Nobody wants bigger government

We all want better government. Modern government that responds to us and works for us. Government that gives us a real return on our investment of tax dollars, so we all have a chance to thrive.

As a candidate for the Tennessee House of Representatives, I believe the best government stays out of our personal decisions and our private lives and focuses on the fundamentals of strong community: excellent public schools, healthy local businesses, safe neighborhoods, and a flourishing middle class.


Serenity Now

Turn off the news. Keep chipping away. They say all politics is local, and it sure feels that way when I’m walking to a house at the end of a gravel road. There are a lot of those in the north part of the district, and I walk them if I can. People who live a ways from...

Who’s “Fringe” Again?

Last year when Gloria Johnson announced she was running for Marsha Blackburn’s US Senate seat, the conservative editorialist for the Chattanooga Free Press dismissed her as a “fringe” candidate without discussing her legislative record in the Tennessee General...

The Honor System

A little story about trust and public service A couple of months ago, a retired Hamilton County teacher told me a story that’s been rattling around in my head ever since. I’d knocked on her door and introduced myself as a candidate for State House. I always clarify...

Take an Extra Day, Nonzombies

It’s been obvious for quite some time that we’re at risk of losing our democracy, and that a lot of Americans aren’t paying attention. So like many of you, I’ve spent the last few years doing all kinds of pro-democracy work . . . and doomscrolling. It's been...

Drive Time

Keeping my eyes on the road A couple of weeks ago I drove from New York to Boston with a total stranger.   That’s not the way I’d envisioned my trip to Boston playing out. When I arrived at the Chattanooga airport before sunrise, New York wasn’t on the itinerary. I...
Get to know

Allison Gorman for State House District 26

I’m a native Tennessean and a graduate of the UT School of Journalism. I work as an editor and a writer. My husband and I have lived in Chattanooga (District 26) since 1997 and raised our three daughters here. 

As a member of the State House, I will be a progressive voice for the people of Tennessee.

Why “progressive”? Because party labels are limiting and progress is good. Tennessee can do better than bottom 10 for teacher pay and per-pupil spending, and top 10 for violent crime, chronic disease, food insecurity, and medical debt.

Policy Points

Public Education

Tennessee’s public schools are poorly funded. Our public-school teachers are poorly paid. Against the wishes of most parents and school boards, our governor and many state legislators are pushing for statewide vouchers, which would send tax dollars to private schools. Vouchers harm public education, benefit wealthier families, and reward the billionaire-backed “school choice” industry. I believe every Tennessee family should have the choice to send their child to an excellent, well-funded neighborhood school.

Health Care

Hundreds of thousands of Tennesseans don’t have private health insurance but also don’t qualify for government insurance. As a result, Tennesseans are sicker and have more medical debt than most Americans, and our rural hospitals are closing because patients can’t pay their bills. Tennessee has turned away $22B, our own federal tax dollars, that would have addressed these problems. We should join the forty states that have expanded Medicaid. It’s the right and smart thing to do. When people can’t get the health care they need, we all pay.

Reproductive Rights

Tennessee bans abortion from the moment of conception, with no exception for rape, incest, nonviable pregnancies, health of the mother, or pregnant children. Girls and women are being traumatized and physically injured by this law, as hundreds of Tennessee doctors warned would happen. Most Tennesseans don’t support this ban. I am dedicated to keeping politicians out of our doctor’s offices, and allowing a woman’s health to guide important medical decisions throughout her pregnancy.

Gun Safety

Most Tennesseans support reasonable regulations that make it harder for children to find guns, criminals to steal guns, and dangerous or unstable people to buy guns. Unfortunately too many of our legislators answer only to the gun industry, whose goal is to sell more products. Tennesseans—including children—are paying the price. Between 2011 and 2021, as our gun laws got looser, the number of Tennessee children killed by gunshot wounds increased 180 percent. Every Tennessee family deserves to live in a safe, vibrant community free of gun violence.

