I have practiced law in the Tennessee Valley for the past 23 years. During the course of my practice, I have worked with many small and diverse businesses. Small businesses have created about 80% of all the new jobs in our country during the last 20 years. The creation of new jobs and technology is fueled by the innovative entrepreneur and the small business owner. I am also one of those small business owners.
In order for our economy to rebound during this current economic crisis, we need strong job growth. We do not need more government intervention. Many have turned to Washington to fix the economy. We can only hope that our politicians don’t make things worse by increasing taxes and regulations on small businesses.
The government’s massive spending to stem the tide of rising unemployment is counterproductive. The adoption of policies that promote business investment, lower taxes and reduce the regulatory burdens on business will create the strong economic force needed to turn our economy around.
“Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”
I believe that the federal government should be prohibited from spending more money than it collects each year. I believe that a constitutional amendment is needed in order to force Congress to live within its means. Our country is drowning in a sea of debt with uncontrolled government spending and a tax system that fails to support the continued growth that our nation’s economy needs. Clear and concise legislation is needed in order to hold the federal government accountable for the abuse, fraud and waste that they expect the American tax payer to subsidize.
The tax relief legislation that was passed in 2001 and 2003 had several positive effects. This legislation reduced the marginal tax rates for families and small businesses. It increased the child tax credit and repealed the unfair death tax. This tax relief legislation is set to expire in 2010.
Our current tax code is simply too invasive. It should be completely overhauled so that American taxpayers can spend more of their own money instead of having the federal government spend it for them. Changing the tax code would also have the added benefit of making America more competitive in the global economy.
One of my quotes for the campaign is “taxation – the ultimate form of invasion of privacy.” We must combat unfair taxes at all levels.
When the founding fathers wrote the Declaration of Independence and our Constitution, there were certain guiding principles that influenced their actions and writings. These core principles became the foundation upon which America was built. The values they passed along over 200 years ago are what make our nation unique and, as Ronald Reagan said, "A shining city on a hill."
The Value of Human Life:
I believe strongly that all human life has value and is sacred. I also believe that life begins at conception. I believe that every human life, beginning at conception, until its natural death, has a fundamental right to exist.
I do not believe in abortion and I am opposed to the use of taxpayers' money to fund abortion. I voted in favor of House Amendment 95, which prohibits the use of federal funds for Planned Parenthood.
I believe that marriage is between one man and one woman. It is important to our culture that it be defined as such.
I believe in a constitutional amendment that would protect traditional marriage. Why is a constitutional amendment necessary? It is necessary because of the increasing number of liberal state legislatures pushing for state laws that permit unconventional marriage to occur, and activist judges are sanctioning those laws with increasing regularity. The attack on traditional marriage is an attack on the fundamental core of our society.
Defense of Marriage Act:
I believe that we must support the Defense of Marriage Act and do everything possible to ensure that it remains the law of the land. DOMA became law on September 21, 1996. It provides that no state or other political subdivision within the United States need treat a relationship between persons of the same sex as marriage, even if the relationship is considered a marriage in another state. It also provides that the federal government may not treat same sex relationships as marriages for any purpose, even if recognized by one of the states.
Currently, the United States imports the bulk of its oil from the Middle East and other politically unstable nations. It is imperative to our national security that the United States becomes energy independent. In order to do so, comprehensive energy legislation is needed.
I believe that environmentally safe energy exploration in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Reserve (ANWR) and the Outer Continental Shelf is an important component of this comprehensive energy legislation.
Furthermore, I believe that nuclear power constitutes a safe, effective, and environmentally friendly way to produce energy for our country. Greater reliance on nuclear power will result in a reduction of importing oil from nations friendly to terrorists. Nuclear power creates jobs, provides large amounts of energy at a time when energy costs are so high, and strengthens our national security and economic stability. A critical part of this is our own Anderson County, specifically Oak Ridge.
Other important components include environmental improvements for oil and gas production, the development of clean coal power and the expansion of renewable energy technologies such as wind and solar power. Together, these alternative energy sources have the potential to reduce our nation’s dependence on other countries for energy.
