Metro Pulse sent the following questionnaire to the three Republican candidates for the state Senate 6th District. Candidates' responses have not been edited in any way.
MARILYN RODDY, candidate for state Senate 6th District
1.) All three Republican candidates for the 6th District seat describe themselves as conservatives. Please define what that word means to you. In what ways are you "a conservative"?
Conservative governance embodies the belief that taxpayer dollars should be invested frugally, government closest to the citizens governs best, and government regulation should be kept to a minimum.
I believe that Tennesseans know best what works in their communities. As a sitting City Councilman, I understand the importance of allowing local governments to make the important decisions that affect the governance of their communities.
I know first-hand that responsible budgeting is the most important long-term strategy for ensuring economic growth and job creation in our state. Taxpayers and citizens should expect that their representatives will invest their hard-earned tax dollars with the goal of debt reduction and strategic investment. Taxpayer funds should be invested in ways that create future savings and capital projects must show a return on citizens' investment. During my service on City Council, the City has tripled its Rainy Day Fund, paid down its debt by 25% and achieved the lowest effective tax rate in 50 years.
I understand that government regulations can strangle small and start-up businesses. Last year expansion of existing businessesaccounted for nearly 86 percent of new jobs created in Tennessee. I believe that by reducing government regulation, we can make Tennessee an even better place for businesses to grow and thrive.
2.) Name 3 political leaders past or present other than Ronald Reagan whom you consider conservative role models, in terms of their beliefs and how they apply them in government.
Taken within the context of their generations:
President Jefferson advocated for representative democracy,the rights of individuals, the rights of states, and the importance of public education in a democracy.
Senator Goldwater retired from the United States Air Force as a Major General and began his political career as a City Councilman. During his service as a public servant he was a staunch fiscal conservative, a champion for states' rights, and an advocate for the United States military.
Governor Haley is a steadfast fiscal conservative who has advocated for transparency and accountability and for smaller, more efficient government.
3.) Despite lots of campaign talk about job creation, Tennessee's unemployment rate has risen since the new Legislature took office this year. Name three specific things the state Legislature can or should do next year to help put Tennesseans back to work.
1.Reduce business regulation to remove burdensome and duplicative regulations on Tennessee's businesses
2.Encourage innovation, technology and entrepreneurship to make Tennessee attractive to 21st-century jobs
3.Continue to pursue innovative education reform and the raising of standards for all Tennessee students to make our state attractive to capital investment, entrepreneurship and business expansion
4.) Tennessee House Bill 600 generated a lot of controversy earlier this year, with many major employers—including Knoxville-based Scripps Networks—saying it will hurt their recruitment and retention of top employees. Would you have voted for the bill? Why or why not? Would you vote for its repeal?
I believe that local government knows best what works in their communities. Local government is closest to the citizens that they serve. I would not have voted forHB600 for those reasons.
5.) If the Supreme Court overturns Roe vs. Wade, will you vote to make abortion illegal in Tennessee? If yes, does that mean that women who have abortions, or doctors who perform them, should be charged as criminals? What would be an appropriate jail sentence for a 20-year-old University of Tennessee student who has an abortion?
I believe that the life of a child begins at conception and that the sanctity of life should be protected.
6.) Many observers (including those of us at Metro Pulse) believe the state Legislature this year spent a lot of time fighting over political wedge issues like collective bargaining and Stacey Campfield's "Don't Say Gay" bill, which are likely to have little actual effect on the economy or lives of Tennesseans. Do you agree, or do you agree with Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey that this was a successful and productive legislative session? If so, can you name its major accomplishments? Would you hope that next year's session is a lot like this one, or different? If different, how?
The Tennessee Legislature made tremendous progress this past year toward improving public education. The Legislature passed legislation improving Tennessee's business climate by revising the state's civil justice system. The General Assembly passed an increase in exemptions for the Hall Income Tax, a burden that is disproportionately borne by our state's seniors.
I would hope that the second half of the 107th General Assembly will continue to focus on initiatives that support Tennessee businesses, reduce government regulation and address educational excellence for all Tennessee children.
7.) Tennessee is contending with two drug epidemics right now: methamphetamine and abuse of prescription opiates like oxycontin and methadone. What can or should the state government do in terms of prevention, interdiction, or treatment in those two specific cases?
Prevention: Add pseudoephedrine to the Prescription Monitoring Database to allow law enforcement to monitor and identify excessive purchasing by individuals. Add federal law enforcement to other law enforcement agencies having access to the Prescription Monitoring Database.
Interdiction: Support oversight and enforcement of recently passed legislation requiring certification of pain management clinics' operation and ownership and allowing inspection and investigation. Require TennCare providers to utilize the Prescription Monitoring Database when prescribing controlled substances. Hold state physician and dental licensing boards accountable for providers who overprescribe opiate medications.
Treatment: Require managed care organizations to approve inpatient treatment for a primary diagnosis of opiate addiction, one of the most pernicious and difficult to treat addictions. Raise caps on inpatient stays for opiate addiction treatment.
8.) Can you read, write, or speak any language other than English? (Even partial proficiency counts, but please indicate your level of ability.)
I can read, write and speak French, but I am very out of practice. I studied the language for five years prior to college and for two years in college.
9.) People often talk about Tennessee as a "low tax" state, but it actually has the highest sales tax rate in America. Given that sales taxes are regressive—they hurt poor people more than the affluent—do you see that as a problem? Are there any items or categories you would add to the list of things exempt from the sales tax?
Nutritional foodstuffs should be exempt from Tennessee sales tax.
10.) Coal-industry supporters have so far blocked legislative action against mountaintop removal mining in Tennessee. Would you vote to ban the practice here? Why or why not?
Mountaintop removal mining is not appropriate on state and federally owned lands in Tennessee. The lands that are owned by our citizens and that have been set aside for future generations should not be used in this manner.