I would like to briefly discuss who we are as people and how people see us. A while back my cousin and I were discussing the political parties and one of the topics that came up was how the Republican Party has been perceived as cold and uncaring. Obviously we need better PR people because I know that to be untrue.
As a matter of fact, not long ago,thanks to the Young Republicans, I was able to spend the evening with many fellow Republicans handing out turkeys to some of the families of Bradley County.
The truth is we are a generous people but we also are a humble people. We don't brag on how much we give of our money or time to various charities or churches. As we move through the Christmas season and into next year, I encourage the party to continue what was started with the turkey giveaway and engage the community as a group where it is needed.
People have been asking me, why do you want to run for Congress? The best answer I can give is I am tired of being disappointed. I am tired of casting my vote and no matter who gets elected Planned Parenthood is still being funded, the Federal government is still growing, and our freedoms are still being taken away one by one.
There is a reason Tennessee is called the Volunteer state. It is because when we see a problem we are the first to step up and say I can help fix that. How can I call my self a true Tennesseean and not step up when I feel there is a need?
I also believe it is time for this district to be represented by a citizen legislator. I have worked in retail, manufacturing, warehousing, and now the medical industry. I have been everything from a cashier to a fork lift operator to a supervisor that oversaw 60 employees. I understand what it means to live from paycheck to paycheck. I have experienced having to move away from my home because of the war on coal.
On two separate occasions my family was greatly impacted by how expensive mining had become because of regulations. In the mid 60's my grandfather and many others lost their jobs in the coal mines because government regulations made it too expensive to keep the mines open.
Jump ahead 20 years to the mid 80's, my father and uncles try their luck at hauling coal once again. The price has climbed to a point in which people can afford to jump through all the hoops the government has put in front of them. Unfortunately, just as oil did a few years ago, the price of coal dropped and once again regulations made it too expensive to mine. My father and several uncles all lost their livelihoods at the same time.
I didn't tell you that story so that I can make a promise to bring coal jobs back to East TN. I wanted to share two important lessons that I learned. The first is the government can have a major impact on our day to day lives. I believe it has strayed from its role to protect the rights of its citizens as laid out in the Declaration of Independence.
Government regulations have been used to pick winners and losers in the business world, and we have suffered because of it.
The second important lesson that I learned from my father and my uncles losing their jobs is how important it is to learn a skill that adds value to you.
The story doesn't end with with them becoming destitute and not being able to take care of their families. They had learned how to drive big trucks and heavy equipment. They had learned how to do mechanic work and how to do disaster cleanup. Even though they didn't always get to stay home or live where they wanted to, they were willing to work hard and had skills that gave them opportunities.
That is a crucial lesson that we are not teaching our young people. We have young men and women graduating college with thousands of dollars in student loans and zero ability to provide value to today's business world in order to secure employment.
My oldest son attends the University of Tennessee. When I sat through his orientation I heard a lot of speeches about the different experiences he would have and the great facilities he would have access to but not one time did I hear 90% of our students will have a job right out of college.
We have an 18th century education system trying to prepare students for a 21st century world. The question should not be should I go to college or not. The question should be what is the best way for me to increase my human capital so I have skills so important that businesses can't do without me.
For some that is certainly a college education. We have new businesses flocking to Tennessee because of low taxes and a business friendly environment. These companies such as Volkswagen and Nissan are going to need engineers and executives to run them. UT medical and Vanderbilt need doctors that want to be on the cutting edge of medicine. Oak Ridge will continue to need scientists and engineers to help with our defense and energy needs. Chattanooga continues to push the boundaries of fiber optics and high speed internet technology and will require technicians and computer specialists far into the future.
But Tennessee also needs those that are willing to work with their hands. We need welders, mechanics, heavy equipment operators, machinists, and electricians. This is going to be even more apparent as we become more and more automated.
College educations, trade or vocational training, and apprenticeships should all be promoted and supported in such a way that prepares those involved for a successful future.
As I mentioned before, I am deeply disappointed in the way the Republican Party has performed at the national level. At the state level our representatives and senators have stood on principle and we are now seeing some of the fruits of that labor. However we gave them the house, the senate, and the presidency in Washington DC and they haven't fought for anything.
We have to decide. Are we going to be the anti-democrats party where our main goals is to simply just disagree with what the Democrats have to say or are going actually stand for something? On Aug. 2 the Republicans of the third district will get to make that choice. Voting in the primaries are crucial to actually draining the swamp that is Washington DC.
As I celebrated the New Year with some dear friends, the discussion turned to politics. Believe it or not, this often happens around someone who is running for office. During that discussion, the statement was made that America has no vision. We don’t have a shared direction as a nation. In essence, we are having an identity crisis. I have to say I agree with that.
Just as George Washington warned, our two party system has caused such animosity that instead of working together toward a common goal we spend as much energy as possible simply opposing each other. In order for us to return to some sort of sanity, both sides are going to have to acknowledge that every idea is not a zero sum.