We must find common sense solutions to our current and future energy needs. Americans want reliable and affordable energy sources that allow our economy to grow.
Many Americans are currently living without health insurance. Health insurance has become too expensive because health care has become too expensive. It has become a terrible cycle. When people do not have health insurance, they do not make use of preventative health services. They delay acquiring health care and become more likely to visit the emergency room for non-urgent needs. This drives the cost of health care up which in turn drives the cost of health insurance up.
Yet, despite the increasing cost, our current health care system has many positive attributes. We need to build upon these. But, there are also changes that can be made to our current health care system that would not only lower costs but also provide patients with the care that they need, want and deserve. A government run health insurance program is not the answer. It would take control away from the doctors. It would threaten employer sponsored health insurance. But, most importantly, it would limit individual choices. Government run health insurance does not work. It doesn’t work in the countries that have it. It won’t work in America.
I believe that America’s health care system is worth saving. I believe that its problems can be resolved in such a way that no one loses their current health insurance or their right to choose their own doctor. But, our solutions must be fiscally responsible so that affordable health care can be expanded to include both early detection and prevention yet not limit patient choice and patient-doctor control.
We must reform malpractice law to eliminate both excessive medical liability costs and frivolous lawsuits. We must also insure that reimbursement to providers is at levels that will allow them to provide continued care to their patients.
Education is the key to Tennessee's future. We need an education system that provides our students with the skills they need to compete and succeed in life. Every child is entitled to the opportunity for a quality education that teaches the fundamental skills needed to compete in a global economy.
The dropout rate of Tennessee's high school students is a crisis that we must solve. Without an educated workforce, we cannot compete nationally and America can't compete in a global economy. Research confirms that those who lack a high school education will have significantly diminished lifetime earnings, creating increased social costs as well.
Policy makers in Washington have tried to improve our schools by increasing their control over federal funding. Parents, teachers and local school board officials must have greater flexibility and reduced regulation with the use of these federal funds. The emphasis of our education system must be placed on the child, not on federal educational mandates from Washington. I support reforms in our education system that will shift decision making away from Washington bureaucrats and to those who know children best - local leaders and parents. That is why I voted in favor of H.R. 2117, which repealed many over-reaching regulations of the Department of Education.
We must begin to judge the success of our schools by the results we obtain, not the money we spend. Parents should have the right to home school their children, in accordance with the educational standards of our schools. We also need to focus more on true quality rather than quantity. We must set high standards for our students AND teachers. We must measure their performance diligently and hold educators and administrators accountable for the results in an atmosphere of transparency and efficiency.
Our school districts should have the ability to replace teachers who are not competent and we must impose reasonable waiting periods for teachers to gain tenure. Educators, teachers and parents should be involved in the design of compensation initiatives that encourage training and promote performance based on merit, so that our children have the best education we can provide.
I also strongly believe that we must return God to our public schools. For that reason, I voted in favor of H. Con. Res. 13, which encourages display of "In God We Trust" in public buildings and schools.
An estimated 15 to 20 million illegal immigrants currently reside in the United States. I do not support rewarding these illegal immigrants with amnesty. In 1986, when legislation was passed granting general amnesty, the illegal immigrant population quadrupled.
America’s current immigration policies are not working. Change is needed. I am convinced that our country’s border security is paramount to our nation’s security. The security of America’s southern border can be improved by increasing the number of border enforcement agents, completing and enhancing the current fence and implementing the use of new technology.
The words of the Second Amendment are clear and direct: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."
Yet the Second Amendment continues to be one of the most hotly debated Amendments in American history. Gun control proponents across the country are trying to limit and take away the rights of individuals to possess firearms. Such actions are both unconstitutional and a threat to our liberty. I strongly oppose any legislation that threatens the Second Amendment rights of Tennesseans and Americans.
I have never wavered in my strong support of protecting our 2nd Amendment rights, and I voted for the National Right to Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011. This legislation allows licensed firearm owners to carry out their God-given right more freely. The right to carry a firearm is a right that allows law-abiding citizens to protect themselves and is crucial to the freedom of our country.