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 Rusty Crowe, who is running for re-election to the Tennessee Senate District 3 seat.

Early voting in Tennessee runs from Oct. 19 to Nov. 3. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 8.

Biographical information

Name: Senator Rusty Crowe

Office running for (including district): Tennessee Senate District 3

Age on election day: 75

Town/city: Johnson City

Party affiliation (if applicable): Republican

Education: BS, JD

Political, community, or other relevant experience: Board member, First Tennessee Human Development Agency; board member, First Tennessee Development District; member, Johnson City Lions Club; member, American Legion Post 24.

Family (married? children?): Married, two children

Candidacy questions

Why are you running for this office?

We are in a time where it is critical to elect leaders that protect our state’s values and freedom. It is important that I use the seniority, knowledge and experience I have gained through my Senate tenure to keep our state strong and moving forward. I received an overwhelming response of support from my constituents asking me to run again. I love serving my community and getting to hear from constituents. I am proud of what we have been able to accomplish together.

What makes you qualified to hold this office?

I have served my country as a decorated Vietnam War veteran, completed my B.S. degree in criminal justice from ETSU, completed my Juris Doctor degree from Atlanta Law School, served as president of the ETSU Staff Senate, and served as a commissioner within the Tennessee Department of Corrections. Currently, I am working in wound care and hyperbaric medicine. My background knowledge and education coupled with my extensive legislative experience and seniority has prepared me to serve the 3rd Senate District well.

Why should voters elect or re-elect you over your opponent(s)? What sets you apart from your opponent(s)? (Specify if unopposed)

My platform for the people of the 3rd Senate District is lower taxes, less government, personal responsibility, faith, family, and protecting the freedoms that our citizens and veterans have sacrificed to protect. I will continue to work faithfully and tirelessly for these values and my constituents.

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?

There will be many important issues to deal with. Examples of top priorities are:

A) Dealing with the economy, inflation and workforce development problems brought about by poor decisions made at the national level.

I will continue to work hard to make sure Tennessee remains the number one state for fiscal management. We need to continue to keep taxes low and balance our budgets while cutting spending. To address our critical workforce issues, I was proud to sponsor our new middle college laws that will result in thousands of high school students now being able to graduate from high school with not only a high school diploma but a career technical diploma as well. I will be working to help implement and assure we have the resources to make this successful. I was also able to create our new Tennessee Center for the Advancement of Nursing. The next step will be working through this center to find solutions to deal with our critical nursing shortages. Very importantly, we need to instill personal responsibility and work ethic into our able-bodied workforce. This year, we passed legislation to help get our needy families back on their feet and help them get off of government assistance. Northeast Tennesseeans are of proud heritage and I will be working with the First Tennessee Development District to make this successful.

B) Having passed new abortion restrictions, our focus needs now to be on giving young mothers the resources and assistance needed to keep their baby if they so choose; help them become self-sufficient and help them raise their baby in a healthy environment. Additionally, we need to work to improve Tennessee’s adoption and foster care programs while ensuring the protection of the child.  As chairman of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee, I plan to work closely with our faith-based institutions, state agencies and departments to first determine what we currently have to offer and where we are lacking in proper safety nets for these young women. We will then pull together best practices to develop and implement programs.

C) We need a continued focus on the tough-on-crime, mandatory sentencing and justice reforms we put in place this past session, with Truth in Sentencing. This past session we passed tough mandatory sentencing laws to make sure that violent criminals, like the ones that perpetrated the recent murders in Memphis, will not be released early. I will be meeting with our state law enforcement agencies as well as with representatives from our local police, sheriffs and district attorneys to review our current laws to see how we might close more gaps in our criminal justice system to ensure maximum safety for our communities.

Is there anything else you would like voters to know?

I am proud to have been honored as one of Tennessee’s top conservatives and have thus far been endorsed by Tennessee Education Association, Tennessee Right to Life, Tennessee’s Firefighters Association, The National Federation of Independent Business, and Tennessee State Employees Association.

Fun question: What is your favorite thing about Northeast Tennessee?

The people I represent and our rich history. In Washington County with Jonesborough being our state’s oldest Town and Washington College Academy being our state’s oldest school. In Carter County, on the banks of the Watauga river, where the first organized majority rule form of American government was established; and, in Johnson County, our most eastern county, which is known for its rich Native American history, just to name a few.