Variety in the Valley: House District 89 battle

Justin Lafferty – Republican incumbent

• What are three of the most pressing needs of the 89th District, and/or Knoxville metro area, and/or the state, and how are you going to help solve the issues?

COVID-19: Our hearts go out to all that have lost a loved one. It has disrupted everything. Schools impacted, suicides have increased, drug and alcohol abuse has increased and we still don’t know the full impact on the economy. Businesses have closed forever, owners are using their life savings to hang on and feed their families. Employees have been let go or had hours reduced. Homeowners and renters have had their mortgages and rents in forbearance for months. And the new work from home culture will likely impact commercial real estate. As this continues to play out let’s remember to be patient with one another and demonstrate the grace we could all stand to receive in this difficult time.

Growing pains: Prepandemic Knoxville and the state were growing. We are still doing pretty good. People come here because they are leaving states where the taxes are high and they can’t find jobs. Growth is good but it does come with headaches. Namely crowded schools and insufficient infrastructure.

An idea I recently shared with the governor’s advisors is to temporarily freeze or at least reduce the taxpayer funded handouts used to entice corporations to move here. Sounds crazy right. Consider it. We have grown so much so fast our infrastructure needs to catch up.

The dollars subsidizing corporate relocations could be put into roads and schools. Organic growth will still take place because we are a low-tax, business friendly state. Those high tax states, they have not changed their ways. We will continue to prosper.

Mental health: A decade ago the state shut down several mental health facilities. Some who abuse drugs and alcohol have underlying mental health issues. Instead of going to facilities designed to address those issues we are filling up our jails with folks that need treatment. Our hospitals regularly receive patients with mental health problems.

They wait days, sometimes weeks for a bed at a mental health facility. I will continue to support initiatives that recognize the need to keep people out of jail and stop crowding our emergency rooms. Mental health is not a crime and it is time, as a state, we admit our mistake.”

Lafferty’s beliefs include: “Our Constitution is one of the greatest documents ever produced by man. It laid the groundwork for everything we enjoy today. Things many seem to take for granted. Personal liberty, economic prosperity, freedom of association, freedom of religion, property rights and the rule of law.

“... Somehow we have allowed politicians, for decades, to convince us that if we just vote for them, they will make all of our lives better.

“And yet here we are, at each other’s throat as if somehow this time it will be different.”