Democrat running against Sen. Jack Johnson advocates health care reform for children, Tennesseans


Democrat running against Sen. Jack Johnson advocates health care reform for children, Tennesseans

PHOTO: Kristen Grimm will run against Sen. Jack Johnson this fall.//Submitted

By BROOKE WANSER

A Democratic candidate who hopes to run against Williamson County Sen. Jack Johnson held her first campaign fundraiser on Tuesday night.

Kristen Grimm hopes to challenge Johnson, who was first elected to represent Williamson County in the state senate in 2006. She first must get through the primary election on Aug. 2. The state general election follows, on Nov. 6.

Grimm and her family moved to Williamson County in 2001. She is originally from Kissimmee, Florida.

Grimm has four children: two daughters have graduated from Williamson County Schools, while her two sons are still in school.

Staying home to raise her children, she said, has been “one of the highest callings of my life.”

“Becoming a mother did interrupt my education,” she admitted, “but I think that being a mother is an education of itself. I think the world would be a lot better off if we had more mothers in the halls of the legislature and in our government.”

One of Grimm’s sons has a rare disease, undergoing many surgeries, which led her to a passion for healthcare activism and reform at the state level.

“Until we have true healthcare reform, we have to protect healthcare at the state level,” Grimm said.

One focus is Medicaid, which she pointed out pays for a large percentage of children’s hospital visits, especially those with serious illness.

She pointed to the numbers: only 44 percent of Tennesseans who are insured receive coverage from their employers.

“It’s my heart and soul and what I will commit my life to,” she said of healthcare reform.

Grimm praised Williamson County Schools for a positive impact on her family, but acknowledged the challenge growth presents. Grimm said she wants to advocate to fully fund the county schools, to an adequate measure.

A third key part of her campaign is being proactive about long-overdue updates and changes to infrastructure.

“It’s not a secret that we’re growing and we will continue to grow,” she said. “We need to plan ahead for all matters concerning our state infrastructure, roads, improving our development, and  getting ahead of infrastructure.”

As a representative, Grimm said she would advocate for Williamson County, keeping in mind the unique privileges that representation would bring.

“It’s important for us to realize we’re the wealthiest county, but we’re one of 95 counties,” Grimm said. “I believe our representatives we send up there to the legislature need to be individuals who understand that not all of the rest of the state looks like our county, and we have an extraordinary responsibility to be mindful of the fiscal constraints.”

Grimm points back to her grandparents, both of whom were deaf and met at the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind, as an inspiration for her stance on compassionate care and public education.

Now, her connection to her community fills her with pride and a desire to serve her fellow citizens.

“We not only live here, but we love the community we live in,” Grimm said. “We feel very blessed to be here.”

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