Beyond the 13 survey questions we asked each candidate on our voter guides, each candidate who answered the survey was given the opportunity, if they so chose, to respond to the following five essay questions in 300 words or less. On this page are the specific candidate’s answers. If a candidate answered some, but not all, of the questions, each unanswered question is marked as “No answer was provided.”
Explain your view of state government’s role in relation to economic growth and/or job creation.
It is not the government’s responsibility to create jobs, only to provide the ‘environment’ which would foster a confidence in private enterprise to make investments themselves, which in turn creates our jobs. Government can create certain infrastructure improvements, tweak the tax code here and there, and provide sufficient education to our youth so that they are trained and ready to work. Beyond that, it is up to the entrepreneur to visualize an opportunity and build that factory, or a service industry, in order to satisfy a need among the buying public.
What particular regulations of abortion would you support or oppose and why?
In my opinion, abortion is murder. I often have said that one is either pro-life or pro-death – that is the ‘choice’. Rather than killing the next generation, I would rather see the church-supported orphanages and homes for unwed mothers as served us so well in the past. Whenever someone asks me when it is that life ‘begins’ – at conception, at birth? – I answer the same, “Life began in the beginning. It continues forward until interrupted by death.”
Do you believe parent(s) or government have the primary and ultimate responsibility for the education of children? Please provide at least one example that you believe demonstrates what you mean.
It is the parents’ responsibility to see that their children are properly educated. I am a big supporter of home schooling, though I do see that there needs to be some standardized testing along the way so as to provide further instructional materials to the teaching parent if need be. In my neighborhood, there is a large community of Mennonites. These folks have their own school, right there in their church, with evening instructions by parents covering all of what I consider to be the most important topics. Recently, during an open debate about building a new county jail here in Greene County (I am currently a County Commissioner, having been elected in 2010), I became frustrated with all the talk of needing a bigger jail, how to pay for it, etc. I stopped the conversation by speaking out, “Can we stop for one minute? We are talking about the wrong subject! Instead of trying to figure out how to build a bigger jail, we need to be talking about why we need a larger jail in the first place.” I went on to say that until we return to Moral Teachings for our youth, we will never be able to build enough jails and risk the eventual failure of our entire society as we have known it. That said, I know we cannot do without public education, as every parent is not capable, for one reason or another, of being able to educate their own youth. However, I believe we need local control of our curriculum rather than the materials being created by bureaucrats for political or sometimes twisted agenda they may wish to foster on the young minds of our children.
What is one of the most satisfying things you have ever accomplished and what made it so satisfying to you?
Having been raised Christian, I have always tried to find ways to put Christ’s words into action in whatever I do in my life. I say that I like to ‘give my faith legs.’ In 1993, I heard that a local group of folks where meeting to form a Habitat for Humanity chapter here in Greene County. I attended those first meetings and began assisting immediately. As a result, I was put on the Founding Board. Over the next eight years, I assisted by serving all various positions within the Board, including President, but most importantly, helped build 23 homes. My wife will tell you that I averaged probably 20 hours per week during that eight-year effort. Whether I was coordinating a Mennonite work crew on a Saturday, or a Seventh Day Adventist group on a Sunday, or any of the many other crews and individuals, my satisfaction came from the fact that I was selflessly giving to others and following His direction that we love one another and help provide for that which they cannot provide themselves. The fact that this is a private effort rather than a government effort means that the folks involved are sincere in their efforts, rather than being paid to do a job.
What personal qualities or experiences do you think will define the nature of your service, if elected, and why do you think they are important?
I describe myself as a Christian Constitutional Conservative, and in that order. As a life-long entrepreneur enjoying a wide variety of business experiences, I know that serving the public is key to anyone’s long-term success – whether we are talking running a business, forming a charitable group, serving in politics, or just plain getting along with folks. In addition, when I was first elected to the County Commission, I took an in-depth, 12-week course on both the Tennessee and U.S. Constitutions – knowing that I would be swearing to uphold the directives of these noble documents. Our Founders were brilliant and inspired, I believe, by the Hand of God. As we have wavered so far from the original intent of those documents, I believe that in order for our country to survive as a Godly nation, the vast majority of us who believe must make a stand or forever relinquish our birthrights for which many have fought to preserve for so many years. We may be near the end of when such a turn-around is even possible, but I, for one, intend to make that stand.