In 2014, Republican governor Bill Haslam introduced a healthcare initiative called “Insure Tennessee”. This initiative would have expanded Medicaid and covered up 300,000 Tennesseans who are either uninsured or underinsured without costing the taxpayer any more than what we already pay. Unfortunately, the GOP supermajority in the legislature has refused to move on this proposal and those 300,000 Tennesseans remain one healthcare emergency away from financial ruin and 13 hospitals in rural communities like ours have closed, leaving 25% of Tennesseans without access to emergency care. When elected, I’ll fight to expand Medicaid and make the health of my neighbors a priority, not an afterthought.
It’s hard to find someone in our community who hasn’t been affected by the opioid epidemic. Whether it’s a lost family member or a friend to death or the criminal justice system, the disease of addiction has left its mark on our community. We have to fight back. When elected, I’ll fight to increase access to rehabilitation by expanding Medicaid, explore alternative medicine, and work towards criminal justice reform to shift the focus towards rehabilitation and away from incarceration.
Tennessee consistently ranks towards the bottom when it comes to funding education as well as educational outcomes. Our legislation’s solution is to further divide education funds to distribute them to private schools that don’t have to meet the same standards as public schools. While this might make sense in some places, it doesn’t work for rural communities.
If we want to create a better future for the next generation, we have to invest now. When elected, I’ll fight to increase per-pupil funding, pay our teachers what they’re worth, and join the fight to expand rural broadband.
Jobs, Wages, and Opportunity
Too often, we hear our leaders talking about providing hand ups instead of handouts. I agree with that sentiment, but their words are hollow. The GOP supermajority has lost touch with the working family. The cost of living continues to outpace wages and Tennessee families continue to fall further and further into financial turmoil. When the poverty rate is 3 to 4 times that of the unemployment rate, something’s not right.
If we want to build a better community by building stronger families, this is where we have to start. Parents who have to work multiple jobs to make ends meet sacrifice time with their families. This leads to poor educational outcomes and can result in higher crime rates among juveniles. We have to fight for better opportunities for our community and jobs that pay better. When elected, I’ll lead the charge for the 69th district.
The world is changing and Tennessee’s rural communities aren’t keeping up. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us all to change the way we work, shop, and learn. Many jobs are able to be done from home and distance learning for students has become a necessity. While these changes have brought on some growing pains, they are also a great opportunity for us to decrease stress on our environment as well as our infrastructure. The future is here, but you can’t keep up if you don’t have access to the internet. Internet access isn’t a luxury anymore; it’s become a utility. When elected, I’ll fight for broadband expansion to make sure that the 69th district and its residents have the same opportunities as the urban and suburban parts of Tennessee.