As a mother and grandmother, I understand the importance of education. Our children are a very precious part of our lives, and our role as parents is one of our most meaningful responsibilities. Our duty is to equip them with the knowledge they need to succeed in and improve our world, and our school system must be able to meet this essential task. I will leverage my experience as a former President of the Cedar Bluff Parents Teacher School Association to prioritize our education system through responsible budgeting and forward thinking curriculums.
My experience has shown me that an undervalued aspect of education is the importance of input from the local community. Part of putting students first is making sure parents, teachers, and local school boards are empowered to make the best decisions. We must ensure that teacher compensation stays competitive so local school districts can recruit and retain the quality teachers our children need and deserve. We must equip our schools to prepare students for our changing technological economy. We must offer our students training in vocational fields to fill the technical skills gap. All of this must be done with steadfast accountability to taxpayers and students.
As a parent, spouse, and self employed contractor, I know the importance of keeping a responsible budget. As a fiscal conservative, I want to eliminate wasteful spending and keep taxes low so that we can maximize Tennessee’s economy. Keeping taxes low means keeping money in your pocket, increasing your wages, and growing every Tennessean’s opportunity to financially prosper. I will not support an increase in sales taxes on gas or groceries. I will not support an income tax or any attempt to halt the elimination of the Hall's tax.
No person, family, or business can succeed financially if it doesn’t control how much it spends, and the same is true for our government. I will fight to eliminate all harmful and wasteful expenses in our state budget. Reigning in wasteful spending is a vital step in making sure Tennessee continues to have a stable and vibrant economy. This could lead to a lowering of the tax burden, a policy which helps those most in need in a real significant way and grows our middle class.
Republicans have created a Rainy-Day Fund that is estimated to have nearly 1.2 billion dollars in it, and we should continue to be good stewards because as we have seen with the current economic situation, there are a number of factors in which we will need a rainy day fund to help with unforeseen circumstances.
Economic Growth and Job Creation
Through my experience as a Realtor, I have seen firsthand how important a strong economy and job market is to a family’s quality of life and happiness. I believe that our economy works best when the government does not create unneeded hurdles. For that reason, I will work hard to eliminate unnecessary regulations that stifle the ability of entrepreneurs to create the high quality jobs and growth which helps make the American Dream a reality.
It is important to support an environment that allows private business and job creation to flourish, but we cannot do this through corporate welfare which takes money from workers and small businesses to subsidize big corporations. Consumers, not politicians, are the ones who should have the say in the marketplace.
Part of economic growth is making sure we prioritize investment in essential infrastructure to support current and future development.
The Opioid Epidemic
The opioid problem is a serious issue that has affected many families across Tennessee and in west Knoxville. Tennessee has taken steps in the right direction to reduce the consequences of this health crisis. I will continue to make this a priority so we reduce the harm of opioids while making sure patients who are suffering have options to help relieve their unbearable pain.
As a Republican who is proud of my party, I will support the principles which our founders expressed in the Bill of Rights that continue to make our nation great. This included protecting our right to self defense as stated in the 2nd amendment. I will also steadfastly protect every Americans’ right to free speech and religion. The free expression of one’s beliefs is one of the most fundamental rights, and it is the foundation for all social and scientific progress.
One of the most shocking violations of our liberties is civil asset forfeiture. Under these laws, Tennessee government agents are able to permanently seize and keep any individual’s property without a criminal conviction or even charging them with a crime. Innocent victims of this terrible practice must sue the government and prove their innocence to get their stolen property back. We must restore Tennesseans’ property rights and the legal standard of innocent until proven guilty. I will continue the work of State Representative Martin Daniel to reform civil asset forfeiture in our state.
Our immigrant population has been one of America's greatest assets. Our nation was built in part by immigrants who came to America looking for opportunity and freedom and found it by embracing our ideals and way of life. Unfortunately, illegal immigration has become a problem because the federal government now offers welfare instead of opportunity. It is important that we follow our current immigration laws. When I join the state legislature, I will steadfastly oppose policies such as sanctuary cities.
Faith, Values, and Life
My husband of over 30 years and I are blessed to have been raised by families who instilled in us the importance of faith and a strong moral character. As we raised our three sons, we want to instill these same values in them. Those values of faith and life are even more important now that we have a beautiful granddaughter whose life is so precious.
Recently, we have witnessed government directed shutdowns that have severely disrupted the lives of faith based communities. Government should not interfere with our churches and community organizations. Families and individuals know how to best uphold the values of our community, and the government needs to get out of their way. As your State Representative, I will fight to uphold our values by protecting life and ending taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood. It’s time to restore and promote faith, family, and community.
Due to government overreach and regulations, healthcare costs are rising too high. More government, including the expansion of Medicaid, will only make these costs go higher. We have seen first hand the many unnecessary disruptions that excessive regulation in healthcare has caused during the COVID pandemic. Governments across the country temporarily suspended these harmful regulations to allow patients to get the care they deserve and first responders the equipment they needed. I will support efforts to make these improvements permanent.
We need to look at market driven solutions that provide better service while lowering the cost of care. I will continue efforts to make healthcare pricing more transparent to the public. This reform will empower patients to make better choices, and it will foster the healthy market competition which drives quality up and forces prices down. I will also work to make price-friendly options such as direct primary care more available.
Paid for by Committee to Elect Gina Oster, Treasurer, Gaylynn Alsop