Job creation has always been my first priority. Continuing to generate high-quality, well-paid jobs is pivotal to the success of our region. As Mayor of Kingsport, I hosted a summit bringing together leaders in education, workforce development, and recruiting to take inventory of our needs and develop a strategy to fill them. I will expand this initiative across the 1st District to engender lasting partnerships between our employers and our educators, ensuring each resident of Northeast Tennessee has a chance at the American Dream, not poverty.
Within my first three months as your congressman, I will host another summit bringing together the thought leaders, educators, entrepreneurs, recruiters, and experts from every corner of our region with the sole purpose of ensuring that our citizens are prepared for jobs right here at home and that those jobs keep multiplying. Let’s work together to ensure that anyone who wants a well-paid job in Northeast Tennessee can find one and keep it.
High quality healthcare should be accessible no matter where you live, including in the 1st District. Helping rural hospitals keep their doors open is essential to the health and wellness of our citizens. I will work hard to improve hospital revenues by encouraging reform to the Medicare Wage Index formula.
Every American should have equal access to quality, affordable healthcare through robust, affordable, private sector insurance. I support the repeal and reform of Obamacare and free-market competition so families can purchase comprehensive insurance coverage that lowers costs, improves the quality of care, and preserves the doctor-patient relationship. Allowing competition across state lines and making it easier to shop for insurance are some of the fundamental ways we will help drive down the cost of private insurance for our employers and families.
The opioid crisis has held us in its grip too long. I will work diligently with our federal and state legislators and medical professionals to address the epidemic of addiction right here at home through prevention, treatment, and law enforcement.
Protecting our Freedoms
I am committed to protecting the freedoms and fundamental rights of all Americans, including the Second Amendment. The United States Constitution guarantees the right of law-abiding citizens to bear arms to defend life, liberty, and property against anyone who threatens our safety and security.
As a gun owner, I support the enforcement of our existing laws before infringing on the rights of our citizens any further.
Our immigration system is broken and in need of urgent and diligent reform. As an immigrant myself, I fully support the legal immigration process, but I do not support illegal immigration, open border policies, or Sanctuary Cities. Sixty years ago, my family left Cuba, fleeing communism in favor of American democracy. We legally immigrated to the U.S., becoming naturalized American citizens ten years later. Many residents who have entered our country did not follow the path to citizenship as my family and I did. Now, we must secure our borders, address those immigrants living in our country illegally, and reform the process of immigration.
Illegal immigration has a negative impact on our nation’s safety and financial stability. I strongly support the comprehensive border security policy that the Trump administration is implementing, especially along our southern border. Additionally, I support the construction of a border wall to ensure the security of our nation’s border with Mexico.
I support strong family values and am pro-life. As a devoted Catholic, I am against abortion and will respect and defend the right to life at any opportunity. I believe in the sanctity of human life and in the human spirit. I do not believe any human being has the right to terminate the life of any other human being and I believe life starts at conception.
Role of Government & Foreign Policy
The role of government, first and foremost, is to create an environment where citizens and businesses can succeed, not to interfere with the individual’s right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I support small government that protects its citizens and stays out of their wallets.
Individuals freedoms are paramount to the continuing success of our region and our nation.
I strongly support America’s continuing efforts as a global leader in the fight against terrorism, human suppression, and suffering. The primary responsibility of our federal government is, and should continue to be, keeping American safe.
It is my belief that we must remain united with President Trump’s agenda as we face growing global threats, like the political unrest in the Middle East, the denuclearization of North Korea, growing economic power in China, and increasing terrorism and cyber-attacks. The U.S. is a land of opportunity for all and it will only remain that way through our maintained vigilance and united stance on foreign affairs and geopolitical issues.
Education is paramount to the growth and development of the 1st District, the state of Tennessee, and our nation. Training and marketable skills are the keys to attracting and developing stable, well-paid jobs which enable us to pursue the American Dream — home ownership and a high quality of life for families.
I ardently support the pursuit of excellent public schools and continuation of programs like Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect. These foundational programs make job training and reeducation affordable and attainable for countless Tennesseans throughout our region. Education is about employability and attaining skills to perform a task. Our citizens should have robust access to job-ready training. Coordinating efforts between community colleges, technical education campuses, and high school diploma programs will allow more of our residents to attain gainful employment with a living wage.
Throughout the 1st District, high-paying jobs in manufacturing, healthcare, and automotive services are available now. It’s up to us to ensure that our citizens are trained to fill those positions today and as those industries continue to develop.
Taxes, Debt & Spending
The most important factor in the financial security of our nation is developing and maintaining a balanced federal budget. Currently, the sum of all the outstanding debt owed by the federal government is at a record high $23 trillion and growing at $1 trillion per year.
Thirty percent of the national deficit is intragovernmental debt. This debt is unsustainable and a major national security risk that must be addressed with fiscal discipline and courage.
As mayor, I helped balance budgets while investing in quality of life initiatives each year to make the city of Kingsport a great place to live, work, play, and raise a family. We made the city more attractive and appealing for residents and businesses while maintaining the lowest cost of living (taxes, fees, utilities) of the Tri-Cities. It’s high time that we approach the federal budget with the same reasonable eye toward sustainable spending practices that will help decrease our national deficit.
The U.S. federal tax code is too complex and tax rates are too high. Stringent reform is necessary to unburden citizens and businesses at all income levels including entrepreneurs, small businesses, and those in poverty. Lowering taxes and reducing regulations is imperative for business expansion, job growth, and increased revenues. I strongly support President Trump and the Republican Party’s agenda which includes jobs, tax cuts, deregulation of industries, and fair and reciprocal trade.
Achieving energy independence should be a job creator, not a job killer. Climate change is a real and present threat globally, which must be addressed, but not in a way which could potentially cause great harm to our economy and job market. Affordable energy is essential for economic growth and improving the quality of life for all American families.
I support the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy in a practical and cost-effective way. We must continue working with the other countries to ensure they too make efforts to control global pollution and continue their transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.
I oppose the Green New Deal many Democrats are currently touting as a solution to our energy crisis. The Green New Deal would fundamentally change how Americans harvest crops, raise livestock, build homes, drive cars, travel throughout our country, manufacture goods, and more. The American way of life would drastically shift in an unreasonably short period of time at the cost of trillions of dollars.
As mayor of an industrial and manufacturing hub, I’ve seen our city’s industries and government entities make major progress toward sustainable energy practices in a manageable, affordable, and intelligent way. It is possible to encourage sustainability and transition to green practices in a way that will not cripple businesses or cost jobs.