Thursday, July 22, 2010

James Chesser, Candidate for Tennessee's 21st District Senate seat

The following questionnaire has been submitted to both of the candidates running in the Republican primary seeking the nomination for Republican candidate for Tennessee's 21st Senatorial District. This seat is now held by Senator Doug Henry. Doug Henry is being challenged in the Democratic primary by Jeff Yarbro. Whoever wins the Republican primary on August 5 will face the Democratic nominee in November.

Tell me a little about yourself. Who are you? Where are you from? What do you do for a living? What is your educational background? Are you married? Tell me about any relevant church, community or political involvement. Do you have any political experience?

Please see my bio, found online at
See also my Facebook discussion board, “ 6 Specific Benefits You Will Receive By Voting For James”!/topic.php?uid=114874061865062&topic=153

Let me get the easy question out of the way first. Do you support a state income tax? Do you foresee any circumstances under which you could possibly support a state income tax?

I do not support a state income tax; and I do not foresee any imminent threat to the state—short of catastrophic natural disaster or national emergency—where such a tax would be warranted.

What do you see as the primary issues facing the State government? What policies do you advocate do deal with these issues?

JOBS & EDUCATION: I’m about jobs, and educating people to do jobs. International opportunities, such as Nissan, don’t happen all by themselves. For 25 years I’ve brought high-tech, well-paying jobs into our area from other countries. Prosperity and economic growth come through jobs.

LEADERSHIP & VISION: I have a vision for locally driven government: smaller, smarter and constitutional. My leadership experience in community, business, military, charity, and educational organizations will benefit everyone. Common people and common sense will have a greater voice. Through engaging and empowering more residents, volunteerism will grow, and government expenses will decrease. Let’s build a stronger community and more responsive government.

For more details on these and other issues including BUDGET, SMALLER GOVERNMENT, HEALTHCARE, IMMIGRATION, SENIORS etc. please see my Facebook Discussion pages!/topic.php?uid=114874061865062&topic=153 or website

This year the state legislature passed a bill allowing licensed gun permit holders to carry guns into bars. Despite an earlier attempt to draw a distinction between bars and restaurants, the final bill permits licensed gun permit holders to carry a gun into any establishment with a liquor license but would permit the owner of an establishment to prohibit guns on the premises of his or her establishment if the owner posts a prohibition. Would you have supported this bill?

Yes, I believe in the Bill of Rights in its entirety—including a deserved respect for the Second Amendment, our greatest insurance policy for individual liberty. I also believe, however, that the bill could have been improved with better drafting so as not to have divided so many of our residents and to have been constitutionally stronger.

Do you support the right to sell wine in grocery stores?


The Senate this year passed a resolution placing on the November ballot a proposed constitutional amendment to protect the right of Tennesseans to hunt and fish. The vote was 90 in favor and none opposed. Our constitution does not contain a constitutional right to hike, bird watch, swim, ski or watch football. The motivation for amending the constitution to protect the right to hunt and fish is fear that at some future time animal rights activist will try to ban hunting and fishing. Do you think our constitution should be amended to provide a constitutional right to hunt and fish? Would you have supported this measure?

Yes; after talking with Mike Butler, Executive Director of TWF, I believe that the amendment was researched and drafted so as not to create legal or constitutional problems for the state or landowners. The amendment is proactive in dealing with the possible encroachment of federal legislation into state residents’ rights to enjoy land and hunting & fishing rights in Tennessee.

This year the State Legislature passed a bill that would requires jailers to give information to Immigration and Customs Enforcement if an inmate’s citizenship status cannot be determined. Would you have supported this bill? What actions, if any, do you think the state of Tennessee should take to curtail or punish illegal immigration?

Yes. I believe that Sheriff Hall should be supported and that we should efficiently and quickly remove those who have cheated to be here, but that reasonable standards of fairness should be followed as provided in our state and federal Constitutions. See my Facebook page on this issue at!/topic.php?uid=114874061865062&topic=153

In response to the passage of Obamacare, which mandates that people purchase health insurance, the State Legislature almost passed the Tennessee Heath Care Act which says it is the public policy of this state that every person within this state is free to choose or decline to choose any health care services without penalty or threat of a penalty. Would you have supported this bill and if it comes back up next session will you support it?


In 1991 an addition to Tennessee’s Real Estate Transfer Tax was designated to conserve land for parks, wildlife areas, greenways, cleaner water, and to preserve the natural beauty of Tennessee. In 2003 and again in 2008, this “designated” fund was taken to help balance the State’s general budget. This year the funds were restored. Would you have supported restoration of this fund? More generally, do you think that when a tax is designated for a specific purpose that it is proper to take those funds and apply them to the general fund?

Yes. Absent, extraordinary circumstances or national emergencies, the state should do what it promises to do with collected funds.

What is your view of the coal mining technique referred to as "mountain top removal?" Would you support efforts to ban this mining technique or do you think our mining regulations are adequate?

I am against “mountain top removal”. I want to hear more from those who live closest to the problems created by this technique before commenting on our current state or federal regulations.

In this year’s gubernatorial campaign, several of the Republican Gubernatorial candidates have been critical of state environmental regulation in Tennessee and Lt. Governor Ramsey has proclaimed the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation “out of control.” Do you agree? In general what is your view of conservation and environmental protection?

I am not aware of information that indicates that our Department of Conservation is “out of control”. Within reasonable cost limitations, and common sense, I believe that the Republican party should always have a responsible environmental policy.

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