The field of candidates grew immediately from one to three with the announcement of Rep. Jimmy Eldridge’s retirement from his seat in District 73 (Madison Co.). The least recognizable name to me was Chris Todd. The field narrowed from 3 to 2, and now the choice could not be more clear for those, like me, who want consistent conservative representation.
I made my personal decision to vote for Chris after speaking with both he and his opponent, County Commissioner Jay Bush. When negative ads started showing up on Facebook, sponsored by House Majority Leader Glen Casada’s CAS-PAC, attacking Commissioner Bush for his vote to raise property taxes, I had to look deeper into Chris’ character. Here are the reasons why my support remains with Chris Todd.
Chris knows how wasteful state government can be. He worked for the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation out of college, and in his own words, “I had a little too much ambition to keep working for the State.” Chris has had to make a payroll and be profitable as the owner of Envirogreen, Inc., in spite of the oppressive red tape the bureaucracy wraps around construction contractors. Chris despises the way government picks winners and losers, rewarding cronies rather than awarding contracts based on the ability to get the job done. He will work hard to change the way state departments serve themselves rather than the public that pays them.
Chris knows the constitutional function of government. Rising education and healthcare costs are directly related to unconstitutional government intrusions into the free market. The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development wasting money on land that sits vacant for years doesn’t sit well with Chris. I’m confident that Chris will keep the constitutional function of state government in mind and vote to keep government out of people’s lives and pocketbooks and much as possible.
Chris has pledged not to raise taxes. Chris opposes the Gas Tax, which he knows was borne out of greed and misuse of highway funds, in spite of surging surplus tax revenue. Chris proposes to lower the sales tax and eliminating the tax on groceries, as Tennessee is set to continue seeing budget surpluses. Unlike his opponent, who doesn’t think the increase in fuel taxes has “hurt us too much,” Chris knows if it impacts truckers, it impacts all of us. Also, unlike the Commissioner, who voted to raise property taxes at the highest proposed rate last year and is unopposed in his bid for his second county commission term, Chris has never raised a tax on anyone. I’m confident that he won’t.
Chris is pro-life and he has lived it. It isn’t a campaign slogan. Chris was passed over for an endorsement by Tennessee Right To Life, which his opponent loves to point out. But Chris has served the cause of life through West Jackson Baptist Church and their support of Birth Choice crisis pregnancy center in Jackson. His wife Melissa is a former labor and delivery nurse who has witnessed the pain of babies lost and the beauty of adoption as families chose life. Finally, the Todd’s are survivors of loss due to a miscarriage at 16 weeks of pregnancy. They know the value of an unborn life and the pain of losing such a life personally. They are representative of the unknown masses of pro-life citizens who worked tirelessly to pass pro-life Amendment 1 in 2014.
Chris and his campaign have been attacked for the negative campaign tactics of political action committees like CAS-PAC that have ulterior motives to see Commissioner Bush lose. Unfortunately, the Bush campaign has taken cover behind the actions of others, launching direct attacks on Chris as a “negative campaigner.” As Commissioner Bush’s campaign has called for Chris to pledge not to vote for Rep. Casada for House Speaker, they have funded their attacks on Chris with PAC money from Rep. Charles Johnson, whom Commissioner Bush has acknowledged as an acquaintance and a threat to Rep. Casada’s speakership. Ignoring this connection and gladly spending the money, Bush has focused almost exclusively on smearing the Todd campaign on social media and with mailers.
Still, Chris has kept his focus on the issues and garnered endorsements or support from genuine conservative organizations he is proud to associate with, including the Tennessee Republican Assembly and the Tennessee Firearms Association. At every turn, Chris has denounced outside influences that are acting without his consent and outside of his high sense of decency, even sending back the check CAS-PAC wrote to his campaign. Chris’ only promise is to make decisions in Nashville based on the facts and the best interest of the people of his district and the State of Tennessee.
I support Chris Todd for State Representative because he has been nothing but honest, decent, and articulate in his defense of the Constitution and common folks. With the open seat in District 73, the last thing we need is to squander an opportunity to elect someone for whom conservative principles are not just a campaign slogan, but a way of life.
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Glen Gaugh is a conservative activist and mental health social worker in Jackson, Tennessee.