Meet Rep. Hodges: “TN Needs Medicaid Expansion, Medical Marijuana, Decent Pay“

This week The Holler had a chance to catch up with Jason Hodges, the Freshman TN State Representative out of Clarksville. Hodges is a veteran, a young husband and a dad who just recently beat out Tommy Vallejos for the seat Joe Pitts left behind to go run the city as mayor.

We asked Jason what he’s focused on as the legislative session gets going, and he rattled off some priorities:

“First of all, I think we really need to get some big ticket items like Medicaid Expansion and Medical Marijuana done. They’d lower the cost of health care, which is something both parties agree needs to happen.”

With yet another rural hospital announcing they’ll be closing their doors in Clay County this month, Medicaid expansion is at the top of the list for Democrats, and Hodges really hopes their Republican counterparts will finally see how much damage is being done.

“We’ve lost $6 Billion and counting because they don’t like Obama. I promise you, if Trump wanted to give us $6 Billion to take care of our people, or fix up our roads, we’d take it. People should come before politics. If you want to bring costs down, start there. We can do that tomorrow. “

With regard to Medical Marijuana, and related products like cbd isolate wholesale, Hodges says it comes up in Clarksville often, where constituents would prefer to be treating their various ailments and mental health issues with MM rather than opioids and other more addictive medications.

“In many circumstances Medical Marijuana would further reduce cost when it comes to prescriptions. It can be a substitute for high-priced opiates and help reduce addiction. It’s just a cheaper, safer alternative, and we need to get it done. Every year that goes by where we don’t decriminalize it and make it available, more Tennesseans suffer needlessly.”

Although Democrats are a super-minority in the legislature, as a group they support Medical Marijuana, and it seems more and more Republicans are starting to come their way. Hodges also points out the economic impact it would have, especially in rural Tennessee:

“I’d like to see us tie it to Tennessee farms. Let’s make it so that any marijuana sold in Tennessee has to be produced in Tennessee. It’ll help our rural economies, and give those communities and our farmers an alternative product to produce – while helping with the opioid crisis and the cost of medicine. It’s a win all around. We trust our doctors to prescribe opiates, which is what heroin comes from, but we don’t trust them to prescribe marijuana products like those you can see if you Visit this website and others like it? Makes no sense.”

Hodges was also eager to talk about the voting rights bill he’s carrying, which would make it so that any state application you fill out would mean you’re automatically registered to vote.

“SNAP, the DMV… any state application you fill out you need the exact same paperwork as you do to get registered to vote. We should be making it easier on folks, not harder. Anyone who disagrees with that would appear not to be a huge fan of democracy.”

The subject then turned to economic incentives for companies coming to Tennessee, in light of Electrolux announcing they’d be closing their plant in Memphis and moving those jobs to Springfield. Hodges had this to say:

“Look, If we’re gonna subsidize a company to come to Tennessee we should make sure they’re paying a living wage. If they don’t, they should be fined, and the subsidy should be paid back. We can’t subsidize companies who don’t pay people enough to live just so those people then have to be subsidized by the government. That’s corporate welfare. If you want to come to Tennessee, great- you need to treat our people right.”

Seems pretty reasonable. Is he against incentives in general? A passionate Hodges insisted he wasn’t.

“No, I’m not against incentives as a concept. But if the taxpayers are on the hook let’s make sure what we’re getting is worthwhile. There are situations from a competitive standpoint where we have to subsidize to get a company to come here, but at the same time how are we going to pay a company who won’t pay a living wage – then turn around and blame people for mooching off the government? It kills me.”

Pretty sensible ideas. As Hodges gets more and more comfortable in his new role, we look forward to seeing what he can get done up there. Holler at him HERE.

Admitted Sex Offender Rep. Byrd In Settlement Talks

(Note: Not About His Sex Crimes, Unfortunately)

In case you haven’t heard yet, Republican State Representative David Byrd – who covers Hardin, Lewis, Wayne, and some of Lawrence counties – has admitted on tape to sexual misconduct with high school girls he coached. Read more

REP. WINDLE: “Medicaid Expansion Would Ease Rural Hospitals’ Burden”

This week we learned Clay County would lose yet another rural hospital, putting Tennessee into the double digits and cementing our place as the per capita leader in rural hospital closures.

