State Rep. Jeremy Faison, R-Cosby, told members of the Hamblen County Republican Women Monday night that Tennessee is the envy of many other states right now as business keeps coming into the state.
“We’re doing it right in your state,” Faison said.
Faison was the special guest speaker at the monthly Hamblen County Republican Women meeting and spoke on topics like business, abortion and criminal justice reform.
Faison, elected in 2010, is the District 11 state representative, which covers Cocke County and parts of Greene County. He was recently elected chairman of the Tennessee Republican Caucus.
Faison said Monday the state is on great footing due to the conservative policies Republicans and Democrats are instituting in Tennessee compared to other states.
He said recently he went to a conference with legislators in other states. He said in those circumstances he doesn’t sit at the table with those he already knows, he likes to sit at other tables and hear what others have to say he doesn’t know.
At this conference, he sat a table with someone from California and another from Illinois. He said both legislators told him they envy Tennessee not having any debt, great roads and business opportunities.
Faison said one thing great about Tennessee is how free college is being offered through technical schools. He said he visited one school and asked a class who wanted to be a diesel mechanic. One student raised their hand, he said.
He said he told the student that he would get to go to school for free and make $75,000 a year. He said after that two boys and a girl said they wanted to be diesel mechanics.
“We’re not all made to go to (a four-year) college,” Faison said. “But, we’re made to be professionals in something.”
Faison said the state currently has 3.5% unemployment and has created 100,000 jobs this year.
He said people need good jobs.
“I’m so tired of hearing Democrats say we need a living wage,” he said. “If you want a living wage, get a living job.”
He said because the state is doing it right, many people from the north are coming to Tennessee. In one instance, he said he met a man from Vermont who relocated to Tennessee. He said that man told him he was paying almost $1,000 a month in taxes before he left.
When asked about what the state looks to be doing in the future, Faison said he thinks the next step will be addressing mental health care. He said he believes there will be a mental health facility opening in East Tennessee soon, along with other facilities.
He said he also said the governor wants to look at criminal justice reform.
“We need to look at what we’re doing,” he said. “Is it working?”
He said in several instances people are being jailed for drug charges and when they get out of jail, they go back to drugs. Faison said the state needs to start looking at ways to assist with recovery.
In the past, the state took money out of mental health, he said.
“We shorted mental health,” he said. “We took millions out. We paid dearly for that.”
Tommy Pedigo, chairman of the Hamblen County Republican Party, announced at the end of the meeting their will be a chili cook-off 5 p.m. Saturday at Eagle Trace Christian Camp at 3068 Springvale Road. Anyone wishing to purchase tickets can contact Tommy Pedigo at 423-586-3100, Jean or Joe Huntsman at 423-586-0721 or Teresa West at 423-586-5640.