Role of Government

There is a role for government, but it should be limited. Far too often, people look to the government to “fix” problems. Unfortunately, those in government often believe they have the answers. 

It is the responsibility of the government to fund critical things, such as public infrastructure. This includes the development of roads, construction of municipal buildings and so forth. These are essential public needs that we cannot financially support as individuals. 

However, there is a limit to what the government should do. 

Politicians will frequently talk about economic development, but I think it’s important for people to understand that the role of the government is not to create jobs. Instead, the government should establish and foster an environment that equips individuals to invest capital and start, expand and grow business. That’s what creates jobs.


This “easy” question is, at times, the most difficult question I get.  I ran for office to make a difference in Tennessee — not just to be a voice in state government, but to take action on behalf of the people in my district.  I wanted to be the individual people could call upon.  An individual who stands up for the beliefs of the people at home, someone who acts in Nashville the same way he talks at home.

I think I’ve done that.  Granted, without question, there are people who do not agree with my political viewpoints, but I have always listened to their viewpoint and respected their perspective.

Northeast Tennessee

Sometimes, we take it for granted – myself included.  We live in an incredible part of the country, and one of the most beautiful areas of Tennessee.  If you’ve lived here for any length of time, it’s sometimes easy to overlook the mountains, streams and rivers. Our region is a stunning mosaic of natural resources and beauty, and at times we just don’t appreciate all we have.

There are other things we too often take for granted — our schools and infrastructure, for example.  Here in East Tennessee, our schools are strong and our infrastructure is good.  Yes, there is work to do, but in so many other regions, people wake up forced to send their kids to failing schools.

As a state we have a balanced budget, no road debt, and fully funded state pension plans (creating zero liability for taxpayers).  Most of us in state government “get it.”  And by “it” I mean that government does not create jobs; people do — by investing capital and committing resources.


I’ve been blessed with many opportunities and experiences in my life. I’ve also had many “careers” that have run concurrently. In 1993, I started a public relations and marketing agency in Bristol, Tennessee, that I continue to lead today. I spent 29 years in the Navy Reserve, a career in which I was selected a commanding officer, or “CO,” to seven units. In my legislative role, I’ve been involved in the leadership of the House Republican Caucus, serving as floor leader and chairman of the Civil Justice Committee. In the Senate I’ve served as Vice Chairman of the Judiciary and Commerce Committees and currently serve as Chairman of the Education Committee.

So, what is leadership? Simply put, I believe it comes down to determining the direction, setting the tone and being the leading example. The book of Proverbs says it best: “Where there is no vision, the people perish.


Family is the cornerstone of my life. My wife, Lisa, and I have been married for 30 years and we have two children: Samantha and Nelson. I am exceptionally proud of my family. I believe Lisa and I have set the tone for our household by upholding standards that are based on integrity, faith and a firm set of values.

Notice the role that government plays in our family — none. That’s because I don’t believe government should have a role in parenting. Most of my core beliefs are rooted in letting families make the best decisions for themselves. Whether it’s choosing a school to attend or selecting a place of worship, personal decisions should be made by families, not the government.