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Burchett speaks to Farragut Republicans

Though arriving a few minutes late for his address to Farragut Republican Club Thursday, Aug. 9, at Gondolier Restaurant, State Sen. Tim Burchett (R-7th District) packed a variety of issues and opinions into his 15-minute address.

Concerning TennCare, “We’ve bragged how this administration’s fixed TennCare. The reality is all we did is kick the sickest people off,” Burchett said. “We didn’t fix TennCare. And that year that we claimed we fixed TennCare, we added $200 million additional dollars to it. But you’re not hearing that in the press.

“But, you gotta remember too, we passed a one-cent sales tax increase right before [Gov. Phil Bredesen] took office,” Burchett added. “When [Don] Sundquist took office from [Ned Ray] McWhorter, he inherited a $500 million debt basically due to TennCare. Then the last days of Sundquist’s administration, we passed a one-cent sales tax increase.

“And now this governor has inherited the exact opposite: he has inherited a half-a-billion [dollar] surplus. He’s spent it very well, it’s spent, [or] it will be spent.”

As one of only two Senators voting against a “Pre-K” preschool public teaching initiative, “I said, ‘is this going to be a statewide initiative?’” Burchett recalled. “And they said, ‘absolutely not, we’re just doing it in these trial areas.’ Of course, what did we do this year? It’s a statewide initiative.”

Referring to his constituents, “Those people can raise their own dad-gum kids, government doesn’t need to be in the business of raising kids,” Burchett said. ”One of my Senators from Blount County is always fond of saying, ‘Pre-K programs, outside of teaching them advanced potty training and crayon coloration, with Pre-K that’s pretty much what it is, just a babysitting service.’”

On the other hand, Burchett said concerning church-based care, “We’ve demonized them and drove them out of business. And now who’s in the business of raising our kids? The government is, and that’s a scary thought.”

About “getting tougher on child molesters,” Burchett added he was “sponsor to several pieces of that legislation.

“I actually attached an amendment on a bill, which hasn’t gotten to the press yet, and the A-C-L-U will reign down on me as they always do, which I enjoy,” Burchett said of his initiative where child molesters would face the death penalty “in some circumstances.”

Saying “sex offenders and drug addicts” make up a high percentage of the state prison population, “We’re going to have to rethink this whole drug thing,” Burchett said. “I don’t want to get soft on drug use, but we’ve got to treat drug abusers, we don’t need to put them in prison with a bunch of sex offenders.

“An 18-year-old kid gets busted with a couple of grams of cocaine and he goes to prison and gets sexually abused. He needs to get treatment. Now if he commits a crime to pay for that, that’s a different thing.”

Burchett discussed government preservation of “several thousand acres up on the Cumberland Plateau, which, on the surface sounds like a great idea … everybody says we need to preserve that for our grandkids and all this. I made a statement, I said, ‘What’s wrong with people coming in and buying this property … five acres and putting a nice house on it and paying taxes?’

“I got the ugliest e-mails … saying, ‘what are you talking about?” Burchett added. “’This is American, we need to preserve this.’ Congressman Duncan is always good to point out that over half of our property is now owned by the city, county or state


“We don’t end up paying taxes on it. … I think it’s a very slippery slope. It doesn’t work in Cuba, it doesn’t work in China, and it sure as heck doesn’t work in Tennessee.”

Concerning illegal immigration, Burchett said fellow Hispanics are “selling their own countrymen basically into slavery. … Being sold into prostitution … one of ’em has [tuberculosis] and they all have T-B. It’s a huge


“I passed a law that said if you bring ’em into state, you can pay a $1,000 per person fine,” Burchett added. “My liberal friends got after me and said, ‘You’re creating a hunting license for these people.’ And I said, ‘You’re absolutely right.’ If the Knox County Sheriff’s Office catches a busload of 60 people, guess what? That’s $60,000, they’ll lose that bus right there. You catch one or two of those and they get the message. … We’ve got to de-magnetize the state.”

Countering the argument that illegal aliens “only do the jobs Americans don’t want to do,” Burchett countered: “I’ll tell you what, they’re just doing jobs Americans won’t do for $2 an hour. That’s the bottom line. We’ve got to get control of this thing.”

However, he noted, “I’m not against Hispanics, my sister-in-law is Hispanic. She’s a first-generation American.

She’s a very prominent doctor here in town.”


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