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Issues

I’m running to address the needs of the 2nd District.
I’m running for Congress to provide the type of leadership that will help get things done in Washington and move us past the partisanship and administrative failures that we see all too often.

Healthcare  |  Education  |  Environment  |  Agriculture  |  Energy  |  Gun Violence  | ImmigrationInfrastructure  |  Social Security  |  Trade & Workforce  |  Veterans


 

Healthcare

I think health care should be affordable and accessible to all Americans.  This is one of the great policy challenges of our time.   We need to shore up the individual cost share program of the Affordable Care Act.  The legislation drafted by Senators Alexander (R-TN) and Murray (D-WA) was a good start but unfortunately has stalled.  The cost of pharmaceutical drugs also is a major driver of healthcare costs.  I support giving Medicare, Medicaid and Veterans Affairs full authority to negotiate prices for pharmaceuticals.  And, the patent time for new drugs should be reduced to 15 years.  These two actions would dramatically reduce costs for government programs and for consumers.  I would support reducing the age of eligibility to 55 for Medicare.  This would create a new option for those between the ages of 55 and 64 – creating more competition in the marketplace and generating new premium revenues for the Medicare trust fund.  Like most Tennesseans, I am concerned about the opioid addiction problem and the closure of rural hospitals.  To address these problems east Tennessee needs assistance from the state and federal authorities.  As a Member of Congress, I would support specific programs in the Department of Health and Human Services that states can utilize to address these two pressing problems. Let’s shore up the Affordable Care Act, expand Medicare and Medicaid, protect rural hospitals and drive down the cost of prescription drugs.

Let’s shore up the Affordable Care Act, expand Medicare and Medicaid, protect rural hospitals and drive down the cost of prescription drugs. 


 

Education

I am a product of public education and I am proud of the education I received.  In addition, my father and uncles taught in the public-school system.  I am committed to strengthening public education so all children can get a quality education and be prepared to become productive citizens. Public schools are the educational foundation of communities across the 2nd District.  Ensuring a basic, solid education for all students must remain our goal.  States depend significantly on federal support to provide educational resources.  Dollars at the federal and state level should not be diminished, diluted or diverted for other purposes – they should make it to the classrooms of our public schools. Vocational and technical education provide transition opportunities from high school to the labor force.  I am very supportive of the Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, which seeks to “strengthen the connections between secondary and postsecondary education and improve state and local accountability,” and would vote for reauthorization and full funding of the legislation. We cannot create a two-tiered class system in our schools such that wealth and access determine a better education. We leave too much human capital on the table.  Our children deserve the best education we can give them so that they can be successful in life. Let’s protect funding for our public schools, increase support for vocational and technical education, and lower the costs of student loans.

Let’s protect funding for our public schools, increase support for vocational and technical education, and lower the costs of student loans.


 

Environment

We must recognize that clean air and fresh water are necessary for our existence and quality of life.  That is why I have spent much of my professional career protecting water quality and water supplies.  Tennessee manages air and water laws under federal government authority.  As a member of Congress, I will continue to fight for environmental protections and to support policies that protect air quality and water resources and to address the sources of climate change. The administration budget would reduce funding to the US EPA by more than 20 percent.  This would have grave consequences for Tennessee by undercutting programs like enforcement, state revolving fund loans, and services to protect water quality.  I will work to oppose those proposals.  Let’s reverse the actions of this administration that will threaten clean air, fresh water and the climate.

Let’s reverse the actions of this administration that will threaten clean air, fresh water and the climate.


 

Agriculture

Much of the 2nd District remains rural, where an agricultural economy and lifestyle still dominate.  These lands were the basis of early American growth and remain fundamental to supplying agricultural commodities and trade that supports the world.  We cannot continue to lose farmland because the jobs are no longer economically viable. The Department of Agriculture works with states and counties to provide support programs that are vital to making farming communities more efficient and more productive, enabling farming families to maintain their livelihoods and their futures.  I will continue to support these programs and oppose the drastic cuts that have been proposed by the current administration.  Let’s ensure trade disputes don’t harm our agricultural economy so that we can have good jobs and farmers can continue to provide safe, reliable food supplies.

Let’s ensure trade disputes don’t harm our agricultural economy so that we can have good jobs and farmers can continue to provide safe, reliable food supplies.


 

Energy

Residents of the 2nd District rely on TVA for their power.  There are no other provider options, but there can be more consumer options.  TVA can expand its renewable energy portfolio so that families can choose to utilize renewable energy choices as well as electing green power options provided by TVA.  There should be no barriers to solar development in the Tennessee Valley. Net metering, distributive power, and energy storage through state of the art battery systems give consumers choice, and TVA should support those choices. It is important to note that addressing climate change is directly connected to energy choices.  Continuing the move away from fossil fuels and toward clean, renewable energy sources must be part of U.S. energy policy. Let’s move to a renewable energy future that is reliable, clean and helps us fight the impacts of climate change.

Let’s drastically reduce the use of fossil fuels, advance renewable energy technology, and invest in electric grid technology that harnesses a clean energy future to help solve the climate crisis.


