United States Sen. Lamar Alexander told members of McMinnville Noon Rotary on Thursday that “Tennesseans' taxes are lower, their paychecks are bigger, and more new jobs are coming to Tennessee.”
“I often suggest Tennesseans look at Washington as if it were a split-screen TV,” said Alexander. “On one side of the screen, you’ll see the controversies of the day – the crisis at the border or the special counsel’s report. But on the other side, you’ll see results that improve the lives of every American.”
Sen. Alexander explained how in the last two years, Congress and President Trump passed the first major tax reform in 31 years, enacted landmark opioid legislation, and record funding for research. Alexander said that he’s working in a bipartisan way to lower Tennesseans healthcare costs and ensure college degrees are worth students’ time and money.
“Tax reform has unleashed a strong economy that is helping raise Tennesseans paychecks and grow our automotive industry,” said Alexander. “Thirty years ago, there were almost no auto jobs in the state. Today, about 136,000 Tennesseans, including over 2,700 Warren countians, work in automotive manufacturing.”
Alexander also touched on some challenges including talking to President Trump about tariffs and persuading other members of Congress “that they should not make decisions that you should make for yourselves.” He cited modifying No Child Left Behind and Common Core as an example.
Alexander then spoke about his effort to lower healthcare costs, describing his work through legislation to stop surprise billing. That way, people don’t receive and unexpected $3,000 bill from an out-of-network doctor after a hospital visit. This legislation would also lower the price of prescription drugs and help employers reduce their healthcare costs.
During a Q&A portion of the presentation, pastor Tommy Vann asked about faith-based initiatives to help with the opiate crisis.
Vann said, “Gov. Lee is working with faith-based institutions to come alongside what the government is seeking to do too to help eliminate the crisis and how faith communities can work in concert with the state to reduce addiction. Is there anything on the national level you see with that so we can have separation of church and state, but still work beside each other?”
Answered Alexander, “I don’t think you can separate the two. You just can’t solve the opioid crisis by passing a law. You have to pour something into a person and you’ve got to have a change of attitude, counseling, faith. All that is an essential part of it.”
WCPI Public Radio 91.3 will broadcast a 25-minute interview with Sen. Alexander on Tuesday, April 30, at 5 p.m., Wednesday, May 1, at 5 a.m., Thursday, May 2, at 1 p.m. and Friday, May 3, at 1 a.m.
The interview explores issues including public education for high-need students, driving down the cost of prescriptions medicines, and the impact of President Trump’s tariffs on imported steel and the effects on Tennessee industries and jobs.