Sherrell talks about his plans, initiatives for upcoming session of Tennessee General Assembly
By Rima Austin | January 7, 2019 7:04 am
The Tennessee General Assembly will convene in Nashville, on Jan. 8, and it is back to work for State Representative Paul Sherrell after the holidays.
Sherrell and his team plan to address many issues plaguing the state such as education, health care, job growth, and criminal justice reform.
Sherrell stated he didn’t know which committee he will be assigned to when he gets to the assembly. Last year, Sherrell served on the health committee and the criminal justice committee. When asked which agenda means more to him going into the session, Sherrell eluded to the fact that all the subjects were just as important as the next one.
“You know, our students having a good education is very important,” said Sherrell. “Everybody wants to have good health care, and, of course, we want to continue with our job growth. Which one is more important than the other?”
When asked about whether or not he is on board with Governor-elect Bill Lee’s platform about preparing high school students with job skills, Sherrell said he agreed with the direction Lee is going.
“Getting the vocational training will be a great, vital part in Tennessee because we have the need for so much of that as far as job growth,” said Sherrell. “We just need to try to put more emphasis into the vocational part. I believe his agenda and what he is trying to do there will be great for the state of Tennessee.”
The flowing is a list of the issues and initiatives Sherrell and his staff plan to address during the upcoming legislative session.
-While Tennessee has moved from near the bottom to the middle of the pack in recent years, we have more work ahead to continue improving Tennessee’s education system.
-We will continue to invest in our teachers and schools because they help shape the future leaders of this state.
Every child must have an opportunity to achieve their academic goals and dreams in a safe, excellent school.
-Last year, we approved recommendations made by a working group on school safety in efforts to better protect our students, teachers, and officials during school hours.
-We will continue to identify solutions to better protect our schools — including allocating resources to help academic institutions across our state secure School Resource Officers (SROs).
-We will also work to identify additional ways we can improve access to work-based, and vocational instruction, as well as technical training opportunities — especially in our rural communities.
-This will ensure current and future members of our workforce are prepared for the next wave of quality jobs on their way to Tennessee.
-Tennessee has the lowest debt and taxes of any state in the entire nation.
-The average median household income is growing at the second fastest rate in the entire southeast.
-Since 2011, more than 400,000 new jobs have been created.
-Current unemployment rates remain near historic low levels (3.6 percent statewide as of November 2018).
-Additionally, the Department of Labor reported that rates in all 95 counties decreased near the end of 2018.
-We will continue to reduce taxes and eliminate burdensome regulations that hinder job growth and economic opportunity in communities across our state.
-This will continue to create jobs and enable Tennessee to remain an attractive destination to live, to work, and to raise a family.
-We all agree we must improve access to and the quality of care Tennesseans receive while also lowering patient costs.
-This can be done through patient-centered reforms, increasing competition, and pricing transparency, and without interference from the government or insurance providers.
-Every day in our state, at least three people die from opioid-related overdoses. This is more than our daily number of traffic fatalities.
-While recent numbers from the Department of Health indicate we are making some progress — especially with deaths attributed specifically to painkillers (down for the first time in five years last year) — fentanyl deaths continue to increase.
-This is likely the next phase of the ongoing crisis that we must address if we are finally going to break the cycle of addiction here in Tennessee.
-We will accomplish this goal by continuing to support our law enforcement communities, backing faith-based and recovery facilities, and making additional investments in the areas of mental health and substance abuse.
-This will guarantee our workforce remains strong and our state continues to remain open for business.
Criminal justice reform:
-We need a system of justice that meets present day standards, not those of 30 years ago.
-This system must have fair sentencing as it relates to the type of crime committed.
-It must also have sentencing consistency.
-The focus must remain on preparing those who desire to re-enter society to become productive citizens.
-These modifications will further reduce statewide recidivism rates, save taxpayer dollars, and improve safety within our communities.