In the fight for the 47th District Tennessee House seat, only one of two Republican candidates will advance to the General Election in November.
Rush Bricken and Ronnie Holden recently participated in a Southern Standard/ WCPI political forum in an effort to share their views with constituents. The 47th District includes about one-third of Warren County and all of Coffee County. Both men are from Tullahoma.
Bricken is a recently retired bank CEO who has spent 22 years on the Coffee County Commission.
“The reason I’m running is because I care about our community,” said Bricken, who was raised by a single mother. “What I’ve always learned is to try to make a small, positive difference in everything you do and that’s what I’d like to do as your state representative. Good government is limited government, keeping it simple and keeping money in your pocket. We do have a wonderful state and as your representative I will work to keep it that way. I am a fiscal conservative. That’s the way I’m grounded.”
A life-long Tennessee resident who worked in emergency medical transportation for 15 years, Holden is straightforward about his views which echo the current Republican platform.
“I’m pro-life. I’m pro Second Amendment,” said Holden. “Every constitutional right we have, I will fight for it. I favor no new taxes. I support our president on immigration. I care about the people. I am a people person. I hunt. I fish. I care about the farmers because I eat vegetables and meat. I’d like to represent everybody with a common-sense approach because that’s all I know.”
When asked if he has any plans which might improve school security, Holden said he believes there should be more guns in schools.
“I fully favor teachers being armed who want to be armed,” said Holden. “I’m pro Second Amendment. Gun-free zones do not work. They are mathematically proven not to work. The only thing that’s going to stop a madman with a gun is a good person with a gun. I’d like to see the sheriff’s departments and local police come in and do gun safety. They can teach what to do. I’d like to see that.”
Bricken says he has done research on the school security question by talking to educators and officers.
“I’ve certainly talked to several school principals and law enforcement officials in Coffee County about this issue,” said Bricken. “The protocols of security of each school needs to be understood and restructured for the safety of our children. We can’t make the schools of our state fortresses. The grant dollars, $33 million, I hope the schools can use for security without making fortresses for our kids.”
When asked one idea he has to make a positive impact on the state, Bricken said he would like to implement programs to keep inmates from reoffending.
“The revolving door of the inmate population is a real concern,” said Bricken. “I’ve been on the Coffee County Commission for 22 years and the budget chairman for the last 12 and the amount of dollars we spend, over $15,000 per year per inmate, is absolutely ridiculous. That’s your money we’re spending and we have to work to reduce that.”
Holden says his idea for making the state a better place is to crack down on illegal immigration.
“Enforce the laws we have,” said Holden. “I’d like to see something done with illegals being here and that would be one of the top things that would help Tennessee right off the bat. Come legal and we welcome you. But don’t come illegal so we don’t know who you are, or know anything about you.”