THE GREATNESS OF AMERICA
The greatness of our country is the freedom for people to try, and sometimes fail, but in many cases, to succeed beyond our wildest dreams. At the time of America’s founding, self-government was revolutionary. Our Founders believed that authentic liberty occurred when individuals were unconstrained by government. That freedom, matched with the amazing talents and abilities gifted to our citizens, has led to a prosperity unparalleled in human history. Unleashing the American spirit has fostered innovation, ideas, solutions, and enhancements spanning all walks of life.
In recent years, the federal government has clearly grown too big, weighing down the ingenuity and possibilities of Americans. That is an injustice. The cost of this overgrowth goes beyond the decreased productivity and loss of creativeness—it’s nearly bankrupted our country. We currently face numerous challenges as a nation. I believe it’s time to rein in the government to let Americans try and flourish once again.
OUR NATION’S DEBT
At over $21 trillion today, our national debt is perhaps the greatest threat to our children and grandchildren’s future. We should pass a Balanced Budget Amendment to ensure the federal government is subject to the same spending restraints as our states are. As a businessman, I understand that you either increase revenue, or you decrease spending if you want to fix a debt problem. We don’t have a revenue problem in America—we have a spending problem. The government needs to start living within its means, and cut unnecessary and wasteful programs. Cutting the federal debt will be my top priority if I get elected to Congress—and you can bet, I’ll make the hard choices even if it’s not politically popular.
THE U.S. ECONOMY
Our booming economy is proof that President Trump’s tax cuts and rollback of the regulatory state are working. Government first and foremost needs to get out of the way. Small businesses are the economic engine of America, and should be unleashed from the burdensome regulations. Regulations weigh the economy down by as much as $2 trillion annually, hampering productivity across industries. We also must continue to cut taxes at all levels of government to let businesses across the country innovate, invest, and hire more people. I am a firm believer in the Laffer Curve: Revenue increases with decreased taxes. In Tennessee, as a state senator, I’ve led the fight to lower taxes and successfully passed the repeal of the Hall Income Tax, making our state one of only two states to have ever repealed an income tax of any kind. We’ve proven the Laffer Curve to be true, cutting well over a billion dollars in taxes in a $37 billion budget, and witnessing massive revenue surpluses approximating $2 billion.
SECURITY, STABILITY, AND SAFETY
There are three levels of threat facing the United States and each requires a unique preparedness. As a combat veteran in both Afghanistan and Iraq, I understand the global challenges we face firsthand. Every overseas relationship, every dollar spent in the federal budget, and every leadership decision made should be evaluated for its impact on each of these:
Security: The future security of the United States is most threatened by Russia and China. China’s expansion in the South China Sea is a true concern. Island construction moves at a breakneck pace, along with an aggressive military posture toward American allies. America must continue to engage China on this issue, enforcing the findings of international courts while leveraging China’s oversight with North Korea. Russia continues to undermine the legitimate government in Ukraine. In addition, continued occupation of the Crimean Peninsula warrants strong sanctions. Russian and Chinese cyber attacks should be met with equal responses.
Stability: Between safety and security lies a third threat: stability. Both Iran and North Korea, the two emerging dangers from the Axis of Evil, intend to exert their capabilities to destabilize U.S. interests in regions they influence. While both have interests that go beyond instability, their current capabilities do not permit success...yet. A nuclear-capable North Korea threatens the westernmost parts of the United States and our allies in the Pacific. We must confront the advancement of delivery systems in North Korea before a missile is launched. Iran’s efforts throughout the Middle East designed to destabilize the region have been effective. President Trump was right to pull the U.S. out of the Iran deal, and sanctions must be reinstated and expanded on Iran.
Safety: Our greatest safety threats are from terrorist groups like ISIS and Al Qaeda. Our special operations forces, having taken this fight to the enemy for sixteen years, are the experts. We need to resource them, continue to train them, and let them do their jobs abroad and at home. The Joint Force’s senior leaders in counter-terrorism operations have the skills and need to be trusted to get it done.
As our unwavering ally in the Middle East, a strong and robust relationship between Israel and America is critical. We need to continue providing financial and defense support to Israel, confront Tehran’s rising aggression and nuclear ambitions, support Israel in the peace process, and combat movements to delegitimize Israel. Surrounded by adversaries, Israel’s security and ability to maintain its qualitative military edge should be a top priority for us. Congress must continue its financial commitment to Israel, especially funding to support its military and defense capabilities. We must also reinstate, and expand, sanctions on Iran, a country whose Supreme Leader has publicly called to annihilate Israel and bring “death to America”.
The U.S. should also support Israel in the peace process by promoting direct bilateral talks, instead of unilateral measures or pressure through international organizations like the United Nations. We must continue to support Israel’s right to defend itself against Hamas terrorist attacks, and ensure that any aid to the Palestinians is contingent on a commitment to nonviolence. And finally, on both the world stage and at home, we should take the lead in clearly and forcefully recognizing Israel’s legitimacy and its right to exist. In addition to providing this moral clarity, we should continue to leverage trade deals to pressure countries to end boycotts of Israel.
OUR MILITARY AND VETERANS
Military readiness is the acquisition of the right people, with the right leader, right equipment, and right training. Currently, under the adroit leadership of Secretary James Mattis, the United States military is actively addressing its acquisitions failures. It’s time government moves at the speed of business, which is the speed of now.
