Diane Black talks new border wall bill, opioid crisis ahead of November election


Diane Black talks new border wall bill, opioid crisis ahead of November election

By REBEKAH JONES

Diane Black’s life has always been about goals.

She wanted to become a nurse, so she got her license. She wanted to open a business, so she did (and then opened another), she wanted to work in government at the federal level, so she became a member of Congress.

Now, she has her sights set on becoming the Governor of Tennessee.

“I went to Congress with three goals in mind,” Black said, during an interview with Home Page Media. “I said from the beginning when I accomplish those three goals that I would be ready to come back to Tennessee.”

During the eight years that she worked in Washington D.C. she tried accomplish those three goals, which were to control spending with a stricter budget, accomplish tax reform and repeal Obamacare. Obviously, not all of those have been carried out fully, but Black said she is hopeful that the team she is leaving behind will be able to complete them.

Black said that as the budget chair, she was able to spearhead passing “the most conservative budget that has been passed in 20 years.” However, the budget did not pass in the Senate, therefore it has not been approved.

She said that tax reform is the second item on her list that she was able to check off through reconciliation from both parties.

Lastly, she wanted to carry out a controversial, big ticket item: repealing Obamacare, which has significantly increased the amount of Americans who have insurance and expanded Medicaid, covering those with low incomes. But limitations in providers, high premiums for those buying on the open market, and, originally, a requirement that people have insurance or pay a tax penalty, led to strident opposition from Republicans.

Although the repeal has also not been completed, Black said they have made clear steps and have now allowed “people to have a choice on what kind of insurance they want at a cost they can afford.”

Black credits her extensive experience as a nurse as her reason for being so involved in healthcare policy.

Another issue that Black holds close is immigration. She is known for her outspoken views on illegal immigrants and support for building President Trump’s border wall.

“Of course our immigration system has been broken for years and it’s time we fix that,” she said. “You can’t fix a leaky gas tank unless you fix the hole.”

She believes that through the increased funding of ICE officers, aerial monitoring equipment and the wall, illegal immigration will begin to see a huge decrease. She added that amnesty should not be involved in the immigration process.

Most recently, Black has dedicated her time to introducing a new crowdfunding bill, titled the Border Wall Trust Fund Act, that allows Americans to donate money to fund building the wall.

Black said that the feedback has been great. She added that people have said they are “waiting for the opportunity when the fund is set up so they can send a check.”

It is still in the preliminary stages, though, and will need to be sponsored and brought to the floor before it can be approved by President Trump.

The first item that Black said she would like to accomplish as governor is solving the opioid crisis. She said it can be done by education and prevention, stricter law enforcement and recovery and treatment plans. She also said disbanding pill mills is an added step that needs to be taken.

As far as what she will bring to the role of  Governor of Tennessee should she be elected?

Experience, she said. This is the main quality that Black said sets her apart from her opponents.

“I am the only candidate that has that unique experience where I have served at the state level… I understand very well about how state government works,” she said. “I understand how the legislature works… I know what needs to be done in working together.”

She added, “I now have that experience at the federal level,” mentioning contacts Vice President Pence and President Trump.

She also mentioned her roles as both an educator, business owner, and executive director of Sumner Regional Medical Center, which she believes make her a well-rounded option for the governor seat.

The Tennessee gubernatorial election will be held November 6.

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