Recently The Business Journal of Tri-Cities Tennessee/Virginia asked
Republican candidates some questions so folks could compare their
answers in order to see how they thought about certain issues. Since
I didn’t participate in that group I thought I would answer those same
questions. The magazine would not post my responses so I have included
What are your primary motivations for seeking election as the
U.S. Representative for Tennessee’s 1st District?
I am very concerned about the fact that our leaders these days are clearly
taken from the elite, the doctors, lawyers, business tycoons, etc. Not that I
have anything against these folks, it’s just not the way it is supposed to
be. What ever happened to government of the people, by the people and
for the people? That was important enough for Abraham Lincoln to
include it in his Gettysburg Address, so it must be a big deal. At least it
was back then.
Many people, including me, doubt that an ordinary man or woman can
gain the respect and attention of the people sufficient to gain a political
office these days. So many millions of dollars are spent on campaigning
and mud-slinging that a poor person could not ever hope to compete in
this chaotic ring of madness.
Having said all that, I endeavor to prove us all wrong. So I have brushed
my cynicism aside and pledged to give it my best shot, the ole college try,
and strive for the office of U.S. Congress in the 1st District of Tennessee.
Some think I am foolish, as I may very well be, but I seek to test the
political conscience of the era, and see if there is any dignity and
substance remaining in our democratic process. Does wanting to help and
serve the community still have merit in our society? I sure hope so, or we
all are in a pickle.
So here I am, in none of the glory that usually adorns political candidates.
I have no impressive resume, at least not the kind that usually clothes the
tycoons and business magnates in the political arena. I do hold a few
college degrees but I have never taken over a large firm and led it to
bigger things. I have never served in a political office, but I did serve as
president of a non-profit organization once. And even though it was in
dire straights when I took over it was doing well when I handed over the
office to the next person.
What issues of particular impact on Tennessee’s 1st district
do you believe a freshman congressman will have the best
chance to significantly address?
Poverty is real in Northeast Tennessee. It may be an abstract concept to
rich folk, but most of us in the 1st District knows what it’s like struggling
to make ends meet.
Therefore, my first priority is going to be jobs for the many hard-working
Tennesseans who have lost work, whether due to COVID 19 or
something else. We need jobs, not just for the college educated, but for
everyone, even if they did not finish high-school. If they have a family to
feed, they need to earn a living, and most people in our district are ready
and willing to work. And it’s not just the families, many single men and
women need work to pay the bills, and the bills keep coming regardless
of our income, or lack of it. Jobs are needed.
Another issue near and dear to my heart is human-trafficking. It is at an
epidemic level in our district, and I intend to do all I can to eradicate it,
and if that can’t be done I definitely want to mitigate it.
And we also have to fight this systemic racism that so many Tennesseans
want to ignore. We really do have a lot of work to do on this. I will work
hard to pass legislation that helps minorities to compete with dignity and
have an equal chance to move forward.
Would you support selling off the TVA?
Selling the TVA makes no sense to me. Why would we want to do that?
Obama wanted to do that, and now Trump wants to sell it, but thank God
our Tennessee politicians know better.
Yes, the TVA is a federally owned corporation created to provide flood
control, electricity generation, fertilizer manufacturing and economic
development to the Tennessee Valley because the region was hard hit by
the Great Depression. TVA provides electricity to Tennessee and parts of
Alabama, Mississippi and Kentucky as well as parts of Georgia, North
Carolina and Virginia.
We get our electricity from the TVA at a cost cheaper than we would pay
without it, and they control our lakes and waterways. We need to hold on
to this valuable resource.
President Trump recently fired the chair of the Tennessee Valley
Authority for hiring foreign workers and paying himself a ridiculously
high salary of eight million dollars. That’s $8,000,000. I believe that was
a smart decision; he needed to go. No one deserves that kind of money, I
don’t care who you are.
Do you believe the COVID-related unemployment spike has
made border security a more urgent issue to protect
Border security has always been crucial on its own, without regard to the
Chinese virus. I don’t know that it is any more important now, but we do
need to pay attention to who is coming in, and why.
We can’t overlook those who enter the country unlawfully but we must
also provide a well-regulated process for individuals to seek approved
status and a clear path to citizenship in a lawful manner.
What are the best ways to pay down the ballooning deficit?
Would you be in favor of removing the maximum taxable
earnings level or making other changes to Social Security,
instituting across the board federal spending cuts – including
entitlements and defense, raising taxes or making other
politically unpopular decisions?
We could do this without difficulty if we reduce our defense budget by
10% and stop giving so much money to other countries. I do believe in
helping others but we go too far with that. We should not try to be the caretakers of the whole world. As far as Social Security goes, we need to
give our elderly folks more money, not less.
Should the federal government mandate that more critical
medical products and supplies be produced domestically,
even if it means interfering in free markets and paying more?
I don’t believe it should be a mandate by the government, but it would be
a good idea for U.S. businesses to make things here rather than outsource
to other countries. There is entirely too much of that. We need to take
care of ourselves and our people.
I would be in favor of giving American companies incentives to
manufacture more products here, especially medicine and medical
Which is more important – maintaining the gains realized in
the trade war with China – or – holding China accountable for
Both are extremely important. Of course we want to maintain any gains
we have realized, but we must also hold the Chinese responsible for the
horrible virus they unleashed on the world. We cannot ignore this; we
need to constantly and consistently hold them accountable.
Do you favor coal industry subsidies?
Even though I am concerned about the workers and families of coal
miners, I believe we need to discontinue subsidies and work toward a
cleaner environment and policies that protect the environment. Coal is
nasty in more ways than one.
Should big tech companies be broken up? If so, how do you
square that with the need for less government regulation of
I believe tolerating monopolies is a bad way to conduct a free market.
Competition is what gives the consumer a chance of being dealt with
fairly, and given products and services that have quality.
Would you support regional economic development by
proposing changes at the Office of Management and Budget that would allow the Johnson City and Kingsport-Bristol MSAs to reunite?
I would support any changes that would be helpful but I personally would
not propose these changes. Johnson City and Bristol must each weigh the
ins and outs of such a reunification and make their decisions accordingly.