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.
I retired to Tennessee from the Air Force in 1999. I moved here for two reasons. First, conservative values, and second, low taxes. I like to say, I voted with my feet. This is the key to the state government’s role in economic development. Business and industry, like people, will seek out the location that provides maximum benefit. At the state level, we can draw job producing businesses and industry by continuing low taxes, cut through burdensome regulations that tend to strangle business, and implement common sense education policies that will result in an educated and motivated work force.
What particular regulations of abortion would you support or oppose and why?
I spent seven and a half years of my Air Force career teaching at Air University in Montgomery, AL. During that time, my wife and I were actively involved with Right to Life and spent a considerable amount of time in front of abortion clinics. We learned that there is no such thing as a “safe” abortion and that in Alabama, barber shops were more regulated than abortion clinics. Thus, I would support legislation to regulate abortion clinics the same as any other medical facility. I support counseling and parental notification. I would have to read any proposed regulations, but I cannot think of any I would oppose. I know that at its core, this is not about privacy, or any other high-minded ideal; it is about a lucrative industry that kills.
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.
I strongly believe the primary and ultimate responsibility for the education of children rests with parents. I spent twelve years in the classroom (AFJROTC) following my retirement from the Air Force, and I know from this experience my best students were the ones whose parents were engaged in their education. Furthermore, these students had strong moral values they acquired in their homes. On the other hand, I had very many students whose parents were neither engaged nor interested in their education. This presents a dilemma about how to meet the needs of students in this situation. The federal government must get out of the education business. Every federal program I worked with failed and seemed to be crafted by detached bureaucrats justifying their jobs (e.g., No Child Left Behind). Moreover, much that comes from the federal level seems to be more interested in indoctrination than education, not to mention problems with textbooks that essentially rewrite American History. The state level is little better. The most recent push has been in “Common Core” and testing and test scores. First, Common Core is one more federal program that I believe will not achieve any meaningful results, and the results it will achieve are likely to be far from what we would hope for. Second, testing takes away from valuable teaching time and, in some cases, does not produce a truly meaningful measurement of responsibility. Every community is different and every student is different, and we must find the right “fit” for each and every student, and that will not come from either Nashville or Washington.
What is one of the most satisfying things you have ever accomplished and what made it so satisfying to you?
Four hears ago, one of my former cadets called me and said that he was graduating from MTSU and had gone through the ROTC program. He said that since I was the one who influenced him in the direction he had chosen, he wanted me to come and commission him. This had a profound effect on me and my attitude regarding my position as a teacher, and the tremendous influence I have on my students. This was my first student to graduate from college and be commissioned in the military. My sense of pride in this young man and his achievement was as great as that which I feel for my own children. There have been many others who have gone on to meaningful and productive lives that give back to the community, and I feel the same sense of pride in their achievements. I have written and published books and articles, and traveled the world, but my students are my greatest source of pride.
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?
In my career, I have done many things from antiterrorism to managing multi-million dollar classified budgets to teaching high school. Thus, I believe I have a wealth of diverse experience to apply to every situation. However, I cannot escape a passage of Scripture I memorized many years ago. “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts, boast of this that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for I delight in these things, declares the Lord” (Jeremiah 9:23-24). This is my bottom line: I do know the Lord Jesus Christ, and every decision will be based on my relationship with Him. I will be answerable to my constituents while in office, but I will always be answerable to God.