I recently filled out a candidate survey on www.ballotpedia.com. Here are the questions and my answers.
Who are you? Tell us about yourself in 300 words or less.
I was born and raised in the northeastern corner of the great state of Tennessee. I was a member of the Boy Scouts of America. My first job was washing dishes in a small hometown restaurant called The Dutch Maid. I later moved up in the world to Bob's Car Wash and received a huge wage of $1 per hour.
I am also a veteran who served in the 101st Airborne Division of the United States Army. I volunteered soon after turning 18 years of age, and went through basic training at Fort Knox, Kentucky and later transferred to Fort Campbell, which is on the border of Tennessee and Kentucky.
I am an accomplished writer with two pieces of fiction and four non-fiction titles to my credit. I also wrote and published my autobiography called No One Walks Alone, where I chronicle my issues with depression, anxiety, and addiction. I reside in Johnson City, Tennessee.
I am a Christian with a strong faith in God, and concern for people, especially the poor and ignored people. I want to be a voice for those who often do not have a voice.
Please list below 3 key messages of your campaign. What are the main points you want voters to remember about your goals for your time in office?
I want to be a voice for the poor and ignored people in society.
I want to bring integrity and honesty to the office.
I am in favor of the 2nd Amendment. All citizens have a right to bear arms unless they have a history of violence and crime.
What areas of public policy are you personally passionate about?
Our health care system is broken, and we need to fix it. I am in favor of a single-payer health care coverage for everyone.
It is a shame that our rich nation has such lousy health care. Our citizens deserve much better than what they are getting. No more families going bankrupt because of high medical bills. No more people dying because they cannot afford to get the treatment they need.
I believe in workers' rights. Everyone working a full-time job in America deserves to earn a wage high enough to support their family. This is not asking a lot, just working our way back to the American Dream that used to exist in America.
I am in favor of legalizing marijuana. This natural plant is not the demon some fear-mongers make it out to be. Scientists have proven that it has medicinal uses. Cancer patients and those with anxiety have found that it can be useful, among others. Let's get out of the Stone Age and legalize this plant that can
relieve suffering for many Tennesseans.
Who do you look up to? Whose example would you like to follow, and why?
I would like to follow the lead of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He was a great man who cared about people. He lived and died for what was right and decent. We need more Americans like him.
Is there a book, essay, film, or something else you would recommend to someone who wants to understand your political philosophy?
Study the lives of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mother Teresa, who is now Saint Teresa. They are my heroes.
What characteristics or principles are most important for an elected official?
An elected official should care about his constituents, not just about looking good on TV.
What qualities do you possess that you believe would make you a successful officeholder?
I am determined to do what is right. I am honest and dependable.
What do you believe are the core responsibilities for someone elected to this office?
To follow the constitution of the United States and to do all he/she can to serve the common good.
What legacy would you like to leave?
I would like to be known as someone who loved people and tried to be a productive member of society.
What is the first historical event that happened in your lifetime that you remember? How old were you at the time?
I remember when John F. Kennedy was assassinated. I was eight years old at the time.
What was your very first job? How long did you have it?
My first job was washing dishes in a hometown restaurant.
What is your favorite book? Why?
The Holy Bible
What is something that has been a struggle in your life?
What qualities does the U.S. House of Representatives possess that makes it unique as an institution?
The House represents the people and makes laws that are good for us all. At least that is the goal.
Do you believe that it's beneficial for representatives to have previous experience in government or politics?
It can be helpful but not essential. Our president is a fine example. He had no experience in politics, but now he runs the country.
What do you perceive to be the United States’ greatest challenges as a nation over the next decade?
Our greatest challenge at this time is to overcome the great divide we now have. Tolerance of diverse opinions is in short supply. We also need to put integrity back in politics.
If you are not a current representative, are there certain committees that you would want to be a part of?
I want to be part of anything that helps the ignored and forgotten people in our country. They need a voice.
If you are a current representative, why did you join your current committees?
Do you believe that two years is the right term length for representatives?
It seems to be working.
What are your thoughts on term limits?
I believe there should be term limits. I am not in favor of career politicians.
If you are not currently a member of your party’s leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives, would you be interested in joining the leadership? If so, in what role?
Perhaps. Time will tell.
Is there a particular representative, past or present, whom you want to model yourself after?
None comes to mind.
Both sitting representatives and candidates for office hear many personal stories from the residents of their district. Is there a story that you’ve heard that you found particularly touching, memorable, or impactful?
I have heard the stories of many addicts and alcoholics who have been through hell, sometimes losing everything worthwhile. I have also witnessed the recovery of many of them, and it thrills me to see them recover and become useful citizens.