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Friday, June 22, 2018

Faison/Fodness debate
The two candidates for the Republican nomination for the Tennessee House from the Eleventh District met Thursday evening for a 90 minute debate. The event was hosted by the Cocke County Republican Party and the Greene County Young Republicans. Four-term incumbent Jeremy Faison will face political newcomer Greg Fodness in the August 2 primary. With regard to medical marijuana, Faison is a strong proponent, but Fodness opposes it's medical use. He sponsored legislation to legalize medicinal marijuana telling the audience " we've been lied to for over 80 years in America about the benefits of that plant. It offers a number of benefits that have been proven scientifically." Faison said he wants sick people to have the benefits of this product that is grown in a safe and controlled environment." The lawmaker said he is opposed to recreational marijuana use or the availability of marijuana that can be smoked. "I have met countless Tennesseans who are alive today because of that plant." "Does that mean we would have growers right her? Absolutely, but that also would mean jobs that start at $25 an hour. And would be regulated by the Departments of Agriculture and Safety." But Fodness argued that the THC level of marijuana cannot be regulated. While he is sympathetic to those who benefit from the use of medical marijuana, the candidate said: "you are going to have grow houses and dispensaries here in Tennessee within 300 feet of a church." And he argued the legalization would slow the growth of the state."You have people moving here because it is old-fashioned, it's family and church. Do we want this place to look like Colorado?" Fodness also argued that marijuana may "be sold out the back door...we can't even control opioids. And he said those who have a card to purchase marijuana legally currently are not allowed to have a gun permit. The two candidates, both small businessmen, agreed on a number of issues. Both said they are supporters of gun rights and support background checks. Fodness said he there should be a "backstop" to prevent those with a mental illness from having a concealed gun. Both also said they oppose a ban on assault rifles. Both candidates also argued against abortion, and both expressed strong stands against illegal immigrants. While Faison said he opposed the Improve Act which hiked the fuel tax to fund road building but Fodness said roads need to be improved to bring in more and better paying jobs. He said improving South Highway 321 to Gatlinburg at one time was "1 on the priority list, it now is ranked #14. Faison said he did vote for the Act after a provision was added to benefit disabled veterans. In a related issue, Faison said unemployment was high eight years ago but now is the lowest in history, with companies struggling to find employees who are educated. Both candidates also argued against in-state tuition for the children of illegal immigrants. Faison said he also voted against recognizing sanctuary cities, but Fodness said such a move was unnecessary because they already are illegal under federal law. With regard to education, Faison said local school boards can make better decisions than can Nashville or Washington, Fodness pointed to the recent issues with standardized testing in the state saying, it was poorly thought out. Faison said the state should simply use the ACT for testing. Although Faison pointed out that Tennessee education is vastly improved from several years ago, Fodness said the state remains the eighth least educated state in the country. Faison said he doesn't like vouchers which funnel taxpayer money to private schools. Although the Tennessee Promise and Reconnect programs are making education available for virtually everyone in the state. Fodness said he also opposes vouchers, but he doesn't like programs funded with lottery money because the funding is coming from the poorest people of the state. Fodness was critical of Faison who he said took Political Action Committee(PAK money. He argued that Faison accepting such contributions then will be beholden to the contributors. But Faison said the money he accepts comes back to his district. "I vote the way I want to. Noone has ever bought a vote from me." Fodness said he does not take PAC money. Fodness was critical of Faison who tried to help a registered sex offender to keep his job mowing the Union cemetery and around the Newport Community Center. Faison said the offender wore a GPS device and had worked and lived at the cemetery for several years before his probation officer said he could not be there because it was too close to a small city park. Faison said he had a back-and-forth discussion before the state officer said the man could continue to work, but then the state changed its mind and again said he was prohibited from working. "So do we force him to sit at home and collect welfare when he wants to work?," the lawmaker asked. Fodness said Faison should not have used his influence to help a sex offender who was convicted of raping a seven-year-old boy. He also said the offender was mowing grass at the community center where small children are wearing swimming suits. "The question is, why do we have a state representative who is trying to use the muscle of his office to get an exception for a guy who raped a seven year-old boy?"

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Friday, February 15, 2019

  • Wilson charges are certified
  • Gardner convicted of aggravated sexual battery of a child
  • TVA moves away from coal
  • Alexander and Roe support budget legislation

    Thursday, February 14, 2019

  • Cocke County schools closed on Friday
  • Students poorly prepared for college
  • TennCare expansion
  • STEM initiative
  • Cocke County Grand jury indicts several
  • Fine arrest

    Wednesday, February 13, 2019

  • Newport receives $950,0000 state grant
  • Cocke County education
  • Newport City Council
  • Newport City Council
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    Tuesday, February 12, 2019

  • Skimming arrests
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  • Jimtown fire

    Monday, February 11, 2019

  • DCS investigations
  • Efforts to restrict same sex marriage
  • UT Medical Center restricts visits
  • Gas prices move lower
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