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Issues

WILSON COUNTY FIRST

 

Education

A former school board member and a proven leader on educational issues, Tom is the only candidate who is both qualified and dedicated to systematically advocate for changes to our educational system in Tennessee. We must make funding a priority to improve teacher salaries, build and improve facilities, equitably fund digital transformation, acquire academic resources, and hire adequate personnel, which includes providing both efficient teacher to student ratios and support staff ratios (teachers assistants, nurses, etc.). History has proven these issues haven’t been championed to meet our need. Teacher pay, for example, is one of the many underfunded line items within our budget. Wilson County has had to raise a property taxes in 2016 and increase the sales tax in 2020 for teacher pay. These increases are a direct result of the General Assembly’s decade of failure, led by our incumbent of 16 years, who currently holds the position of Chairwoman of the Finance, Ways and Means Committee.
  • In 2016 Wilson County received 71% of this budget from the state. In 2020, that percentage is 67%. As income grows in the county the funding from the state decreases, because of our "ability to pay" leaving property owners holding the bag. The school system is the largest line item in the county and the state MUST do more to help.
  • We were not prepared for this pandemic:
    • Wilson County receives funding for 6.5 nurses from the State but hires 25. Our "representative" had the opportunity to quadruple that funding, in 2019, using her vote on the Finance, Ways and Means committee to pass HB0653 to the legislative body for a vote. Sadly this failure of execution means Wilson County will continue to use local funding (I.e. Property tax) to fully fund the need for an adequate nursing ratio for our students. These are your dollars that could be used elsewhere in the budget.
    • In 2020 during an Emergency Budget Session in March, we found our General Assembly moved needed funding from education and mental health to a “rainy day” fund BUT they could afford vouchers, that only helps two districts, a year early, despite resolutions and pleas from our Wilson County School district and District 57 constituents.
      • The irony is that the fiscal amount in 2020, 41 million, used for vouchers is nearly the same figure needed back in 2019 to increase the nursing ratio of 42 million. Wilson County could have $1,000,000 more in funding had our voice been heard.

 


Healthcare

Tom has the knowledge, experience, and passion needed to address the needs afflicting our most vital need, healthcare. As a former pharmaceutical representative, the husband of a dentist, and the son of a physician, Tom has seen first-hand the importance of our healthcare industry to both our state's quality of life and economy, as well as what government can do to improve it. 
  • Expansion of TennCare can no longer be overlooked but we must be sure that when policy is written it is done by citizens of Tennessee not PACS, corporations or insurance companies. The funding must find its way to those for which the program was intended to help.
  • Essential workers during this Pandemic would benefit greatly from expansion and deservedly so
  • TennCare must also be reviewed to ensure current and future contracts are meant to help Tennessean. A patient in the cue, waiting for coverage is wrong and it's an ongoing problem
  • Nearly 8% of adults (ages 19-64) in Wilson County are below the Poverty Level.
  • Providers have capacity and willingness to provide for all patients with adequate funding.
  • As our economy rebounds, many more individuals will need access to healthcare due to potential unemployment.
  • Pharmaceuticals still remain unaffordable for even those with employee or Medicare Part D coverage.
  • Tennessee has options, and we must explore them all and allow our General Assembly to vote accordingly.
 


Jobs & The Economy

 During these unprecedented times we must ensure we have the proper leaders working in unison and not on a side of the aisle. Only this will ensure our economy is strong while continuing efforts to ensure our state is functioning in a competitive market for new small businesses and those looking to relocate. We don't have time to play political games while Tennesseans are hurting. Tom will use a “people over party” approach to be an effective, influential leader in strengthening our economy re: Covid-19 and beyond. 

  • Several thousand Tennesseans still find themeless without an unemployment check. Why and how?
  • Several thousand Tennesseans face eviction and or job loss. What's being done?


2nd Amendment

A landowner and father of four girls, Tom understands the importance of the 2nd Amendment. As a gun owner himself, he is opposed to any attempts to restrict or alter the rights the 2nd Amendment offers Americans. Tom is, however, committed to working with the incumbents of both parties who have expressed interest in common sense legislation that retains the rights provided in The Constitution while also working to curb gun violence plaguing our country. 


Strong Leadership for District 57

Not a career politician, and committed to term limiting himself, Tom Sottek is simply dedicated to placing Wilson County FIRST above party politics and above career politicians. Now, more than ever, as we face uncertain times we NEED a LEADER to focus solely on improving the lives of their community and state and not their political allies, their political career, or special interests that fund their campaigns. He will lead the people and put Wilson County FIRST!


Tom Sottek for State Representative
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