While I may have lost faith in Congressman Roe, I believe more than ever in the people of East Tennessee. I know this district—over decades, I’ve lived here, worked here, and delivered two generations of children born here. For the people of East Tennessee, a brighter future for those children and a healthy community are far more important than political party.
We are very much a regional economy; in Congress, I’ll advocate for legislation that creates jobs and grows the economy by supporting local businesses and fostering entrepreneurship. Ecotourism represents a significant portion of our existing business and developmental potential, making nature one of the district’s greatest assets. East Tennessee is home to Smoky Mountain National Park and a leg of the Appalachian Trial, attracting thousands of visitors every year. I believe that an investment in the environment is an investment in our economy.
If that future is going to happen, something has to change. Half of the households in my district earn $8,000/year less than living wage. Almost 1 in 5 people live in poverty. Over a quarter of them are children. The Tennessee First is at the epicenter of the opioid epidemic. East TN was where 1 in 4 drug overdose deaths occurred in our state in 2016, even though we only represent about 10% of the population.
As I travel the district, I’ve talked with just as many disenfranchised Republicans and Independents as energized Democrats. East Tennessee is only painted with a red brush, but like a coat of paint, that partisan status is only surface-deep.
Although TN01 has been held by a Republican since 1881, Democrats have left it uncontested for almost as long. But more and more voters recognize that our region is withering under single party rule, and that at last this year, they have a choice. And a voice.
Public education is a pillar of the American education experience.
*Public schools must be strongly supported.
*Actions which weaken public schools such as voucher programs must be opposed.
*The many excellent teachers who work hard educating our young people must be appreciated.
Although the economy is doing very well in other parts of the US, East Tennessee has not seen the recovery from the 2008 recession that is needed.
*Infrastructure development would promote creation of new jobs.
*We must ensure that our citizens have opportunities for the training they need to do well in the modern economy.
*Tax plans must reward activities that create new jobs, not just give more money to the richest Americans and the corporations they own.
We cannot tolerate a system in which our neighbors are unable to obtain the health coverage they need in order to work and care for their families.
*A goal of universal healthcare access for all Americans will require a responsible search for new methods and processes.
*Fiscal responsibility is a key component in the design for the healthcare system of the future.
*Healthcare quality must be maintained and improved.
The preservation of second amendment rights is very important to significant numbers of East Tennessee citizens, but the tragedies inflicted by gun violence must be acknowledged.
*Existing US laws involving gun access must be enforced.
*Current laws have regulated civilian access to machine-guns (also called automatic weapons) since 1934. Embellishment add-ons such as bump stocks which allow existing guns to function like machine guns should fall under these same restrictions.
*Government officials do not have the right to take guns away from law-abiding citizens.
All men and women are created equal
*Sexual harassment must stop.
*Government officials do not have the right to interfere in private medical decisions between a woman and her doctor.
*People should be paid for the work that they do based on the job contribution. Gender pay gaps must be addressed.
People in the current generation should leave the world better than they found it, not worse than they found it.
*We need to promote renewable energy sources such as solar power.
*Climate change is real. The US must be a global leader in climate control through the Paris accords.
*Environmental preservation starts at home. Appalachian forests, streams, mountains and wildlife are a precious resource.
Love your neighbor as yourself applies to everyone
*Discrimination against anyone based on gender, religion, disability, sexual orientation or race is unacceptable.
*Respect for the dignity of all people is the foundation of peace, prosperity and justice for our country and for the world.