We are a nation of immigrants but, more importantly, a nation of laws. Legal immigration is a necessity due to labor shortages throughout our nation. Those who complete the vetting process and citizenship requirements should have employment opportunities.
Illegal immigration damages our nation in many ways. We must work with our neighbors at the southern and northern borders to ensure only those who are legal and or truly seeking asylum for a religious or political persecution will have legal entry. Building walls, while a temporary solution, is not a long-term answer to prevent our impoverished and persecuted neighbors from embarking on a long and dangerous journey to our country's border, often with an uncertain conclusion.
Our southern neighbors are in a turbulent environment of climate change, government and police corruption, gang violence, and attempting to earn a basic living wage. In the information era immigrants quickly realize there are more stable opportunities to the north. As a religious nation with many who are moved to serve others, we should do better.
We must help create incentives with other countries’ governments to improve living conditions, safety, education, and opportunities for families to thrive; after all, that’s all anybody wants.
Women's Reproductive Health
Roe vs Wade, Casey and other legal precedents set in past years have been observed by our society for most of the past half century. Because of these decisions, freedoms were granted and lives forever changed. Women should always be allowed to control their bodies and their health choices. Women should be empowered with every resource at our disposal to help them have control of their bodies and their futures.
It's the resources that allow a woman to have real choices. With access to health screenings and adequate medical care for young women, many unwanted pregnancies could be avoided. With expanded healthcare for all Tennesseans, even mental health counseling, we can help instill strength and add emotional stability to all members of our families.
Preventative medicine only works when people have access. Many of our rural areas lack a local hospital choice and, if there is one even in a nearby county, it might not be equipped to treat your special needs pregnancy or birth experience. Access to preventative medicine and the ability to have the knowledge to make informed decisions about their life and their body should be a right every person possesses.
There must be action from our country’s representatives. Both houses of Congress should work out a compromise where women will be able to continue to experience the freedom to control their futures, while also enacting policies and programs to reduce unwanted pregnancies by providing the necessary resources for women.
Personally, I would seek to help any woman I know in this situation make the best choice. Women should have the right to consult with a physician and along with their families make this important decision. I love life because I love the One Who gives us life. I will advocate for life and work to support families that choose to continue their pregnancy. And I will equally always fight for freedom. Freedom to make the best life for you; for your family.
Our greatest basic need is to be safe. I want to help our communities become safe places for people to live, work and play. Helping communities thrive and their people overcome hardships and obstacles to hope are essential to creating safe environments.
Working with my counterparts in Middle Tennessee, I plan to create innovative ways to help introduce violence reductions measures by increasing funding for conflict resolution to help ease tensions and build communication skills. I want to increase funding for community policing efforts that improve safety for those who live within these conflict zones. Keeping illegal guns out of the hands of criminals is goal number one. Gun owners should be responsible for their firearm. Practicing proper safety procedures including never leaving an unattended gun where it could be stolen will be one of my top priorities.
These measures, especially creation of violence reduction non-profits, will help build back trust in the community not only between neighbors of different backgrounds but also between police and the citizens they have sworn to protect and serve. Community involvement and buy-in is key to successful outcomes. We must learn to work together for the common good of all.
Our economy has never been stronger and more dynamic than it is now! Unemployment numbers are now at very low (OR manageable) levels. Economic growth in much of the Middle Tennessee region is on an upswing. I want to see our triumvirate of congressional votes work together for the Tennessee region to bring more opportunities for all our communities both rural and urban. In order to advance individuals’ and families’ career goals more job opportunities must be created. Both parties must work to curb issues of inflation, increased cost of living, transportation concerns, childcare costs, and food security. Many states save millions when it is unnecessary to utilize the unemployment benefit system. A bi-partisan fiscally responsible approach to these community issues is the focus of my duty as your representative in Washington.