Last night WSMV ran a piece on the situation, visiting with citizens, EMT’s and local officials to hear about the strain this would now put on the community. Read more

LAMBERTH: “Private Prisons Good, No De-Criminalizing Marijuana”

In an interview with The Tennessean’s “Grand Divisions” podcast about Criminal Justice reform, Tennessee Republican House Majority Leader William Lamberth was asked about the possibility of decriminalizing marijuana here in Tennessee, and gave some head-scratching answers.

First he was asked about Private Prisons, and whether or not they’re a good thing for Tennessee. He made it very clear he believes they are, and that the widely-discussed issues lie with state lawmakers and the policies they set.

“Private prisons are not the problem. The problem needs to be solved in the legislature.”

What conveniently didn’t come up is Lamberth’s $2500 contribution from Core Civic this past cycle.

The Tennessean then went on to ask Lamberth whether or not he supported decriminalizing marijuana, which overwhelmingly affects the African-American community, after waxing poetic about “personal accountability” the House Majority Leader dropped this gem:

“Legalizing certain drugs is a really dangerous road to go down. If you just start legalizing behavior, we have states that have legalized prostitution, certain drugs… you can’t legalize your way out of a criminal issues.”

“You can’t legalize your way out of criminal issues.” There’s one to chew on.

As a reminder, drinking alcohol was once illegal in Tennessee. (Also, the sale of it still is in 10 counties)- But Lamberth gets donations from the Malt Beverage Association, so they’re probably safe.

Holler at Lamberth HERE.

TN ED REPORT: Education Subcommittee A-OK With Sex Offender Chair

Rep. David Byrd, who you’ll recall admitted on tape to sexually molesting girls he coached in Wayne County and was asked to step down by his own party before running again, getting re-elected, and getting promoted by Speaker Casada to the most unthinkably insulting post of all, just chaired his first subcommittee meeting.

Thankfully, all 6 members of the committee meeting spoke out in defiance of Byrd, and he is now stepping down.

Just kidding! Nobody said anything. Instead they went around making jokes about “interesting facts”, and acted like having a pedophile in charge was just another day at the office.

Go here to read Andy Spears’ post over at the TN Education Report.

This issue isn’t going away any time soon, and neither are we. Feel free to reach out to Speaker Casada and Byrd and let them know how you feel about this insult to women and survivors and frankly everyone in our state.

Yet Another Rural Hospital Closes – Clay County

As Tennessee continues to reject billions each year, yet another rural hospital shuts its doors, this time in the Clay County/Celina area.

“the closing will cost 146 full & part-time employees their positions”‬

‪Not expanding Medicaid for political reasons is an absolute shame. ‬Hope Governor Bill Lee and the state legislature see the light before more unnecessary damage is done.

Read the article from NewsTalk941.com Here.

Homelessness in Williamson County – Does Anyone Care?

Today Amelia Knisey of The Tennessean has an important story about homelessness in Williamson County.

Homelessness is on the rise in the richest county in the state, and the people and local officials have yet to make it a priority, leaving it to pastors like Pastor Kevin Riggs and local nonprofits like Gracepointe Church to deal with.

But as the cost of living continues to increase in areas like Franklin and Brentwood, more and more long time residents will feel the squeeze.

Lots of lip service is paid to issues like this around here, but what will residents and local government officials actually be willing to do about it?

Follow Amelia Here.

Casada Makes Pedophile Head of Ed Subcommittee #StopByrd

Rep. David Byrd has admitted on tape to Sexual misconduct with the basketball players he coached. Speaker Harwell, from Byrd’s own Republican Party, asked him to step down, but he refused, and promptly ran for re-election, where he won with nearly 80% of the vote.

As if all that wasn’t bad enough, now Speaker Casada has appointed Byrd head of the Education Subcommittee, a slap in the face to moms and daughters and survivors everywhere.

Had enough? Contact Enough Is Enough and join the fight to get right of Rep. Byrd, and the men who protect him.

Giles County Mourns the Passing of D Ray Cobb

D Ray Cobb, father of former state rep and current Columbia police chief Ty Cobb, passed suddenly this week. Giles County and the surrounding areas mourn his passing.

Ty recently wrote a touching tribute to his “awesome dad”, who many of us knew from his outspoken advocacy and unabashed support.

From Ty:

“Natalie, David and I were able to share 40 years of life with our dad. That’s over half of his life of 73 years.

We will not be selfish! Yes, we wanted more time, but you never get enough. But with faith, family, friends, and the great memories of our Dad, his will carry us through for all the years to come.

And with that … We are forever thankful. We love you, Dad!”

D Ray was always the first to speak up to right a wrong, and we will miss him dearly.