Endorsement Nominee: Craig Fitzhugh

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The Indivisible East Tennessee Endorsement Committee reviewed candidate questionnaires and interviewed them by phone. They unanimously nominated Craig Fitzhugh for an endorsement. A majority vote of our Indivisible community will secure the endorsement. (Scroll down to register to vote!) Fitzhugh will answer your questions LIVE on our Facebook page - Sunday, June 24th at 5:30 p.m.

 

Candidate Questionnaire 

In 350 words or less, explain why you are running for office:

I am running for governor of Tennessee because I believe my 24 year body of work as a legislator, Chair of the House Finance Ways and Means Committee and service as the Democrats’ House Minority Leader has uniquely positioned and qualified me to lead our Volunteer state.  I am also a bit more “unique” among my opponents in the race in that I am a native West Tennessean and rural Democrat; proudly the only U.S. Armed Forces veteran in the race; have run a small business and know what it means to make a payroll; am a first generation college graduate who attended the undergraduate and law school at the University of Tennessee; and I have led the fight in the Tennessee House of Representatives for the expansion of Medicaid in Tennessee since the passage of the Affordable Care Act—the greatest moral failure of the General Assembly in my nearly quarter century of service.  I firmly believe that the healthiest— physical, economic and environmental—and best educated Tennessee is the pathway to a prosperous, just and opportunity filled state for all who call the Volunteer State home.  Every Tennessean, no matter who they are or where they start out in life, needs to be able to see a doctor when they need to, educate their children in high-quality public schools, and go to a good job that pays a fair wage. In short, our campaign’s slogan is the embodiment of my reason for wanting to serve as your governor: I believe we all do better, when we ALL do better.

Democracy for the People

1.      Do you support requiring candidates to release federal tax returns to be on your state’s ballot?

Yes: I do support releasing candidate tax returns. I was the first one in this race to do so.

2.      Do you support redistricting reform to prevent partisan gerrymandering?

Yes, I do support redistricting reform.

3.      Do you support automatic voter registration, early registration, and high school registration?

Yes, I do support automatic registration and have supported legislation for this measure while serving in the legislature.

4.      Do you support vote by mail? Yes

5.      Do you support the restoration of voting rights to incarcerated or formerly incarcerated people regardless of their crime? Yes

6.      Do you support campaign finance disclosure laws for state elections that require ballots to display the top donors for each candidate?

I believe on the name of the candidate should appear on the ballot.

7.      Do you oppose a U.S. constitutional convention? Yes

8.      Do you support protecting net neutrality in your state by requiring ISPs that do business with the state government to be net-neutral? Yes

9.      Do you oppose capital punishment in all cases in your state?

I will uphold the law on capitol punishment in Tennessee, but it is important that the governor upholds his clemency ability and to that counsel and a strong appeal system be in place.

10.  Do you commit to holding in-person town halls in your state least once per quarter to publicly answer unfiltered questions from your constituents? Yes

Please list any legislation that you support that would advance the goals below:

1. Expand voter access and political participation in America, especially among traditionally marginalized communities.

I sponsored bills for same day registration, expanding the number of days for early vote, and vote by mail.  I am also against Tennessee’s narrow ID laws for voting.  College students are not allowed to use their school IDs for voting, and I would push for acceptance of differing forms of ID.

2. Reduce the influence of money in our elections and government.

I believe that money is too often the factor for victory in races, and keeps otherwise qualified candidates on the sidelines. I would be for some type of public financing for elections.

3. Improve transparency of government and responsiveness to its citizens.

I believe that our government has to be as transparent as possible and commit to being a governor with an open door and open records policy.

Equity and Inclusion

Yes, no, and/or explain

1. Do you support equal rights for Native Americans, women, people of color, and members of the LGBTQ community?

I do support equal rights for all people.  Your worth is shown in your character, not by your skin color, gender, or who you love. I believe my body of work and voting record has been evidence to my convictions.

2. Do you support “sanctuary” policies limiting the extent to which state and local law enforcement agencies can engage in federal immigration enforcement activities?

