Over the last decade, we have propelled this state to lead the nation on many different levels – reducing burdensome regulations, cutting red-tape, eliminating and reducing taxes, key reforms like tort reform and workers compensation. Together, we have made Tennessee one of the most business-friendly states in America. Since 2011, we have supported the creation of 494,900 new private sector jobs.

Our economy is thriving, and as we look all around us, there is evidence that things in Tennessee are good; in fact, some would say they are very good. We have seen historically low unemployment, and Tennessee is also the lowest debt state, median household incomes are increasing at the second fastest rate in the entire southeast, and we are the most fiscally stable state in the entire country. Our house is stable, in order, and our economic torch is shining brightly.


As we have put our conservative economic principles into the healthcare marketplace, we must continue to focus on our workforce.

Tomorrow’s workforce starts with solidifying the academic foundations of Tennessee’s current and future generations. We have made considerable progress; In the last eight years, we have invested over $1 billion dollars in K-12 education, and we have made the largest combined investment in teacher salaries than at any other point in our history.

There is no denying the success we have experienced from these investments, and we are seeing transformative results. We used to say, “thank god for Mississippi!” Now, our children have become the fastest improving in the entire nation across math, reading, and science, but we want more for them. 

Despite these successes, we have experienced a few hiccups along the way including a lack of uniformity across the state for the Response to Instruction and Intervention program and only partially funding it.

Additionally, we cannot accept that 2/3 of our students aren’t reading proficiently by the 4th grade. If someone cannot read – how can they write or achieve success in math, science, or social studies?  

Our primary focus must be on improving early childhood literacy rates across this state – every year that we wait, is another that our students are falling. Let me be very clear – this isn’t falling through the cracks, because that implies we are unaware they fell – which we are not. 

One of the most formative periods in a child’s academic development is between kindergarten and third grade.  How can a child move along their educational journey in life, if they aren’t proficient in reading? We must have a disciplined focus on k-3 rd through targeted investments, retaining and incentivizing the best educators to teach in this important area, fully funding the RTI program and creating uniformity through best practices, as well as a mastery of skills that are narrow and deep, instead of wide and shallow.

I also think it is important to expand the Imagination Library program from its current birth to age five model – to a birth to 3rd grade model.  We don’t need to stop fostering a love for reading and providing books to students just as they begin learning to read.

We have also seen great examples of success in public education whether it is our public schools or public charter schools. Recently, I visited Collegiate public charter school in Memphis.  I left there amazed at student success rates. The average ACT score at Collegiate is 24 – Tennessee’s average is 20. What is leading to this success? Is it discipline? Parental involvement? The Christian-based learning environment at Collegiate? Headmaster? Educators? A combination of all these things?  I don’t know the exact answer – but I see a tangible result with similar demographics like other schools in Memphis.

Our goal must be to ensure that every student has the same opportunity for success in all public schools across our state.

Solidifying the foundations of our students earlier in their academic careers will make the education torch shine brighter for our current and future generations of leaders.


As we have built a very competitive marketplace in the economy that adds jobs, increases income, controls costs, and fosters innovation. A good paying job is essential to survival, but there are other obstacles getting in the way. While we let the marketplace work in a few sectors like the economy, we don’t utilize the same principles that have made us successful in other areas like healthcare.

Healthcare costs are escalating much faster than the normal rate of inflation. One of the many reasons is the lack of a free, competitive marketplace.

Some people don’t think it is possible to have a free, competitive healthcare system. I believe we can, but we must be disciplined and patient. Cost transparency, improved access, and less government intervention will help yield better outcomes and promote affordability. We must strive to create a healthcare system that empowers patients and providers, not 3rd party administrators.
Currently, a huge problem is the fact that some of the players are acting and behaving like ‘big brother.’ There really are no checks and balances, and everything is considered privileged information – even information about taxpayer funded services.

I am against government run healthcare for all, but if we think about it, isn’t our healthcare system just an insurance company monopoly……they have absolute control over the marketplace – the insurance plans – the pricing, they send out more mandates than the government, they own the big pharmacy benefits managers (PBMs), own pharmacies, and even some of the EMS companies. This sounds like a start to a utopian monopoly.
Is it too late to change course or change direction? No; however, there is no single solution to fixing healthcare, it is too vast, too complex, and competition is being stifled.  The things that have made our economy great are not being utilized in healthcare – like true competition and an open marketplace.

As we untangle this monopolistic approach – we can start opening access through tele-medicine, which is the gateway to bring specialized healthcare into our rural areas and a concept which insurance companies have fought for years.

Bringing transparency to the reimbursement disparities for providers, transparency in costs through solutions like a public database, so patients can compare prices, and transparency of ownership in the healthcare marketplace are essential in transforming healthcare.  Removing barriers to competition by redoing and eliminating the Certificate of Need laws is also an essential part of the fix.

Finally, we must also determine what a basic healthcare plan is and what its intended use is.

This healthcare monopoly wasn’t created overnight, so it will take time to correct. By controlling pricing, providing more access, and creating transparency – together, we can regain control of the healthcare torch and make it shine brighter for all patients.

Tax Cuts

Under Conservative leadership, we have eliminated more than $645 million in taxes since 2011. This includes multiple cuts to the Hall income tax, which will be completely eliminated by Jan. 1, 2021. We have also repealed both the gym tax and the inheritance tax, slashed the food tax, exempted sales tax on fiber optic cable and water for farming operations, made multiple reductions to the Franchise and Excise tax in order to attract new business to our state, and we continue to slash taxes on Tennesseans impacted by the professional privilege tax.

With a large budget surplus, we should look for new ways we can return more money to the citizens of Tennessee.

Law & Order

We must prioritize our responsibility of keeping Tennesseans safe. We are a society of laws, and we follow the rule of law. 

As I have traveled throughout this state in recent months, I have met with law enforcement, district attorneys, public defenders, and our judges. During these meetings, the concepts of truth in sentencing and mental health are frequently discussed. The federal sentencing guidelines are clear and concise. However, Tennessee’s are based on percentages, levels of offenders and varying degrees of reductions – we need to better mirror the federal system.

We can be smart on crime but not at the expense of safer communities. Not at the expense of law enforcement and not at the expense of our judicial system. Compassion is a great quality – but not if it jeopardizes public safety.

Truth in sentencing laws are designed to hold violent and repeat offenders totally accountable for their actions, reducing the possibility of early release and keeping bad individuals off of our streets.

Truth in sentencing is clear, concise and easy to understand. It may cost some additional money and resources. But getting away from a 5 means 2 mentality and starting a 5 means 5 sends a strong message to criminals and an even stronger message to those who protect and serve us that we stand with you.