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 nearest the source. The same is true in health care.
Patients and doctors are in the best position to make most health care decisions. I respect the doctor-patient relationship and will work to keep the government from interfering in decisions between provider and patient.
The federal government has set aside limited funds to provide private health insurance for the working poor. Those eligible would be required to provide proof of employment. Over a quarter-million Tennesseans may qualify for this type of health coverage. I support this plan permitting Tennessee to leverage federal dollars and cover the cost of private health coverage for the working poor.
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 Administration 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.