 

Gun Violence

We all have seen the results of too many dangerous weapons in the wrong hands.  Now, we need to act.  I have made the following proposals: Allow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to perform research on gun violence as it relates to public health. I will work to implement their findings.  Require background checks to be mandatory for all gun sales, closing the gun show loophole.  Require agencies to regularly update the databases used for background checks. Currently, reporting agencies see this duty as voluntary. We also need to determine what weapons are allowed on the streets.  I respect Second Amendment rights, but clearly, a distinction needs to be made for weapons of war.  It is time for us to have an honest discussion and take action to restrict the high-capacity, rapid-fire weapons used in these mass shootings.  Let’s pass common sense gun reforms that will make our schools and all our citizens safer.

Let’s pass common sense gun reforms that will make our schools and all our citizens safer. 


 

Immigration

This administration has made a once welcoming country a frightening place for many immigrants – even those lawfully in the United States.  Now, the Justice Department is taking the drastic step of separating children from their parents.  These practices need to stop.  I previously worked for the Immigrant Legal Resource Center and know there is a better way.  We need to reform our immigration laws to support pathways to citizenship and to give immigrant workers the necessary security to contribute and be a part of society. Let’s protect the ‘dreamers’ with a clean DACA bill and end the practices that are separating children from their parents.

Let’s protect the ‘dreamers’ with a clean DACA bill and end the practices that are separating children from their parents.  


 

Infrastructure

Across America roads, dams and bridges are in poor condition; the electricity grid needs upgrades; water and sewer systems fail to meet federal standards with regularity; and broadband is limited in many rural areas.  These are basic municipal needs that we all depend upon every day.  America needs to invest in its infrastructure; however, it appears Congress and this administration will spend an entire year doing nothing.  During the 2016 campaign, every politician had a platform calling for more investment in infrastructure.  Yet, none have taken the steps to move legislation and implement the improvements.  These upgrades will cost billions of dollars, but we do not have the federal and state planning in place to begin the work. As a member of Congress, I will emphasize taking care of America’s needs, and that includes a focus on infrastructure legislation that will prioritize needs, set up funding mechanisms and ensure the states get the assistance they need to strengthen our failing infrastructure. Let’s begin to set aside funding for infrastructure improvements that can be implemented today and into the future.

Let’s begin to set aside funding for infrastructure improvements that can be implemented today and into the future. 


 

Social Security

Retirement security is something every older American hopes for, but insufficient planning can threaten that security.  The Social Security system has helped to support retirees since 1935.  The system is still sound, but some adjustments are needed to keep it that way as we go through a period when the baby boomers retire.  As of now, Americans pay social security taxes on their income up to $128,400.  I support raising that limit so that people who earn more than $128,400 would pay social security taxes on all earned income.  This would provide the funds needed to stabilize the Social Security trust fund for many more decades. Let’s extend the life of the Social Security trust fund to ensure retirement security.

Let’s extend the life of the Social Security trust fund to ensure retirement security.  


 

Trade and Workforce Development

America overall has benefited from globalized trade more than any other nation in the world. Free and fair trade greases the gears of the American economy, enabling American companies to export more and higher-tech goods and services, provide more affordable products for American consumers, and create the high-tech, high-paying jobs that America needs.  Not all trade agreements are created equal, however. We must ensure that our trade agreements not only reduce tariffs for American goods and services overseas but also include high-standard provisions to protect the environment and workers and to provide a level playing field for all companies, including the thousands of small- and medium-sized companies that power the US economy. We also must ensure that those Americans who are left out from the benefits of trade don’t remain that way for long. With a national unemployment rate near four percent, the problem American workers face is not so much a lack of jobs, but rather an unequal distribution of the high-paying jobs and a skills mismatch in our increasingly knowledge-based economy.  We must do more to help American workers adjust to automation and our evolving globalized economy. We need to increase support for worker re-training programs, community colleges, technical schools, STEM education programs, apprenticeship programs, and more. These programs should be developed in partnership with schools, companies, and labor unions to ensure that workers are effectively trained to do the jobs our 21st-century economy needs. Let’s work for international trade deals that protect American workers and consumers while also respecting relationships with our allies.

Let’s work for international trade deals that protect American workers and consumers while also respecting relationships with our allies.


 

Veterans

Veterans have made sacrifices for this country that exceed normal public service.  We owe them a debt of gratitude and a Veterans Administration that can meet their needs after service.  In addition to long wait times, often those in need of VA health services are forced to travel long distances for care.  We can do better.  I have met with numerous veterans in the 2nd District to hear their concerns, including Lady Vets at the University of Tennessee.  Their concerns will be my concerns.  Homelessness, post-traumatic stress, and prolonged injury care are just a few of the challenges they face.  I will work to expand veterans’ services and outpatient care centers in poorly served communities.  Additionally, we can utilize research projects, like the one at the University of Tennessee, to get a true account of the veterans’ homelessness problem.  The Department of Defense should be as accountable to veterans as it is to members of the military while they are in service. Let’s strengthen VA programs and establish a stronger healthcare system for all our veterans.  If you would like to make suggestions to Renee as part of an advisory group, please click here to give the campaign more information.

Let’s strengthen VA programs and establish a stronger healthcare system for all our veterans.