Black touts conservative values during campaign stop

Published 4:52 pm Monday, June 25, 2018

Maintaining strong, Christian values.

That was the message gubernatorial hopeful Diane Black was touting during a campaign stop in Elizabethton on Monday afternoon.

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“I think those Christian principles we have, those Tennessee values we have, are so important,” Black said. “I think they are more important than education and all those other things because we can fix those other things. Once we lose those values, they are gone.”

Black, who currently serves in the U.S. House of Representatives representing Tennessee’s 6th Congressional District, said her colleagues in Congress talk about Tennessee’s strong values and how they wished their states had remained “red to the root” like Tennessee.

“My parents raised me to never give up, to work hard, and to hold onto my strong Christian principals,” Black said. “That is what is important, that we have leaders who are not afraid to stand up for those values.”

Protecting those values and the freedom that Americans and Tennesseans enjoy will be one of her top priorities, according to Black.

“I believe what President Regan said when he said ‘Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction,’” Black said. “We do not pass it along in our blood. We must stand up for it.”

In addition to protecting conservative values, Black said several critical issues are facing the state that she hopes to address if elected governor, including battling the opioid crisis, rural development, and recruiting business and industry to the state.

Black said she grew up in a loving, but poor family. Through hard work in high school, she was able to attend college where she majored in nursing. It was through her work as a nurse that she first felt the call to public service.

While working in a hospital, Black said she saw wasteful spending through the state’s TennCare program as well as a poor quality of healthcare provided to those in the program. She said she wanted to make a positive change, so she ran for a seat in the Tennessee House of Representatives.

Black served in the Tennessee General Assembly for more than a decade — holding seats in both the House and Senate. In 2010 she was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Now, Black said she wants to bring her passion and experience to the Governor’s office in Tennessee.

On the economic development front, Black said the keys to helping recruit and retain jobs, particularly in rural areas, is making sure good roads are in place for transportation, widespread access to high-speed internet, and having an educated workforce. Part of the formula for developing an educated workforce will be to increase the career and technical education programs in the state’s high schools, Black said.

One of the most significant health-related issues facing the state currently is the opioid epidemic.

“Two of my husband’s siblings have overdosed on opioids, so we understand the loss that comes with addiction,” Black said.

Tackling the problem will take a multi-faceted approach, Black said, including prevention services, increased support for law enforcement efforts to shut down trafficking, and proper recovery programs.

Another aspect of the state’s healthcare issue is mental health services. “We need to look at mental health,” Black said. “We have a lot of mental health issues, and we are not addressing those issues.”