The Constitution sets only three qualifications for a person to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives. A person must be 25 years of age, a U.S. citizen for at least seven years and a resident of the state from which one is chosen. With 2010 upon us, all 435 U.S. House of Representative seats are up for election. I am one of the candidates for Congress in Tennessee's Third Congressional District, subject to the Republican primary. I ask you to consider my background and qualifications for office beyond the Constitutionally-mandated requirements and I believe you will agree, I'm not your typical politician.
I am 46 years old, a native-born Tennessean who grew up in the Third District and hold a Bachelor of Science degree in Government and Public Administration. My wife and I have been married for 21 years and have three children. My grandparents were small business owners and farmers. My father worked for a local manufacturing company, preached and sold real-estate after he retired. My mother is a retired public school teacher. One of my brothers owns a small business and another works for a local bank. I am middle-class and a member of the Church of Christ.
After college, I served as a patrolman with the Cleveland Police Department. In early 1989, I was hired as a special agent with the United States Secret Service where I served our nation for the next 15 years by protecting the President, Vice President, candidates for the office of president and vice president, foreign leaders visiting the United States and the integrity of our nation's financial system.
In 2002, I was elected as an at-large member of the Cleveland, Tennessee City Council where I developed a record of promoting community and economic development, top-quality public education, safe streets and neighborhoods and efficient city services.
In 2004, I was appointed director of the Cleveland/Bradley County Emergency Management Agency.
In 2006, I was elected sheriff of Bradley County with 85% of the vote, where I developed a record of being tough on crime, protecting citizens, supporting deputies and managing resources effectively.
Combined, these experiences uniquely qualify me to represent your interests in Congress and clearly distinguishes me from other candidates in this race, especially in three critically important areas. These areas are:
(1) I have a clear record of supporting jobs and economic development.
As a Cleveland City Councilman, I worked as part of a team to help bring jobs to our region voted in support of two major regional retail shopping developments that brought in many businesses and helped create hundreds of jobs for our city. I was part of the team that promoted and voted for tax relief for a major local manufacturer, which helped them expand operations and bring more jobs and investments to our area. I reduced city government bureaucracy and held the line on taxes by helping lead the fight to defeat a proposed "storm water" tax on individuals and businesses. And I voted to fund the local Economic Development Council of the Chamber of Commerce, to help recruit additional jobs to our area.
With this proven record, you can count on me to work hard in Congress to help bring good jobs to our district. I will support the Technology Corridor concept and continue to work as a team to recruit business and industry to our area, building on past successes. I will work to improve and expand infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, waterways, the Chickamauga lock and power transmission capabilities, creating jobs and opportunity. I will support a cost efficient and effective TVA and Department of Energy to help meet our nation's growing energy demand while reducing our dependence on foreign oil.
In this same category, I have a record and will continue to support quality public education, which plays a key role in workforce development, enabling us to compete more effectively in the global marketplace and prepare our children for the jobs of the future.
(2) I have a clear record of solving problems while successfully managing public budgets, reducing wasteful government spending, reducing government bureaucracy and saving taxpayer money.
As a Secret Service agent, I worked and managed various operations in a way that accomplished the mission in an effective sustained manner, receiving recognition from superiors for my efforts.
As a city councilman, I helped formulate a large-scale and balanced public budget that met citizen expectations for city services and educational opportunities without a property tax increase.
As sheriff, I have prepared and efficiently managed multi-million dollar public budgets and saved budgeted money yearly, returning over $600,000 in savings to the taxpayers. Additionally, Sheriff's Office operations bring in approximately $4.2 million annually, off-setting our operational expenditures by one-third, further saving taxpayer money. During my tenure as sheriff, I eliminated top-heavy management positions, streamlined operations and shifted resources to the field where we were more effective in reducing crime, saving lives and saving money. Every year, under my leadership, the Sheriff's Office has received favorable state audits and no tax increase was required or even a percentage of the General Fund allotted to the Sheriff's Office to meet our goals. Under my leadership, outside experts rated the Sheriff's Office as one of the most effective and efficient operations in the nation.
With the total national debt of $12 trillion and an annual federal budget deficit of $1.5 trillion, it is vital new members of Congress know how to effectively manage public money, streamline government, hold the line on taxes, reduce bureaucracy and make government work for you.
A recent editorial in the Chattanooga Times Free Press quoted a government study identifying almost $100 billion per year in wasteful government spending. Another recent article identified billions of tax dollars lost every year to criminals who defraud the government and its programs. As a nation, we often waste billions in foreign aid and unnecessary government spending, getting little in return for the citizens of our nation.
