Time Management

Time Management

by | May 21, 2024 | From the Campaign Trail

The candidate survey nobody sent me

When I ran for State House in 2022, the first of many candidate surveys I received was from the Tennessee Firearms Association. I read the whole thing through, answered every question, added unsolicited comments in the margins (the gist being that gun-industry shills have blood on their hands), and mailed it back to them.

When I got the TFA survey this year, I threw it away myself.

I understand now that the TFA survey isn’t a survey, and it isn’t meant for Democratic candidates. It’s a litmus test for Republican candidates, meant to intimidate them into toeing the gun-industry line.

The implied threat is that any Republican candidate who challenges the “all gun regulations are unconstitutional gun grabs” narrative will face a TFA-backed primary opponent next election cycle.

To be clear, no one takes the TFA as seriously as it takes itself. It’s not staking any ground that the National Rifle Association hasn’t already held for years. The TFA is what you’d get if a couple of kids who used to steal other kids’ lunch money grew up and decided to get in on the NRA grift. Its analog survey was vaguely threatening, warning that failure to respond will be interpreted as a “no” to all questions. Worked for me.

I’ve gotten better at time management.

I didn’t respond to the survey from the National Federation of Independent Business only because it was nearly thirty yes-or-no questions, many so esoteric that I couldn’t comfortably answer without doing research I didn’t have time to do.

Do I support Right to Work laws? No, I’ve done the research. I know R2W laws benefit corporations at the expense of hourly workers. Do I support the professional privilege tax? No idea. It seems wrong on its face to single out five professions and make those people pony up $400 a year on top of their license and certification fees. My mind is open. I need to know more.

I did respond to the Tennessee Growers Coalition’s blessedly brief survey asking for my views on legalizing marijuana. To me the benefits are clear: more opportunities for small farmers, more tax dollars to fund critical services, fewer nonviolent offenders in our prisons, a well-regulated and therefore safer product, and a potential non-pharmaceutical solution for people struggling with anxiety or depression.

People desperately need representation in Tennessee’s government—unlike the gun industry and for-profit prisons and big pharmaceutical companies.

“Will you represent things, or will you represent people?” That’s a binary question I’m comfortable answering.

I wish candidate surveys would ask that. It would save everyone time.

If you want more state legislators who’ll represent people, please join my team! Click to donate, volunteer, or get a yard sign.