What I mean by that is two things can be true at the same time. Let me give you some examples. I can say that workers’ wages are too low. I can also say that CEOs deserve the millions of dollars that he or she is paid in salary. Very few people in this world has the ability to run large companies and keep them successful. At the same time, it should not take the salaries of two skilled professionals to pay for basic necessities.
I can say that I disagree with a person’s lifestyle and believe ultimately it is harmful to society. I can also say that individual deserves to be shown love and treated with human dignity as a person created in the image of God. I can say that illegal immigration is not acceptable because of health and safety concerns. I can also say that immigration is important to our country and those seeking freedom and we should encourage it.
In order for us become the greatest nation ever imagined we must work together toward a common goal. We need new ideas that respect the principles that both sides deem important. Notice I said principles not methods. I believe we can feed, shelter, and medically treat every person in the nation, but not by forcing people to do it. We have been trying that for 70 years and the results are far less than what an enlightened society should be. Let’s not give up our individual liberty for the sake of feeding the hungry. Let’s do both. During the world wars every person in America was dedicated to a particular cause. It took leadership and inspiration to get us moving in that direction. That is what we need now.
There are lots of things government can do to promote an agenda for the country without actually forcing people to give half of everything he or she makes to make it happen. For example, the US government spent roughly $110 billion on food and shelter last year. However, nearly $400 billion was given in charitable donations by the American people. Until the problem of hunger is eradicated (or as much as humanly possible), why not say that the only charitable donations that are tax deductible are those given to organizations that feed, shelter, or provide medical service. Why not promote the idea that in order for an organization to be recognized as non-profit it has to be part of a county benevolent foundation where the heads of those charities in every county meet once a month to work together to solve their particular field of interest.
At the same time, we have to teach people that in order to become wealthy you have to study wealth. You have to learn a skill that is going to make you successful either through college or through learning a trade. You have to invest a percentage of your income and use the methods the wealthy use to become successful. This needs to be part of our curriculum.
I believe our founding fathers limited the federal government for very good reasons. I will continue to promote the idea that increasing the size of government decreases personal liberty. At the same time, I admire the passion that my Democrat friends have for taking care of those in need. My vision for America is that both of these principles become part of who we are.
Several years ago my youngest son was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Due to this illness there have been times in his life where he has lived in a constant state of fear. So when I say people that live in fear on a constant basis are living in hell, I am not being hyperbolic.
It is my belief that illegal immigrants face the same type of fear my son does. To push for policies that promote the type of instability and constant trauma of extreme paranoia that living in this country illegally brings is not only irresponsible it is downright cruel. Why would one encourage policies that effectively create second class citizens? Why would one promote the idea that your allowed to live here but you'll never be able to call the police or an ambulance if you need them. The idea of sanctuary cities treats the symptoms of bad policy not the actual problem.
Not only are we encouraging illegal immigrants to live in nightmarish conditions once they arrive here, we are also putting them at great risk on their journey. It has been reported that hundreds of people die each year trying to cross the southern border. The Huffington Post (certainly not a bastion of conservative ideas) recently stated that up to 80% of women smuggled into the US are raped at some point during the process.
People coming to the US deserve better than to be put through and live in hell. I have a tremendous respect for the work ethic and family bonds that the Hispanic community displays. When I am elected, I am willing to sit down with the Democrats and discuss the process for legal immigration, but we must stop the horror that is being caused by not enforcing the law and securing the border.
I recently read a report that said it takes $50.000 to pay for the bare necessities in the United States for a family of 4. Of course, in some places this will be higher and in some places this will be lower.
I also read a report that said 71% of American workers make less than that. This is a huge problem. Some people may say that the government should make employers pay more.
I completely disagree with that solution. There are too many unintended consequences such as terminations and lost opportunities to learn important skills.
As your Representative, I would dedicate as much time as possible to eliminating regulations and laws that directly reduce employers' ability to increase wages and bar entry into a particular field.
For example, my employer and I paid $22,000 in insurance premiums last year. That does not include the out of pocket expenses. What if I had that extra $22000 in my pocket as wages?
We have a family doctor in our area that charges $75 a month for his services. He is on call 24 hours a day and doesn't have to ask someones permission to treat his patients the way he sees fit. I have been to the doctor around 2-3 times in the last ten years so let's say I bought coverage every month for the rest of my family. That would be $150 a month. Catastrophic medical insurance would cost me around $800 a month. Those two things combined would cost around $11,000 a year. That leaves me an extra $10,000 to $11,000 per year in wages. That money could then be invested and used to grow my own wealth.
One failure of today's education system is that it doesn't inform people that in order to become wealthy you must study wealth. Investment is necessary and available for all through index funds.
Insurance premiums are just one small piece of what employers have to pay that we don't actually see. We are already seeing very positive results from the tax cut. Let's continue that momentum and encourage companies to pay higher wages by cutting the amount of hoops they have to jump through and spur competition by making it easier for new companies to gain entry into a market. How many new pharmaceutical or car companies have been created in the last 20 years?