Education is the key to unlocking potential in each of us where, together, we can problem solve and create opportunities to advance our country, our communities, and ourselves! In a democratic republic, an educated electorate is vital. Not only must our children be taught the basics in reading, writing, and mathematics, they should also be taught critical thinking skills and problem-solving abilities to help advance the freedoms we hold so dear. History repeats itself, and students must learn from the mistakes of our past so we can continue to grow as a nation.
For many years, other countries have surpassed U.S. test scores specifically in science and mathematics; thus, we must address this issue in improving STEM classroom instruction. Not only is funding for public schools crucial to students’ success, but also managing those funds effectively. Increased funding for public schools should be used to create and promote innovative pathways to successful outcomes for both inner city and rural area students.
Every person in our country should have access to wellness medical screenings to prevent life threatening health conditions. Aid to maintain ones physical, mental, and emotional health is important. Healthcare costs have skyrocketed over the past couple of decades. Routine medical screenings will help prevent a patient's health condition from becoming so serious they are forced into bankruptcy. Pharmaceutical costs, along with increased overhead for healthcare providers, has accelerated the burden on families and society in general. In Canada, many drugs cost 50% less when compared to drugs in the U.S.
Many Americans do not have adequate access to healthcare; be it through limited number of physicians or by monetary limitations. Women have especially limited access to care when encountering unwanted pregnancy. Access to birth control measures is common in all leading first world countries. We owe it to our citizens to provide basic birth control to all women of age.
The Federal government has made Medicare/Medicaid available to all states, yet Tennessee has refused to expand coverage. That amounts to over 300,000 of our fellow Tennesseans who are unable to go to a doctor when they are feeling sick. I will work to help expand funding to these states so they cannot refuse to expand based on future cost sharing obligations now required in the current expansion efforts.
Agriculture and Agribusinesss
Agriculture and Agribusiness are vital to our Middle Tennessee region. We are blessed to live in a part of the world many describe as a “sweet spot.” We have over 77,000 farms and over 10 million acres of land dedicated to this industry. With 40% of our state’s land dedicated to this 3 billion dollar industry, we rank as one of the world’s most diverse agricultural zones.
Tennessee is also strong because of the diversity of its agricultural offerings. From cattle lining the landscape to vegetables or goats being raised on our farms... we are a region of farmers. Even those of us who live in the urban areas love to have our own version of our “farms."
We must do more to protect our abilities to provide for ourselves and our neighbors by working with farmers, both big and small, helping meet their needs. This includes providing the small farmer with the ability to keep their farms and to continue to operate at a profit. We must ensure we balance our ability to do this while still making certain that we are first and foremost aware of climate change issues and the impact human activity is having on the land from over or unsafe development.
First and foremost, I pledge to listen to our farmers and to learn from them what policies we need to work toward in Washington. I know there are areas where we can improve and, most of all, I know for certain there are new crops and innovative technologies which will continue to propel our region forward as a leader in this industry. Our success is not just important to us; it’s vital to the world. Tennessee is caring for the world’s people. This is both a blessing and a responsibility all of us should cherish.
Our children should not be ranked 40-something in the USA when it comes to educational achievement and outcomes. Is it acceptable that Metro schools only has 77% of males who will graduate? 12.5% of students drop out. Hispanics are the group with the largest number of dropouts.
Tennessee also makes the Top Ten in states with the highest percentage of children living in poverty. We come in at #9 at just over 20%. Again, I ask you, is this acceptable to us as a society?
Another important group to remember who suffers in poverty and lack of care are our seniors; especially those who are veterans. At this point in their life, they should be celebrated and lauded for their many years of service to others. We need to assure our seniors are cared for properly and have access to resources to assist them. Our veterans are heroes and should be treated as such with the best level of care and resources for their families.
And finally, we need to assure our communities, our families, have what they need to not just survive, but thrive! Let’s give families, our children, a future they can believe in! Let’s establish a living wage and help people gain new workforce skills, certifications, and help achieving educational goals. By increasing wages, housing becomes more affordable and the resiliency of the family increases. Resiliency creates stability. A stable foundation for the next generation.
“To those whom much has been given....”