The men and women who serve in our armed forces are the greatest among us. Every effort must be made to give them the very best equipment when they fight, the best possible pay and benefits, a secure, well-equipped home base on which to train, and the essential services they deserve as veterans once their duty ends. Not one dollar of foreign U.S. aid or assistance should be offered or awarded until every dollar owed to every veteran is paid.
Having worn the uniform for 20 years, and now having a son in the Army, no one will fight for our veterans more than I will. I have championed legislation to help our veterans in the State Senate, and will continue fighting for them if elected to Congress.
Legal immigration is necessary for the continued strength of our economy. However, illegal immigration threatens the safety of individual Americans, the financial strength of the country, and an injustice to those who immigrate legally to our great country and honor our laws. The first and immediate step we need to take is to secure the border. I support President Trump’s plan to build a wall and deploy more border patrol agents to the border. It is imperative that we enforce current federal law both at the border and across the country. Just this year, I passed an anti-sanctuary cities bill that adds teeth to Tennessee’s sanctuary cities law. I also passed a bill forbidding municipalities from creating their own forms of identification. States also need to mandate employers use E-Verify systems to make sure they are not hiring illegal immigrants.
Any reform of health care must start with the repeal of Obamacare. The law is not only unworkable and unaffordable for the everyday American, it has crushed small businesses by shifting enormous costs onto their backs.
We must put free market principles back into health care. Here is one example: as a State Senator, I innovated and passed a pilot project bill to create a patient-centered and patient-controlled option for our state’s Medicaid population. Simply put, it’s a medical expense swipe card with a reduced amount of dollars available for medical purchases coupled with a catastrophic insurance plan. The recipient is told the card is for healthcare expenses and the card is only usable at allowed facilities—and any money they do not use comes back to them with their earned income credit, thus incentivizing them to shop for lower prices and save money. Until we put free market principles back into healthcare, we cannot fix it. Consumer-centered health care shifts control of choice, decisions and payment to the patients and their providers, removing the power of the insurance companies and the government.
THE SANCTITY OF LIFE
As a physician, I know firsthand that life begins at conception, and it’s our moral responsibility as humans to protect the most vulnerable among us. As one of only seven countries that allow elective abortions after 20 weeks in the world—in the company of North Korea—passing the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act should be an easy first step. We also must prioritize defunding Planned Parenthood. There are over 13,000 community health clinics that can provide the women’s services that Planned Parenthood purports to provide. It’s well past time to defund Planned Parenthood. We need to protect doctors and nurses from being required to perform abortions, as well as ensure that the Hyde Amendment is never violated in new legislation. And, finally, we need to continue to appoint judges committed to the original intent of the Constitution.
K-12 education is the future of our country. However, education should be completely controlled by states and local governments, not the federal government. The federal Department of Education has no business in our children’s education and should be abolished. Until it is shut down, and the money in the department budget returned to the states, I would support legislation like APLUS to start dismantling the Department’s control on education funding and requirements and give that money back to the states as block grants. As a strong supporter of parental choice in education, I have championed every attempt in the State Senate to create and advance school choice, but not at the expense of K-12 education. Opportunity scholarships should be provided from separate funds, thus assisting parents who make a choice other than public education without hurting those students who would best be served in public education. It is the parent—not unelected bureaucrats—who is best suited to determine the ideal environment where their child can learn.
THE 2ND AMENDMENT
The Constitution protects the right to bear arms, but neither the document nor the government gives us that right. The right to protect ourselves--and our families—comes from our Creator, which is why government cannot take it away. In the State Senate, I have led the fight to expand gun rights to law-abiding citizens and championed the constitutional carry bill in the state. I defended each of the freedoms in the Constitution when I went to Iraq and Afghanistan, and if elected to Congress, you can count on me to continue fighting for the Second Amendment.
SEPARATION OF POWERS
From our nation’s founding until the 1950s or so, the analysis of the Constitution was intended to be the original meaning of the words contained in the document. Today, however, instead of a legislative branch that makes laws, the new “lawmakers” of the land have become the whim of nine judges on the Supreme Court. They can easily create and restrict rights according what they believe the Constitution “ought to say” in today’s setting.
The Judiciary has overtaken the legislative branch, and the greatest battle in Washington is now picking who the next justice will be. The impact of the living interpretation of the U.S. Constitution has led us down a path of destroying the very separation of powers envisioned by our Founders, and disrupted the elected voice of the people. Our Founders wisely mistrusted power in the hands of the few, and I believe the great experiment known as America has thrived in large part because no one individual has had too much power. But, unfortunately, over the years, politicians, bureaucrats, and judges have forgotten the Constitutional limits of their power. That’s why I’m running for Congress, and if elected, I will fight to restore the separation of powers as intended by our Founding Fathers.
I have signed the U.S. Term Limits Pledge. Our Founders did not intend to create a permanent political class in Washington. They intended for people to serve in Congress for a season and then return to their communities afterward. Not only should we have term limits for members of Congress, I believe we need term limits for our vast federal bureaucracy as well. The last thing we want to do is for congressional term limits to inadvertently further empower the unelected bureaucrats that have grown to become a powerful fourth branch of government.
Bills sponsored by Mark Green during term as State Senator (108th General Assembly - 110th General Assembly)