I do support ‘sanctuary’ policies.  When HB 2315—a bill to deter sanctuary policies—I was against it at every turn, along with law enforcement.

3. Do you oppose the use of private, for-profit prisons or companies that directly benefit from larger prison populations like Corizon Health headquartered in Brentwood?

I am against private prisons.

4. Do you support legislation that would eliminate mandatory minimums in sentencing?

I am against mandatory minimums.

5. Do you oppose discrimination in the workplace, housing, and education based on actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, or health status?

I am against discrimination in housing (and workplace and education).

6. Do you oppose efforts to restrict a woman’s right to choose, including Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) laws?       

I am for a woman’s right to choose and opposed to TRAP laws.

7. Do you oppose legislation that restricts use of public facilities by transgender individuals, also known as “bathroom bills”?     

I am against bathroom bills and voted/advocated against the anti-LGBTQ “counseling bill” in 2016.

8. Do you oppose efforts to rollback protections for persons with disabilities?      

I am against rolling back any ADA protections.

9. Do you support driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants living in your state?  

I do support driver licenses for undocumented immigrants.

10. Do you support in-state college tuition and state-based financial aid for residents of your state regardless of immigration status?     

I do and have supported in-state tuition for those students.  These Tennesseans are our neighbors and friends and like me and my wife Pam, are first generation college students!

11. Will you openly condemn sexism, racism, and discriminatory language and actions made by national and state leaders, even during a general election campaign?

Yes, I do and have openly opposed that type of language from national and state leaders.  Wrong is wrong at any time.

Please list any legislation that you support that would advance the goals below:

1. Ending discriminatory policies against marginalized communities and Native Americans, peopleof color, including Black Lives, immigrants, LGBTQ, women, etc.   

I support legislation that will open up the voting process for marginalized communities in my state.  I also fought to lead my caucus against the bathroom bill “push” and bills assailing sanctuary cities.

2. Ensuring that immigrants remain protected from immigration enforcement activities and feel safe in their own communities.        

I would fight for the repeal of HB 2315 in Tennessee, a bill that banned sanctuary cities in Tennessee, just as I fought against it’s passage.

3. Reducing mass incarceration.          

I supported the justice reform bills that came through the General Assembly this past session, such as fee deductions for expungement and reform of drug crime sentencing.  We have far too many young people, especially people of color, in our jails and prisons.

4. Hold law enforcement officers and agencies accountable for acts of discrimination, violence, and use of deadly force against communities of color.  

I support legislation and funding for body cameras for law enforcement as essential to combating injustice.

Economic Justice

Yes, no, and/or explain

1. Do you support state laws ensuring public and private sector workers have the right to organize a union and collectively bargain? Yes

2. Do you support employer liability in cases of gender pay discrimination allowing for individuals to seek damages?  Yes

3. Do you support raising the minimum wage in your state to $15/hour and getting rid of the special minimum wage for tipped workers? Yes

4. Do you support eliminating the use of money bail in favor of pretrial supervision and diversion programs?

Yes, I support bail reform.  Money should not be the determining factor in whether or not someone stays in jail.

5. Would you openly support amending the state constitution to allow for a state income tax?            

I voted for the income tax in Tennessee—one of two remaining House members still serving in the General Assembly.

6. Do you support increasing state funding for public schools? Yes

7. Do you oppose school voucher programs?

Yes, I oppose vouchers—strongly and with a voting record, public educators in my family and children that all attended public schools, which I believe demonstrates my commitment to high quality public education for all Tennesseans.

8. Do you support increasing state funding for public schools?          

Yes, I am for increased funding for schools and as the Chairman of the House Finance committee fought hard to increase teacher pay.

9. Do you oppose allowing payday lending providers to offer loans with an APR higher than 36% in your state?            

Yes, I am for payday lending caps.

10.        Do you support paid family and medical leave for all workers in your state?

Yes, I am for FMLA for workers in Tennessee.

Please list any legislation that you support that would advance the goals below:

1. Closing the wealth gap between whites and communities of color.             

Closing the wealth gap is something that will take tearing down a system that has been developed over some time.  We must reform criminal justice, so that young people do not start out their lives in jail for low-level drug crimes.  We must make sure our schools are strong in every zip code, and we must expand Medicaid in Tennessee.

