Eliminating Civil Asset Forfeiture
The State of Tennessee receives millions of dollars each year from civil asset forfeiture. Civil Asset Forfeiture is when a law enforcement officer suspects that you possess your private property because of a crime (most notably used with the position of “large amounts” of cash, under suspicion that you are a drug dealer), and therefore seizes this property, even in circumstances where you are never charged with a crime. Tennessee is among the highest in the country on the percentage of proceeds from these seizures of private property. Often times, that money goes to law enforcement and their pet projects instead of using those funds to help people with addiction recovery. Civil asset forfeiture is a blatant violation of the fourth amendment and encourages policing for profit, while targeting the poorest among us and those who are defenseless against an overreaching government. No one should have their property taken from them by the government without first being accused, tried, and found guilty of a crime by a jury of their peers.
The War on Drugs
Prohibition has been tried repeatedly, has failed in the past, and today America’s War on Drugs has been a miserable embarrassment. Lives are ruined over minor offenses, while victims cause widespread overcrowding in our prisons. The US has the highest per capita incarceration rate of the Western world. This targeting is not only incredibly expensive for taxpayers, it also makes our communities less safe by failing to address addiction issues while deterring police from focusing on solving violent crimes. However, Tennessee is ranked third in the country for prescription drug abuse, and this cuts across demographics. Studies show that about 5% of Tennesseans have used pain relievers in the past year for non-medical purposes, and more than 70% of people who use prescription drugs for non-medical reasons got them from a friend or relative.
Federal Spending and Taxation
The national debt has increased to over 30 trillion dollars in 2022, which means each individual taxpayer is responsible for nearly $250,000 of this debt. Taxpayers should not be viewed as a cash cow for political experiments or military exploitation. I believe the role of the legislator is to spend only what is necessary, not seek out new and inventive ways to dispose of hard-earned taxpayer dollars. Since 1991, pork-barrel ear marked projects have totaled at least 111,702, costing $392.5 billion as of 2021, as estimated by the think tank Citizens Against Government Waste, which tracks annual spending. The mismanagement of taxpayer dollars must cease.
Diversify Education Options
Public schools are terribly inefficient, filled with opposing biases, and have too many times become targets for those who wish to commit acts of violence. Most cities, every county, and the state budgets are dominated by education spending. Most of the money is federally taxed, and then redistributed through bureaucracy and administration, and only then after being whittled away, does the remaining money return to the state, in addition to hindering teachers’ abilities to education due to bureaucratic regulations (government testing).
We hold that all individuals have the right to exercise sole dominion over their own lives, and have the right to live in whatever manner they choose, so long as they do not forcibly interfere with the equal right of others to live in whatever manner they choose including but not limited to: gun rights, medical freedom, and freedom of speech.
We should do as our forefathers suggested, and avoid entangling alliances, which often puts us in more danger than any initial threat. We believe in strong, appropriately sized armed forces, which are properly prepared to defend our homes from immediate attacks. Military adventurism across the world has wasted trillions of taxpayer dollars on mostly long, bloody, and indeterminate operations while leaving our families here losing their loved ones to these foreign entanglements.