Economic Policies

As many Tennesseans struggle to pay rent and buy groceries—we have the second-highest average sales tax in the country—our state government keeps giving huge tax breaks to wealthy corporations that don’t need them (but have PACs and lobbyists). In 2024, the Tennessee General Assembly voted against cutting Tennessee’s grocery tax. Instead they approved a $1.9B corporate handout, most of which will flow out of state. I believe wealthy corporations should pay their fair share to reduce the tax burden on working Tennesseans and small business owners.



Public Education

Like most Tennesseans, I understand the value of education. I want to see our K–12 system funded fully and strategically and our teachers well paid, so every Tennessee family will have the choice to send their child to an excellent public school in their own neighborhood.

Health Care

Forty states have now expanded Medicaid. So should Tennessee. Accepting federal tax dollars to get more people health insurance is an economic winner and the right thing to do. Every Tennessean should be able to get medical treatment and fill a prescription when they need to.

Reproductive Rights

I’ll work to restore reproductive rights in Tennessee to the reasonable, medically responsible limits allowed under Roe v. Wade, and to reduce abortion rates the most effective way: by improving access to reliable forms of birth control and to science-based sex education.

Gun Safety

Tennessee’s current gun laws are endangering all our lives. I’ll support what most Tennesseans want and what many have been begging for: safe storage laws, background checks on all gun sales, a red flag law, and the restoration of a permit requirement, including gun-safety training.

Economic Policies

Most Tennesseans get little ROI for their tax dollars. I’ll support tax policies to improve the lives of Tennesseans, not improve profits for corporations and shareholders. I’ll also work to protect renters and homeowners from predatory development and other factors fueling our affordable housing crisis.

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Why I’m Running

This Isn’t the America My Father Died For

Op-Ed, originally published in the Chattanooga Times Free Press February 13, 2017 A long time ago, a scrappy kid from St. Louis, inspired by watching his big brother fight for a noble cause, badgered his parents into letting him join the Marines at age 17. They were...

10 Things About Me

I’m a progressive candidate running to represent District 26 in the Tennessee House of Representatives. Here’s what else you should know: I’m a native Tennessean. Raised in Memphis, schooled in Knoxville (GBO!), married a guy from Nashville, lived in Chattanooga since...

Why I’m Running: The Hero

I don’t remember my dad, but he was my hero. Dad was a med-evac pilot in Vietnam. He was shot down trying to rescue eleven wounded soldiers in the heat of battle. My first memory is attending a ceremony honoring him as the most decorated Marine in the Vietnam War. I...

Why I’m Running: The Wounded Warrior

When my dad was killed in action, my gentle mom became a casualty of war too. Left to raise two little girls on her own, there were days she struggled just to get out of bed. Yet in a neighborhood full of silent witnesses, it was Mom who walked across the street alone...

Why I’m Running: The Role Model

My dad was a devout Catholic, raised in a big Irish family in St. Louis. My mom was a deeply spiritual Protestant, raised in a southern family with ministers on both sides. After Dad was killed in Vietnam, Mom honored him by raising my sister and me Catholic; she took...

Why I’m Running: The Underdog

When I was seven, I inherited a hundred dollars from one of the whiskery great-great aunts my Memphis family had in abundance. (That’s all we had in abundance, and that ended up being my only inheritance.) I used the money to buy a typewriter, and I used the...

Why I’m Running: The Path

On February 13, 2017, I wrote an opinion column for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Less than a month into Donald Trump’s presidency, the country was so tense I felt like I was trapped in a house with the smoke alarms blaring. In my op-ed, I wrote about the cruel...

No More “Boys Will Be Boys”

Like most middle-aged people, I have some gauzy memories of summer. You know, playing kickball in the street, catching fireflies in jars, riding bikes until the streetlights came on. But here’s another summer memory that’s stuck with me: my neighbor Mark sitting in...

Magnets, Metaphors, and Morals

You might have noticed the arrow on my campaign signs. It’s a compass pointing north. “True north” is how I explained it to my husband when I got the idea. “Magnetic north,” he said. He’s a hiker. “It’s a metaphor,” I said. My mother, who spoke in metaphors, used to...

Boilerplate Email

Nothing makes my blood boil more than a boilerplate email from my government representative. If I’m concerned enough about an issue to call or write them, I expect something more than a canned reply.Don’t thank me for contacting you when you famously avoid contact...