Do you support the privatization of prison system?

There is significant agreement that the prison system is overwhelmed, inefficient, and ill-equipped to handle today’s demands and challenges.

I believe the private sector, rather than the government, is better able and more appropriately positioned to cost-effectively manage prison operations.

Are you in favor of civil forfeiture of private property?

I fully support our law enforcement agencies and keeping our citizens safe from criminals. I also support the Republican Party platform regarding civil forfeiture reform to ensure the rights of all Americans are protected from abusive property seizures.

Do you support the legalization of marijuana?

I oppose legalization of recreational marijuana but am open to considering evidence from the medical community regarding the safe use of cannabis for medical reasons. I understand that marijuana can be used to treat pain, nausea, and other symptoms in patients, but our region is challenged with high drug use, impacting our citizens and community in a negative way. I want to continue protecting our youth and communities from illegal drugs.

What is your stance on open borders?

I do not support open borders. I support closed borders including building a wall to deter drug trafficking, illegal immigration, and all other criminal activity.

Will you support President Trump in Washington?

I support President Trump’s “Make American Great Again” policies, especially with regard to economics, trade, and the fight against bigger government. I will help President Trump fight to preserve all freedoms under the constitution. I will be a very strong advocate for the president in Congress.

What is your stance on the 2nd Amendment?

I believe in the 2nd Amendment and the right for all Americans to bear arms.

I am a responsible and law-abiding gun owner like many Americans.

I believe we should focus on respecting life more before taking away our freedoms.

Are you in favor of government-funded healthcare?

I do not believe in government-funded healthcare.

I believe in a patient-centered healthcare system, which is based in free markets, fosters competition, and drives healthcare costs down. I support individual states’ rights to govern how healthcare systems operate within their borders.

I believe healthcare systems that are funded and run by the government will reduce efficiency and the standard of care, as well as compromise the patient-physician relationship and increase waiting periods for treatment.

Did you align with former Governor Bill Haslam?

Yes, I aligned with former Governor Bill Haslam. I thought Haslam was a good governor and I agreed with his focus on education and economic opportunity. He really drove improvements in education — including Drive to 55, Tennessee Promise, and Tennessee Reconnect — across our state. He also furthered economic development by recruiting businesses to Tennessee that provided high-paying jobs.

Which party do you belong to?

I am a conservative Republican.

Is John your real name?

Yes. John is the English version of Juan. I have not changed my name.

Why did you vote to increase fees for garbage services in Kingsport?

Kingsport has been, and continues to be, the lowest cost of living city in the Tri-Cities. Despite this fact, Kingsport has struggled to attract and retain residents. When I became mayor in 2015, this was the most pressing issue we faced. Kingsport had been losing population organically every year but managed to show growth through annexation by city ordinance. Then the Tennessee state legislature voted to eliminate annexation by city ordinance as a planned growth tool a few years ago. In order to address this concern, the majority of the Kingsport BMA (including me) voted to raise the needed revenues to invest in quality of life improvements and address the city’s growth problem to encourage retention and attraction of residents to Kingsport. The BMA voted to make investments recommended by the OneKingsport initiative, an over two-year volunteer effort where approximately 250 businesses, community leaders, and citizens met to identify needed investments for our city. These investments included yearly road paving, beautification, creation of The Inventor Center, riverfront improvements, and upgrading the city’s many destination assets such as Bays Mountain Park. These improvements are enjoyed by Kingsport and regional residents every day.

As a result of these citizen-driven investments, along with the promotion of our city’s high quality of life, Kingsport’s population has grown by over 2% and 1,000 new residents over the past four years (according to recent census data). Therefore, the investments have resulted in helping Kingsport address its growth problem, all while continuing to maintain the lowest cost of living of the Tri-Cities.