NASHVILLE, Tennessee — Freshman State Representative Bruce Griffey (R-Paris) sat down with The Tennessee Star to give an update on the open forum held Thursday about the Asian carp invasion of Tennessee waters that has significantly impacted his district covering Henry, Benton and Stewart counties.
As previously reported, what might seem on its surface as a relatively benign issue, the invasive Asian carp not only causes damage to the aquatic ecosystem, but, due to their size, are capable of causing physical injuries to boaters. Griffey shared that just this week, a friend caught three 70-pound Bighead carp.
The presence of the Asian carp has had a significant financial impact as well.
Said Griffey, “They’ve demolished the sport fishing industry to the extent that the bass fishing tournaments are leaving the Kentucky Lake area and actually Chattanooga has scored three of the big bass tournaments that were normally at Kentucky Lake. Each one of those bass tournaments represents about $1 million in tax revenue for local industry and businesses, and that’s $3 million that we’re going to lose this year in my district.”
Expressing appreciation for leadership, Griffey said, “We are fortunate that Speaker Casada has decided to make this an important topic to discuss and get the legislature’s attention.”
Griffey was asked to share his thoughts on the invasion at the nation’s southern border and any planned legislation to address the issue in Tennessee.
As a former prosecutor, assistant district attorney and attorney, Griffey emphasized that “It’s just flat out wrong,” for a certain group of people to ignore or disregard our laws. As a freshman legislator, Griffey said, “I want to try to strengthen our laws that we have to make sure we don’t have illegal aliens in our state, that we reduce any incentives that we have in the state that might attract illegal aliens to try to come here.”
A strong supporter of President Donald Trump, Griffey said he “Absolutely” supports the wall and admits he’s “kind of puzzled” as to why people “don’t get President Trump.” Griffey explains that President Trump’s “interest and focus is on the little person,” and that illegal immigration hurts those people.
“If we continue to allow people in here illegally that get hired on a cash basis or lower than the minimum wage,” Griffey continues, “that artificially suppresses wages for the most vulnerable Americans that need higher wages so they can take care of their family.”
“We’ve got to get the wages up for the people of the lowest economic ladder rung, so that’s what I want to try to do as a state legislator.”
Watch The Star’s exclusive interview here.