Key Issues

We Stand at a Crossroad

While I normally do not use this platform to voice social concerns, but we are at a point in our society that we must exhaust all methods to highlight social injustice. I am speaking about the tragic murder of George Floyd by the Minneapolis police. This incident has raised the ire and attention of the nation and it’s gotten my attention as well. I still can’t watch this video without stirring significant emotions in my soul! In the nine-minute video, an officer can be seen kneeling on Floyd’s neck at the side of a squad car. Floyd can be heard groaning and repeatedly telling police he can’t breathe, he cried out for his mother with his dying breath.

The actions of all the officers involved are reprehensible and require swift consequences. Their actions represent what has become the norm, a dangerous precedent set forth by the racist, systematic, and prejudicial sentiment in our society against Black people. The officer does not lift his knee from Floyd’s neck until medical personnel arrive a few minutes later and carry him to an ambulance. We stand at a crossroads and we as Tennesseans must assure ourselves that this can and will never happen in our Great State! This requires deliberate and difficult conversations with all levels of Leadership.

African-Americans are more than twice as likely as White-Americans to be killed by police. All Americans need to say something when they see something! Oftentimes, we wait until these situations become newsworthy. These types of situations are dehumanizing and devalue black lives in America. We must respond to racism in all areas of activity: education, healthcare; racial profiling in restaurants and retail establishments. We must stand united to address and correct all injustices against Black people. My sincere prayers go out to the family of George Floyd.

– Sam McKenzie

Education – Education Funding

Sam believes that all children deserve quality education and teachers deserve quality pay. “The State Voucher Program is NOT the solution and I oppose this measure. Fully funding the Basic Education Program (BEP) would be a significant step toward improved outcomes in our Urban Schools.”

Health Care – Medicaid Expansion

Our citizens deserve access to healthcare services and health insurance. Medicaid Expansion is a step in the right direction to ensure funding is available to our citizen’s. Currently, over 300 Thousand Tennesseans are without health insurance and hospitals were negativity impacted with several rural hospitals closing as a result, leaving those residents without services.

Tennessee leaves millions of our taxpayer’s dollars in Washington, DC and over 40 States have accepted Medicaid Expansion funding. Former Governor Haslam’s ‘Insure Tennessee’ would have been a big step towards a healthier TN!

Criminal Justice Reform

Sam believes there must be an aggressive focus on breaking the prison pipeline and this can be accomplished with strategic investment in rehabilitation and preventive services.

Preventive programs for children/teens – partnering with guidance counselors and juvenile court systems to identify “at risk” youth.

More Social Workers and Case Management working with programs as Sam’s Father was a Career Social Worker with the State of Tennessee.

Funding for adult rehabilitative and transitional housing support is critical to ensure those coming out of incarceration have a safe and stable environment. Partnerships with companies and businesses willing to provide internships is a major component and these measures will decrease recidivism and reduce crime.

Laws that incarcerate individuals for low level drug offensives (e.g. marijuana)

People deserve second chances

Living Wage Increase

The 15th District encompasses a full socioeconomic spectrum. From the affluent to the minimum wage workers Sam’s goal is to close the gap between this spectrum. At the end of the day the people of the 15th District are hard-working and deserve a true Living Wage. This can be done through recruitment and incentives that foster quality jobs and business development opportunities.

Sam has worked with both ends of the wage equation and will put the full weight of this position to move the 15th Forward! Workforce Development is key!

Get In Involved

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