Lori believes that every life is precious, and she is committed to protecting every child born and unborn. Lori believes abortion is never the answer for unplanned pregnancies and has supported alternatives such as the Hope Pregnancy Center for many years.
Lori’s childhood was spent around firearms, and she is a gun owner herself. She knows the importance of defending our constitutional right to bear arms. Lori will fight the federal government, anti-2nd Amendment lobby, and liberal activists at the State Capitol to protect these fundamental rights of every Tennessee citizen.
The State of Tennessee neither wants nor needs federal involvement in managing our state. Federal over-reach into our governing laws is unacceptable, and decrees are irrelevant to our state operations. Whether it be important issues dealing with refugees settling in our state, protecting our religious liberties, or who is allowed into our children’s bathrooms; the debate on these issues should be led by our state, not an overreaching president with a liberal agenda. Lori Smith will fight the infringement of Tennessee’s constitutional rights at every turn.
As the granddaughter of two WWII veterans, the daughter-in-law of a two-tour Vietnam veteran, Lt Col (Ret) Riley J Smith, and the sister-in-law of Naval Commander (Ret) Brian M Allen, protecting our veterans is personal to Lori Smith. With many friends who are active duty, these communities understand the unique challenges and stresses of deployment, and try to serve our friends with support and prayer, and when appropriate aid from State Government.
1. Restoring property tax relief for disabled veterans, low income elderly and disabled citizens. In 2015, the state legislature, to avoid potential costs, broke their promise to our disabled veterans, by reducing the incentives offered through the Property Tax Relief program. In 2016, with nearly a one billion dollar surplus, our legislature refused to restore the Property Tax Relief in full. The program must be fully restored. Managing the growth of the program is easily achieved through endowment and investment programs. Lori will make restoring this program her top priority as Senator.
2. PTSD. There is a shortage of mental health professionals due to the laborious and burdensome licensure process both for the individual seeking credentials and the mentoring professional. With leadership from our legislature, this process could be streamlined, reducing the shortage of mental health professionals thus providing greater access to mental health specialists for PTSD services. Lori will provide that leadership.
Our state is at a critical juncture with education. Our standards should truly be defined by our state, not the federal government. Standardized testing must align to our standards, and the amount of testing must be reduced. Students being served with classroom and testing accommodations should receive those same accommodations on the tests in order to allow them to demonstrate their subject content knowledge.
The communication between the Tennessee Department of Education and our school districts must improve. Schools need clear, transparent expectations and goals. TDOE should facilitate growth through leadership, not hinder growth with vague, undefined direction and increasing “red tape”.
Throughout our district, Lori Smith has talked to Directors of Schools, teachers, administrators, students and parents. She has asked how our legislature may assist the schools’ stakeholders, and what legislative direction is burdensome. As your State Senator, this dialogue and input will be a regular part of her service to the district.
Having volunteered in schools, served as a Partner in Education for schools, and served on the board of the Education Foundation directly impacting teachers and students, Lori has a keen understanding our school needs. As the parents of student with a reading challenge, she understands the need for special services. For the past ten months, Lori advocated for students with dyslexia and led the fight to pass legislation providing early screening and intervention for the 20% of students who have dyslexia. The legislation, sponsored by Representative Joe Pitts and Senator Delores Gresham, passed the house and senate unanimously, has been signed into law by Governor Haslam and becomes law on July 1st, 2016. Lori, and her daughter Ryann, were honored to join Gov. Haslam and others at the official bill signing.
When Lori Smith left corporate America, she was responsible for $650M of transactional volume. She had no idea that running a small business would be exponentially more difficult! The communities in our district are built on small businesses. Small businesses fuel our economy and with their growth, comes the growth of local revenues through higher disposable incomes and sales tax collections. State government should remove barriers to entry, regulations, and tax burdens. Proven small businesses should receive incentives for growth. There are also innovative ways to encourage and incentivize small businesses to offer benefits such as healthcare insurance.