An economy that works for all Tennesseans
Blount County is suffering because of Tennessee's restrictive state regulations and refusal to invest in small towns/rural communities. The result has been growing poverty and fewer opportunities. Too often, laws passed in Nashville are not designed to work for communities like Friendsville, or Maryville, or Louisville.
When the TN legislature passed a law preventing cities from developing their own housing solutions, they made it extremely difficult for Blount County to tackle our unaffordable housing crisis. By taking away our power to set a local minimum wage, they've prevented us from addressing growing rates of poverty all over the state. By stripping local governments of the right to create environmental protection policies, they're fueling the destruction of what makes Tennessee so beautiful and unique. Our Great Smoky Mountains bring in over 10 million visitors per year. Protecting our ecosystems is a win for our environment and economy!
Sadly, we know the system is broken, and our lawmakers aren't listening. Tennessee is refusing to spend $732 Million federal dollars given to Tennessee specifically to help Tennessee families who are experiencing temporary crises that involve managing child-care costs, transportation issues, and assistance getting a new job. Instead, they put the money in a "rainy day fund." Someone needs to tell the GOP monopoly that its already raining on so many people! Instead of doing something to address poverty, the legislature passed a law that imposed "work requirements" on single mothers struggling to get by.
"I’ll be a leader that puts Blount County first and makes sure that Nashville listens to us."
Healthcare for Tennessee
So many Tennesseans suffer from the rising cost of healthcare and prescription drugs. Working folks sometimes have to choose between medication and rent because they do not have access to affordable healthcare. It’s not right. Especially because there’s a simple solution proven throughout the country: Medicaid expansion.
If Tennessee expanded Medicaid, our federal tax dollars would flow back to us instead of going to other states like New York and California. We need our federal Medicaid dollars back because:
-Tennessee still leads the country in medically related bankruptcies.
-13 rural hospitals have closed due to a lack of Medicaid funds, leaving residents in those areas without lifesaving options.
-In Tennessee, Medicaid is only able to help about 11% of people addicted to opiods. In Michigan 76% of people get treatment help for opioid addiction through Medicaid.
Education for Tennessee
Education is the foundation for success. Public schools are the place where success can begin for all young Tennesseans. For such an essential function, Tennessee’s report card for public education puts us near failing. When it comes to funding public education we rank 45th in the nation in spending for schools. It’s no wonder we are facing a teacher shortage.
Most teachers and most Tennesseans oppose Governor Lee’s voucher bill. That's why I’ll work against the threat of vouchers eating into funds for public education. Now is the crucial time to stop the voucher virus from spreading. We must take action to keep public money directed to public schools.
Furthermore, Tennessee Teachers shouldn’t have to work multiple jobs to make ends meet, nor should they have to pay for classroom supplies with already-thin paychecks. Our teachers are hard-working and dedicated, going the extra mile despite being overworked and underpaid. Along with their expertise, our teachers give their time, energy, love and compassion. They are the reason our students here in Blount County succeed. When elected, I’ll push the legislature to restructure how Tennessee funds our public schools, raise teacher pay, restore collective bargaining rights, and end high-stakes testing.
"When I get to Nashville, I will prioritize public education for our children & educators, because investing in education is an investment in our future."