In Congress, I will work with others to identify ways to save money by streamlining government and reducing duplication of services. I will work as I have in the past to eliminate bureaucracy, reduce top-heavy management and overall government spending by approximately 20% to help reduce the deficit and get government spending under control. I will work to preserve Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare and will work to reduce fraud and abuse in these and other government programs, to help save billions. I will not support continued taxpayer bailouts and bonuses of private enterprise unless there is a compelling national security reason to do so. I will support reasonable health care reform making it more affordable and cost-effective for all and I will support a balanced budget amendment and work to more closely limit the federal government to its Constitutionally-mandated duties.
I have signed the Tax-Payer Protection Pledge and will not support tax increases on the hard-working men and women of our nation. We already pay between 40 and 50 percent of our income in state, local and federal taxes and fees. Government doesn't need more money, it needs to manage it more effectively by prioritizing its services and reduce wasteful spending. I will work with others to accomplish these goals.
(3) I have a clear record of protecting citizens and their freedoms by enhancing national security, homeland security and public safety.
As a Secret Service agent, I had the opportunity to serve our nation at the highest level in both protective and investigative assignments. During this service, I gained an understanding and good working knowledge of domestic and global threats facing our nation, including the constant threat of terrorism and the potential of nuclear attack from enemy states, rogue nations or determined terrorist organizations. During my Secret Service career, I gained a good working knowledge of national and international affairs and through extensive travel, achieved a good understanding of America's leadership role in the world. My duties required me to develop working partnerships with high-ranking local, state, and federal officials, members of the White House staff, Congressional staff, other law enforcement/public safety officials, representatives of the news media, military officials, foreign dignitaries and their staffs, Secret Service employees and others. Many duties often involved difficult problems of negotiation, planning and coordination, and required innovation, resourcefulness, good judgment and problem solving skills. It was important to maintain a team approach to planning, organizing, directing, and controlling the operations and remain sensitive to a wide variety of issues and interests. Depending on the assignment. I assumed leadership, supervision and coordination of numerous combined government personnel and assets. Many duties involved domestic and international law enforcement considerations, and/or the protection of National Special Security Events such as political conventions, United Nations General Assemblies and U.S. Olympic Games. My duties required me to maintain a top-secret National Security Clearance.
In past U.S. Secret Service Employment Evaluations, I was rated "superior" by my supervisor in three areas directly relevant to the work which will be required of me as a member of Congress. They were, (1) the ability to work and deal effectively with individuals and groups; showing tact and diplomacy; responding appropriately to the needs, feelings and capabilities of others; and managing conflict and confrontation by working to resolve problem's to everyone's mutual satisfaction. (2) The ability to analyze problems and recommend solutions by reasoning clearly and objectively defining issues; weighing alternatives; and making logical judgments. (3) The ability to negotiate and influence others, negotiating mutually acceptable solutions, developing networks and coalitions, and building consensus through give and take.
Having worked closely with members of the U.S. Military, including Explosive Ordinance Disposal teams, the White House Military Office, the Presidential Contingency Program Office, the White House Communications Agency, U.S. Coast Guard and members of the U.S. Marine Corps and Air Force personnel operating aircraft utilized to move the President, Vice President, Secret Service, White House staff and other U.S. Government assets around the world, I gained a deep and abiding respect for the "can do" spirit of those in the armed forces and will support them fully in their missions as a member of Congress.
As sheriff, I worked to ensure the safety and security of a county population approaching 100,000 people from crime, violence and other potential threats. I have a record of fighting hard to support those who risk their lives in service to others and am proud to have supported better vehicles, equipment and pay for our local deputies so they could properly protect citizens and have the livable wage they deserve for their sacrifice and service. As sheriff, I have gained an even greater understanding of the public safety and national security consequences of uncontrolled mass illegal immigration into this country and have taken action to help with the problem. I have been responsible for identifying and deporting at present 114 illegal aliens who have committed other crimes inside Bradley County. I am a strong supporter of a citizen's 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms for personal protection and self defense. My support of citizens was recognized by the NRA in the November 2008 edition of the American Rifleman. Having served as a sheriff, I know and have seen first hand the difficulties and challenges many middle class, poor and destitute families endure. When poverty, drugs, violence, lack of jobs, domestic abuse, child abuse, lack of educational opportunities, lack of affordable health care and other problems are not addressed, we all suffer for it. In Congress, I will reasonably work with others to find help for those in need and who truly desire a better life and opportunity.
I have served as a member of the District III Homeland Security Council, a member of the 911 Communications Board and have received high-level executive development training from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
As a former Emergency Management Director, I know and understand the importance of government being prepared to protect others and help people survive a wide variety of man-made or natural disasters.
As you decide who you will support in the up-coming election for Congress, I hope you will vote for someone who is uniquely qualified, with a proven history of working with people in public service to solve problems and find reasonable, common-sense solutions to the challenges we face. I hope you will consider my background, qualifications and experience. I'm not your typical politician. By working together, we can keep our nation strong and have a bright and healthy future.
I humbly ask for your support and vote.
Candidate for Congress TN-03