Monday, April 23, 2018

Yokley announces run for 70th District State Representative

My name is Jessica Yokley and I am officially announcing my candidacy for 70th District State Representative. My goal is to lead the 70th District to the top, without tearing others down.

The decision to run for office was not taken lightly, but rather with lots of prayer and encouragement from my family and friends. I have learned that when God puts something on your heart, you go after it, even if you are afraid.

I was born and raised in Lawrence county, a place I am proud to call home with my husband, Kevin Owens, an electrical engineer, and my two sons, Gavin and Preston. The pink you will see during my campaign represents the presence of our daughter, Cora Elizabeth, who passed away in 2015. Shortly after Cora's death, I had a strong calling to open a restaurant, even though I am certainly not a cook.

While I didn't know why at the time, we soon learned that God and Cora had a plan for the restaurant in her name – to give us Preston. Preston worked at our restaurant and he quickly became friends with Gavin. A short time later, we learned Preston needed a foster family and we were asked to step up.

We were so happy to have him join our family and even happier when we learned that adoption was an option and Preston wanted to take it. Shortly after, we closed the restaurant to focus on our family because we knew God's plan had been completed.

I consider myself a Blue Dog Democrat, a term I proudly learned from my grandaddy, A.D. Yokley. I believe in being fiscally conservative and would rather the government stay out of my personal life. I am a firm believer in service to our community, which will be my focus if elected to office.

I am currently a member of the Ethridge United Methodist Church, Lawrence County Substance Abuse Coalition, Lawrence County Health Council, and the committee that organizes the Community Baby Shower. In addition, my family founded “A Cora Christmas” which provides gifts and necessary supplies to families in our community.

In addition, I attend many meetings of our local Right to Life group where I have gained a better understanding of how I can help further reduce abortion. Like any southern woman, I enjoy my guns and would never work to take away that right.

While I could spend this entire article telling you about myself, I'd rather talk about what the 70th District needs to thrive. Education is an issue on many people's minds. Standardized testing stresses out our students and teachers with unrealistic expectations.

The fact that different students learn and test differently has been ignored. Even worse, our teacher's ideas of how children can best be educated is no longer important to our state government. Funding and teacher pay remains far too low. We must change this immediately. Our teachers deserve respect.

The opioid crisis has hit the 70th District hard, destroying families and creating a higher rate of crime. We must focus on better treatment options and more treatment facilities, in addition to increasing penalties for those who sell or provide drugs to addicts.

In addition, we must expand our treatment options with innovative facilities that work for parents in need of help. The Renewal House, serving middle Tennessee, is a great example of this. Here, mothers who are seeking treatment can be housed with their children, keeping the family together and reducing the need for foster care through the state, a program that already struggles to have enough foster parents.

Programs should also prepare addicts to gain education or job training prior to re-entering public society so that the temptation to return to drugs is lessened.

Wasteful spending in our state government must stop. Recently, the Improve Act was passed which created a tax increase for the citizens of Tennessee and a tax decrease for corporations. This tax also created an additional burden on farmers and other industries who depend on fuel to operate machinery and transport goods.

During a time that the state has huge surplus dollars, a tax increase should not even be a consideration. Instead, we should responsibly use the tax dollars we have to improve roads and bridges so that we don't place any additional tax burdens on the hardworking people of the 70th District.

I believe it is time the 70th District had a worker representing them – someone who isn't afraid to stay up late, work long hours, or be politically incorrect in order to do what is right for the people.

It is time to send someone to Nashville who believes in reaching across the aisle and working to help the 70th District rather than have petty arguments with the other side. I believe the 70th District needs a listener – someone who wants to know how to help the people.

I believe the 70th District needs a leader, not another partisan politician content to vote how they are told to gain favor with those in charge. Its time for a regular person to represent the 70th District so that regular people have a fighting chance. I believe that person is me. I humbly ask for your support and vote in the upcoming primary and election.Looking Forward,

Jessica Yokley





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