News Channel 11 distributed questionnaires to all congressional and state candidates who will appear on ballots in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia in the November election.
Below is the response we received from Kate Craig, who is running for the Tennessee Senate District 3 seat.
Early voting in Tennessee runs from Oct. 19 to Nov. 3. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 8.
Name: Kate Craig
Office running for (including district): Tennessee Senate District 3—Washington, Carter, and Johnson Counties
Age on election day: 41
Town/city: I live in Johnson City
Party affiliation: Democrat
- ETSU: Earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science with a minor in Leadership Studies
- American University: Earned a Master of Public Administration, graduate certificate in Women, Policy, and Political Leadership
- Program coordinator, Girl Scouts of the Appalachian Council, Inc.
- Agency relations and volunteer coordinator, Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee
- Financial analyst II, Northrop Grumman/TASC supporting the Self-Defense Test Ship for the U.S. Navy
- Owner, Kate Craig Photography
- Program manager, Insight Alliance
- Customer relations and marketing director, McClaskey Excellence Institute
Political, community, or other relevant experience:
- Columnist, The East Tennessean (ETSU Student Paper)
- Columnist, The Eagle (American University Student Paper)
- Graduated from American University’s Campaign Management Institute
- Volunteer, Running Start (Bi-Partisan organization to support women in politics.)
- Volunteer, Arlington Public Library
- Volunteer, Washington County Animal Shelter
- Chair, Washington County Democratic Party
- Volunteer, Moms Demand Action
Family: Married to Kristin Langston
Why are you running for this office?
I’m running for office because we deserve common sense in Nashville. We deserve better than the medical monopoly Rusty Crowe changed the state law to create. We’ve seen our access to care go down and healthcare prices go up. I’m tired of our teachers and public schools being attacked, and I’m tired of friends and neighbors dying of fentanyl while law enforcement aren’t getting the resources they need to stop the dealers from bringing dangerous drugs into our community. We are a community, yet right now we have a 32-year incumbent who works to divide us.
What makes you qualified to hold this office?
Growing up in Johnson City and Elizabethton fostered a deep love for this community. My family moved here after my father got out of the Navy and these mountains became home. I graduated from the Johnson City Public School System and then East Tennessee State University. My first jobs were in this community, working to help young women develop leadership skills and working to address hunger in Northeast Tennessee. Service to our community and this nation is a value I learned from my family and was why I worked for the U.S. Navy, supporting the Self-Defense Test Ship. As a Northeast Tennessean, I want all of us to be able to live our lives as we see fit while having opportunities to thrive.
Why should voters elect or re-elect you over your opponent(s)? What sets you apart from your opponent(s)? (Specify if unopposed)
I’m running to replace a 32-year incumbent who has lost touch with our community, something that became evident when he changed state law to create the largest medical monopoly in the nation from which we’ve seen our access to care go down and our cost for healthcare go up. Medical professionals in the system aren’t getting the support they need. We deserve better.
Fentanyl overdoses have taken the lives of so many community members. Our community is and has been in crisis. And while getting more Narcan is good, I’m tired of accepting crumbs for solutions. For example, expanding Medicaid is critical and we also must address the lag time at the state for the medical examiner to get law enforcement expedited reports so dangerous drug dealers can be prosecuted. Right now, the law is 90 days and local law enforcement have stated that in that time, those drug dealers have left and our community is still vulnerable for the next attack.
If elected or re-elected, what would be your top two or three priorities during your new term and what is your plan of action for each?
I will be a champion for affordable, accessible healthcare. This includes addressing the issue of the medical monopoly Rusty Crowe changed the state law to create as well as expanding Medicaid, something Rusty Crowe has failed to do as chair of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee. Expanding Medicaid wouldn’t cost taxpayers anything. In fact, it would be getting back $5.57 million a day of Tennessee taxpayer dollars we’ve already spent back from the federal government. This would insure hundreds of thousands of Tennesseans and help us adequately address overdoses and the opioid epidemic. It’s fiscally irresponsible Rusty Crowe did not champion this.
I would fully fund our public schools and work to ensure no taxpayer money went to funding private charter schools — initiatives that have and will continue to increase our property taxes and tear apart our schools. I am the only candidate in this race who can say that I have not nor will I ever accept charter school PAC money. My words and my actions align. I will not pay lip service to teachers, students, parents, or school administrators.
Is there anything else you would like voters to know?
We are a community, united by geography, a love of Appalachia, and a shared value in doing things for ourselves. I’m tired of Rusty Crowe and extreme members of the Tennessee Legislature attacking our friends and neighbors, threatening our public schools, limiting and eliminating our freedoms, as well as dividing our communities. We deserve better and I will bring common sense to Nashville. Check out my full platform at katecraigtn.com.
Fun question: What is your favorite thing about Northeast Tennessee?
As a Northeast Tennessean, I learned at a very young age the value of hard work and how to make something happen. Nothing was going to be handed to me in this life, which meant I had to learn how to be strong, creative, adaptive, as well as develop a love for learning. I see this in how we take care of each other when crisis happens— from a medical emergency to the Gatlinburg fires in 2016. We don’t ask for someone to come in and save us; we do it ourselves and for each other. As such, this is also how I define community. We bake casseroles, run errands, and donate supplies to our neighbors in need. We step up— whether we’ve been asked yet or not. We work hard to revitalize our downtowns, to strengthen our economy, to open and grow our own businesses. Together, we celebrate our successes. But all of this is at risk as our communities are under attack with elected officials working to divide us. I love this community far too much to sit back and do nothing.
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