2. Ensuring that workers are treated fairly by their employers, and have adequate ability to seek recourse if they are not.      

Making the workplace fair and equitable is something that the government, workers and business owners must cooperate in to ensure it happens.  We must also make sure that the courts are open to all who seek redress.

3. Making higher education more accessible and affordable for residents of your state.

I supported Tennessee Promise (our free community college plan) and Tennessee Reconnect (our plan for returning students to finish college).

4. Ending homelessness in your state.             

To reduce homelessness, we need to expand Medicaid.

Healthy People and Communities

Yes, no, and/or explain

1. Do you support efforts to ensure that all women have access to contraception and reproductive health care?

Yes, I do support women’s full access to healthcare and contraception.

2. Do you support local and state efforts to address man-made climate change, including achieving 100% renewable energy in your state by 2050?

Yes, I do support efforts to reduce climate change.

3. Do you support the EPA’s authority to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from coal- and gas-fired power plants through its Clean Power Plan?

Yes, I do support the Clean Power Plan and against the President’s attempt to reduce its efficacy.

4. Do you support universal background checks for purchasing firearms?             

Yes, I support background checks.

5. Do you support banning assault rifles and bump stocks?  

Yes, I support banning assault rifles and bump stocks.

6. Do you accept campaign contributions from the NRA?      

Back before the organization was inherently political, I was a member of the National Rifle Association and used their “Eddie Eagle” gun safety curriculum when teaching responsible firearms safety to Boy Scouts.

7. Do you oppose limiting healthcare and other essential public benefits based on immigration status?

Yes, I am against limiting healthcare and benefits.

8. Do you support the demilitarization of local law enforcement agencies? Yes

9. Do you oppose eligibility barriers for state assistance programs, including work requirements for Medicaid?

I have stated publicly that I would discuss work requirements for the expansion of Medicaid in Tennessee, because this population is already the working poor. I believe these “requirements” to be inherently political and an undue burden on people who already have the deck stacked against them.

10. Do you support Medicaid expansion in your state?

Yes, I have led the fight for Medicaid expansion in my state. My public platform position is that I believe the failure of the legislature to pass Medicaid expansion is the greatest moral failure of my time in service.

Short Answers:

Please list any legislation that you support that would advance the goals below:

1. Support working families and caregivers.

I sponsored the first grocery tax cut in Tennessee, which would have been the largest tax cut in Tennessee history. Every year I sponsored legislation to reduce the taxes on groceries and diapers in Tennessee.

2. Protect and expand affordable and comprehensive access to healthcare for all residents in your state.

We have to expand Medicaid in Tennessee. We have left over $4 billion on the table that would go towards providing comprehensive healthcare to our state.

3. Advance environmental justice to ensure that marginalized communities have equal access to a healthy and clean environment.

Just this month I asked the Tennessee Attorney General to issue a ruling on a chicken production plant in West Tennessee that may have grave environmental implications for the air and water quality of the county.

4. Ensure school safety and security.

I support increasing funding to make sure that our schools have Student Resource Officers to protect our schools.

5. Increase access to mental healthcare.

Expanding Medicaid and mental health parity legislation is a top priority.

Building an Inclusive Government

1.      If elected, will you make every effort to create work spaces for your staff that are safe and free from all forms of sexual harassment? Yes

2.      If elected, will you commit to paying staff equal pay for equal work? Yes

3.      If elected, will you offer your staff paid family leave?Yes

4.      If elected, will you pay your interns? Yes

5.      If elected, will you seek to build a team, senior and entry level, that represent the demographics and diversity of your constituency? Yes

6.      If elected, do you commit to voluntarily submit data about the demographic composition of your staff? Yes



The committee determined that Craig Fitzhugh aligned more closely with Indivisible values than his Primary opponent Karl Dean. We're grateful to the Dean campaign for submitting answers to the questionnaire. If Dean secures the Democratic nomination, we will provide him and his campaign a platform. 

Karl Dean's Questionnaire >>