Paul Sherrell is finishing his first term in the Tennessee House of Representatives. In order to serve a second term for the 43rd District, he has to fend off two challenges.
The first is in the Republican Primary on Aug. 2 when Sherrell squares off against Sparta Alderman Jerry Lowery. The two participated in a Southern Standard/ WCPI political forum to discuss their state government views.
“I want to thank God and my family and the voters of the 43rd District for allowing me to serve,” said Sherrell, who has served on the Criminal Justice Committee and Health Committee in his two years in Nashville.
Sherrell said he is proud of a bill he sponsored that took effect July 1. “It provides our volunteer firefighters and our volunteer rescue squad members a license plate at no cost from the state,” said Sherrell. “And also I am working with the county commissioners in Warren and White County and I’m asking them to exempt these volunteer firefighters and rescue squad members so they won’t have to pay the wheel tax we have to pay and the reason why is the hard work they go out and do for you and me."
Lowery is the son of a plumber and he worked his way through college doing plumbing and electric. He served in the U.S. Navy and felt the call to become a teacher. He’s a 29-year educator.
“I’m for less government,” said Lowery. “I’m for private companies. I’m a living example for the teachers. We’re selling cookie dough, Cokes and candy bars to fund experiments and things in biology classes. That’s got to stop.
“I am a city alderman in Sparta and I stand for the taxpayer first,” Lowery continued. “My record is true. My record is firm and it is traceable. I’m for less taxes and less government. The Nashville budget has increased $1 billion every year under current leadership and legislators. That’s got to stop.”
Sherrell says he stands for Christian conservative values he believes are popular in the 43rd District of Warren, White and Grundy counties.
“I’m for the Second Amendment,” said Sherrell. “I’m pro-life and I believe marriage is between a man and a woman according to the Bible. I have opposed tax increases and federal government mandates. I have supported our counties in economic growth and our farmers who provide our resources. I voted to help our veterans and our military personnel. I strongly believe in the U.S. Constitution that our forefathers have fought for us.”
As an educator, Lowery wants education decisions to be made locally, not in Nashville or in Washington.
“I believe in local control of education because the feds don’t know how to teach our students,” said Lowery. “The Nashville legislators don’t know how to teach our students. Warren County administrators, Warren County teachers, Grundy County, Coffee County, they know how to educate our students and we need to give that back to them.”
When asked about expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act as 33 states have done, Sherrell didn’t provided a firm answer, although he supports healthcare in general.
“I’d like to see every one of us have the healthcare we need, whatever age you might be,” said Sherrell. “I want to try to have us have the coverage, in whatever it may be, to take care of you when you go to the hospital. How do we do this? We have different steps we do in Nashville to help with insurance, to help people have the insurance they need. No it’s not going to be fixed overnight, but we have to get not only the state involved, we have to get the federal involved, we have to get our local involved. We have to get everybody involved so we can help each other get the healthcare we need.”
Lowery said he is against expanding healthcare under the Affordable Care Act.
“I am a believer in less government,” said Lowery. “If we expand Medicaid as we have it now, that increases government. What we need to do, we need to open up the free market if you will and allow competition. When we open that up, healthcare becomes more affordable for people. I’m not for throwing money at expansion at this time. There’s a lot of abuse and misuse in the systems.”