Address by Mike Faulk announcing his candidacy for the Tennessee SenateROGERSVILLE, TENNESSEE-Thank yous & recognition: All MF family members whose blessing I first sought
I love campaigning, meeting people, visiting. But there’s one part of campaigning with which I’m still not comfortable. I grew up in a house where it was impolite to talk about yourself. If I expect you to vote for me, I suppose you’d like to know a little something about me. My Mom is here this evening and I have her permission to relax that rule a little bit.
Mom represents the 7th and I the 8th generation of her family that has called Hawkins County home. I’m proud of my little mama. She co-authored her first book at age 70 on our ancestor, Daniel Jones. She insists on my siblings and me knowing our genealogy. So if you’re a Dykes, a Jones, a Mullins, or a Wallen – we’re related and your cousin Mike needs your vote!
If you know much about the Scots-Irish, you know about me. I come from a family of farmers, factory workers, hunters and fishermen. Daniel Jones, one of my ancestors, fought as one of the Over the Mountain Men at the Battle of Kings Mountain – the battle many say turned the tide in the Revolutionary War. If you’ve read U. S. Sen. James Webb’s book: “Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America”, you know a good fight is in my genes.
We’re a fiercely independent breed that resents being told what to do – especially by the government. Now I don’t believe in no government. And I don’t believe in a “do-nothing” government. But I do believe in limited government.
I’m against any income tax, against abortion, and against illegal immigration. I’m for the death penalty and the right to bear arms. I’m for spending your money that you allow the government to take from you on those essential government functions we can agree on: public safety, good roads, clean water.
I’m for holding our lottery scholarship standards high and using the excess lottery money to help communities build schools.
I’m appalled that every few years we want to re-invent our education system. Teachers know how to improve our education system. Give them more time to teach and less time to do paper work. Give them fewer students so each child gets more attention. Allow them to teach not just for knowledge to pass some standardized test, but also let them teach our children to reason and analyze and think for themselves. Instead of re-inventing the wheel, I say we polish up the one we’ve got.
With tough economic times on the horizon, no one wants to talk about it today, but it’s a shame that we have a sales tax on groceries. I can’t imagine building a multi-million dollar banquet hall for the Governor’s Mansion when our people can’t put food on the supper table without having to pay nearly 10% in sales tax.
From the hay fields of the Caney Hawkins farm where I grew up, to the Dykes clan tobacco barn, from bagging groceries at Harper & Ladd Super Market to playing on the Church Hill High School basketball team, from college to graduate school to law school, and here in courtroom battles in Hawkins County and all over East Tennessee, I’ve tried to apply dad’s advise: “There will always be somebody smarter, just make darn sure they don’t’ out work you.”
He believed - in the long run - hard work always pays off. Any government program or tax that provides a disincentive to work is suspect in my book and has to be closely scrutinized.
I’ve worked especially hard over the last decade trying make our streets a little safer by getting drunk drivers off our roads, A substantial part of my living has come from suing drunk drivers who injure others. And I have no apology to make for it. So, Governor Ramsey, if the Republican Party is serious about getting tough on drunk drivers – help is on the way.
People don’t much care for lawyers – sometimes not even our own clients. When you sit down at my office conference table you'll see a quote from a pretty fair country lawyer, Abraham Lincoln, which has guided me in my law business. It reads: "Discourage litigation. Persuade your neighbors to compromise whenever you can . . . As a peacemaker the lawyer has a superior opportunity of being a good man. There will still be business enough."
You all have your favorite lawyer jokes. Here’s mine: “do you know what you call a lawyer gone bad? Senator!”
Let me close by telling you about the keychain on your table. This is a symbolic keychain. It’s the chain that holds the Keys to a Better Tennessee. On the end with the ring, there’s a light. On top there’s a compass. And on the other end, there’s a whistle [blow].
The whistle is to remind me that if I don’t remember my roots, if I don’t remember who sent me, if I ignore the wishes of the party which sent me, if I can't find my way home from Nashville, if I quit the team instead of working to improve the team, you should blow the whistle on me.
The compass is there to remind me to keep my bearings straight. To me that means a lean, limited government with low taxes that does well the essential things we can’t do for ourselves and doesn’t try to be all things to all people.
The light is meant to remind you that sometimes it takes new leadership to light the way to a better future.
These are my keys to the State Senate. These are the Republican party’s keys to a majority in the Senate. And for all of us, these are the Keys to a Better Tennessee.