• We should hold companies that get tax incentives accountable.  If promised jobs do not materialize we should require companies to pay back all tax incentives or credits.
  • Many of the citizens of Hancock and Hawkins counties commute to neighboring communities for work.  Though we should always hope to have companies come to Hancock or Hawkins County first we should also be willing to work with surrounding counties to help attract and retain good companies.  
  • We should create more skill training programs for those seeking an alternative to traditional universities.  A program similar to the American College of the Building Arts in South Carolina would have great potential in our area.  
  • We also need to increase the number of opportunities for our high school students to participate in Tennessee’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs.  Download PDF
  • The threshold for a person to be deemed a non-exempt employee and be excluded from overtime rules should be raised.
  • We need a combination of different types of employment opportunities in our communities.  In manufacturing we not only need companies that provide new high skill jobs but we also need good paying basic manufacturing jobs.
  • The transportation infrastructure of any area is directly tied to potential job creation.  Addressing the infrastructure needs of Hancock and Hawkins counties should be a priority for the state and it should not be put on the back burner for later.  
  • In addition to improving our existing roads and making our bridges safe our counties need to have better access to the interstate to ensure future economic growth.
  • Across the state, we need to look at improving rail options for businesses as alternatives to trucking.
  • We need to support and properly fund our public school systems to help attract or retain strong companies.  Not only do companies look at the school systems to see if they can provide their future workforce they also look at them from a job satisfaction standpoint.  Most companies need to recruit at least a limited number of people from outside an area to run a business. The first thing a person with a family who is being recruited to a new area for work will look at will the school system.
  • New companies are always going to assess the quality of life of their employees and access to parks is part of that equation.  The beauty of our communities and access to nature are among the best selling points for potential companies. Public parks need to remain public and we must be good stewards of our resources.
  • Rural tourism shows great promise for job creation in our two counties.  We have the most beautiful mountains, rivers and lakes in the area and if done correctly we can attract people to visit while retaining the essence of our communities.
  • TN needs to incentivize renewable energy programs. Job creation in this sector continues to increase across the country and in the region.
  • We need to continue to study the potential positive economic impact on East Tennessee associated with legalizing hemp production.
  • TN needs net neutrality for our local small businesses to thrive.  Having to pay for tiered access to the internet will hinder growth of small companies as well as innovation.
  • We need to continue to support local communities in their efforts to bring broadband internet capabilities to each resident.


  • Derek supports Governor Haslam’s plan for the expansion of Medicaid in Tennessee.
  • We should legalize medical marijuana as an option for patients with health conditions that benefit from this alternative treatment.  Some studies have also showed positive impacts on opioid usage in communities that had access to medical marijuana.
  • We need to improve access to mental healthcare.
  • All insurance companies in TN should be required to treat walk-in clinics the same as primary care providers for copays.   In rural areas, primary care physicians are not as prevalent and for many, the walk-in clinics are the best or only option to address minor medical needs.
  • We should never allow insurance plans in TN to have preexisting conditions or life maximums again.
  • Contraceptives should be covered by all insurance plans in TN.
  • TN needs to continue to address the opioid crisis that grips our state.  Our communities need to work together to remove the stigma of asking for help. The state needs to work with medical professionals to develop limits for prescriptions sizes for anything other than terminal diseases. All emergency workers need access to Norcan.  Pharmaceutical companies that have knowingly dumped pills into our communities should be held legally accountable. Any recovered money from pharmaceutical companies should be used to increase access to recovery programs in our local communities.

More information will be added as time permits.


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