Michele Reneau Says Rep. Patsy Hazlewood Votes With Democrats On Big Issues

  • Sunday, June 16, 2024
  • Hannah Campbell
Michele Reneau
Michele Reneau
photo by Jim Robbins

Michele Reneau told the Chattanooga Civitan Club Friday that District 27 needs “fresh eyes” and that State Rep. Patsy Hazlewood, who was first elected in 2014, has served her time.

Ms. Reneau will run against Rep. Hazlewood in the Republican Primary Aug. 1. Early voting is July 12 to July 27.

“We just need people who are in it right now, who are at ground level,” Ms. Reneau said.

The speaker said Rep. Hazlewood votes with Democrats on big issues. She founded HowPatsyVotes.com to track the representative’s voting record.

Ms. Reneau said Rep. Hazlewood voted to give undocumented immigrants in-state college tuition and she abstained from the vote for a bill that would require abortion clinics to inform patients that their chemical abortions may be reversed partway through the drug schedule.

Ms. Reneau said the question she is most often asked is, “How do we know you’re not going to turn into one of them?”

Ms. Reneau said she understands that people’s values are different within District 27, from Lookout Mountain through Red Bank and Soddy Daisy to Flat Top Mountain, and they all matter.

Ms. Reneau said Tennessee is at a crossroads that its own government may not recognize.

“The bigger government is, the more problems we create,” she said. “The need for community service and resources is at an all-time high."

Ms. Reneau’s Conservative Republican platform centers on Constitutional rights and families. She went on to say that creative, community-driven solutions can solve problems better than government can.

She pledges to bring the values of community service and civic engagement to government and to emphasize individual responsibility. She said she asks her five children, “What can you do about that?”

Ms. Reneau opposes state funding for the new Nissan Titans stadium in Nashville and the Ford electric vehicle and battery manufacturing plant near Memphis. She said projects like that should receive other incentives, but not “taxpayer cash.”

She said energetic auditing of organizations that do get government funds will prioritize Tennesseans. Nonprofits should fund themselves, she said, but some receive 50 percent of their funding from the state.

Ms. Reneau advocates a state cap on property tax hikes, citing Red Bank’s 52 percent increase last year, and also wants holds on county property reappraisals. She said 2025 reappraisals, at a high point in market growth, will prove artificial. Signs point to a recession, she said, but homeowners will be on the hook until the next reappraisal in 2029.

She cautioned against new state laws expanding surveillance and allowing anonymous tips to Child Protective Services.

“These are things that are dangerous to families,” she said.

Ms. Reneau said that enumerating so many new laws is beginning to infringe upon common law, and the General Assembly should slow down and more carefully consider the bills it writes.

Ms. Reneau founded food cooperative Weekly Fig in 2016 and worked with Tennessee legislators to pass a farm to consumer distribution point law in 2017, almost unanimously. The law makes it easier for consumers to find farmers and buy their food, without government regulations. Food freedom is an important aspect of Tennessee culture, she said.

A subsequent battle with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, who wanted to inspect the private membership association’s leased building, highlighted her concern that government is making private domain public.

“All of that was my intro to government overreach,” Ms. Reneau said.

Ms. Reneau is involved with Isaiah 117 House, a temporary foster care home at Chambliss Center for Children.

She is helping to raise the last $900,000 for Harvest Playground, an all-inclusive playground for children of all abilities. Construction on the $2 million project will begin in 2025 at Jack Benson Heritage Park in East Brainerd. Visit HarvestingInclusivePlay.com to buy a brick.

“Play is the most important work a child can do,” Ms. Reneau said.

“We have really grown to love Tennessee,” she said. “We think this is the best possible place we could raise our children.”

Other points:

Ms. Reneau praised the repeal of the alternative property measure of the franchise tax in Tennessee but said more should be done.

She said she doesn’t want limits on how many neighbors may speak against development plans at public meetings.

Ms. Reneau’s mother was a South Korean immigrant who followed legal pathways to citizenship.

“My mother always said the way out was education,” she said.

Ms. Reneau said schools should stick to teaching academic subjects, not life skills, and she supports vocational education.

From left are Corey Ballew, Ronald Wilson, Republican candidate for State House Michele Reneau, Jack Chrisman and Jim Robbins
From left are Corey Ballew, Ronald Wilson, Republican candidate for State House Michele Reneau, Jack Chrisman and Jim Robbins
photo by Neal Thompson
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