Issues

Jobs and Business

The Governor and Tennessee Legislature have have made Tennessee one of the best financially managed states in the country with a business friendly, conservative philosophy. We are the fastest improving state in educational achievement while recording the lowest unemployment level in the state’s history. Tennesseans enjoy the lowest taxes as percentage of personal income in the nation. Tennessee also has the lowest debt per capita in the country. We have cut $570 million in taxes with a 30% reduction in the food tax, elimination of the gift and inheritance tax, and phasing out of the Hall Tax. The Rainy Day Fund is at the highest level ever and Tennessee receives a triple A bond rating from all the major credit agencies. I want to see Tennessee continue to prosper with conservative values, low taxes, and a business friendly environment.

 

Education

Tennessee must continue the strong commitment to education and support of our teachers and students. We have become the national envy for our progress and cannot step back. We have provided $1.5 billion new dollars for education with $500 million for increased teacher salaries. Nevertheless, our teachers are still underpaid and deserve additional resources to reach the national average. The rapid progress has also come at a cost with stress to teachers, students , and parents. TnReady testing has been a debacle and will have to be addressed. The amount of student testing and use of high stake tests have been questioned by the legislature and are under study. Teacher evaluations have not always been fair and caused a degree of demoralization. In spite of these challenges, Tennessee cannot step back from educational progress. Our students deserve the best preparation for the opportunities of the future.

 

Opiate Epidemic

The opioid epidemic has ravaged East Tennessee and is unquestionably the state’s most serious challenge. As a physician, Dr. Briggs understood the medical and human consequences of the opiate crisis but educators, business leaders, and constituents have pointed out the devastating effects across our state. Employers want to expand business but cannot find employees who test drug free. Children born to addicted mothers have behavioral and learning disabilities not responding to special education methods. Over 90% of the crime in our community relates back to opiate addiction and continues to increase. As a physician, Dr. Briggs has used his medical background to address the crisis. His legislation two years ago closed over half the “pill mills” in Tennessee by requiring strict pain medicine specialty certification for medical directors. In the 2018 legislative session, Senator Briggs’ Organized Retail Crime Bill anticipates removing over $200 million from the illicit drug trade and will return $14 million to the state treasury in stolen sales tax. Other legislation he supported will decrease the number of unused pain pills in medicine cabinets and will provide more funding for rehabilitation. The opiate crisis will not be solved overnight but will require a long and concerted effort by everyone.

 

Health Care

As a physician, Dr. Richard Briggs knows first hand the importance of good health. He has worked tirelessly to improve access to health care for the uninsured and for Tennesseans in underserved areas. Too many rural hospitals have closed and too many Tennesseans cannot afford health insurance and medication. He sponsored legislation every year addressing these issues. Tennesseans also have some of the highest death rates from heart attack, cancer, diabetes, and obesity. Only seven states have higher worker absentee rates due to physical illness than Tennessee. Senator Briggs sponsored legislation to address both the prevention and treatment aspects of these problems. In 2018, his STEMI (Heart Attack)Bill established a state-wide network for managing heart attacks to get patients to the proper medical facility as rapidly as possible. Health care remains a challenging problem that needs the continuing leadership of a medical professional.

 

Conservative Values

Senator Briggs has supported conservative values in the Tennessee Legislature with votes every year to balance the budget, cut taxes, and reduce government regulation. As a member of the Tennessee Chapter of The Right to Life, he supports not only the protection of the unborn but also the Right to Life for the whole life. He strongly opposes euthanasia and physician assisted suicide. Richard has a perfect voting record protecting constitutional 2nd Amendment Rights. Strong families are the basis of civilized society and are what make America great. Richard and his wife Stephanie have been married 45 years and enjoy time with his brother, nieces, and nephews, all of who live in the Knoxville area. Richard’s grand nieces, Lauren and Katelyn, and grand nephew, Brendan are helping in his campaign.