Representative John D. Ragan, Jr.'s Political Positions

Office: State House (TN) - District 33, Republican
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John Ragan, Jr. has provided voters with clear stances on key issues by responding to the 2014 Political Courage Test.

What is the Political Courage Test?

Tennessee State Legislative Election 2014 Political Courage Test


Candidate Answer
Official Position: Candidate had the Political Courage to address this issue directly.
Inferred Answer
Inferred Position: Candidate refused to address this issue directly, but Project Vote Smart inferred this issue position based on the candidate's public statements, voting record, and evaluations from special interest groups.
Unknown Answer
Unknown Position: Candidate refused to address this issue.
Project Vote Smart's Research: Click on this icon to reveal more information about this candidate's position.
Pro-lifea) Do you generally support pro-choice or pro-life legislation?
Nob) Should abortions be illegal after the first trimester of pregnancy?
Noc) Should abortion be legal when the pregnancy resulted from incest or rape?
Yesd) Should abortion be legal when the life of the woman is endangered?
Yese) Do you support requiring parental notification before an abortion is performed on a minor?
Yesf) Do you support requiring parental consent before an abortion is performed on a minor?
Yesg) Do you support the prohibition of public funds for abortion procedures?
Yesh) Do you support the prohibition of public funds for organizations that perform abortions?
i) Other or expanded principles:

I believe that a woman's body and soul are hers to do with as she legally chooses. However, no citizen has the unfettered right to intentionally harm another human being or otherwise impinge upon another's rights.

Herein lies the crux of the issue: when is a developing fetus a human being and who else, besides the potential mother-to-be, may have "rights" in this issue. Because I am convinced that human life begins at conception, I cannot philosophically support unregulated abortion choices regardless of whether the pregnancy is uncomfortable, inconvenient, expensive, embarrassing or otherwise undesirable.

1) State Spending:

Using the key, indicate what state funding levels (#1-6) you support for the following general categories. Select one level per category; you may use a number more than once.

Slightly Increasea) Education (higher)
Slightly Increaseb) Education (K-12)
Slightly Decreasec) Environment
Maintain Statusd) Health care
Slightly Increasee) Law enforcement/corrections
Maintain Statusf) Transportation/infrastructure
Greatly Decreaseg) Welfare
h) Other or expanded categories:

A "temporary safety net" for able-bodied, but, down-on-their-luck citizens is not objectionable. Unfortunately, our current welfare system has become a "hammock" rather than a "safety net." Furthermore, it seems to have become "multi-generational" rather than being "temporary."

We must restore the concept enforced by Jamestown's Captain John Smith at the very beginning of European settlement in North America. That concept is the essence of adult, personal responsibility: "...he that will not work, shall not eat."

2) State Taxes:

Using the key, indicate what state tax levels (#1-6) you support for the following general categories. Select one level per category; you may use a number more than once.

Maintain Statusa) Alcohol taxes
Slightly Increaseb) Cigarette taxes
Greatly Decreasec) Corporate taxes
Slightly Decreased) Gas/Oil taxes
Slightly Decreasee) Property taxes
Maintain Statusf) Sales taxes
g) Other or expanded principles:

"A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor and bread it has earned -- this is the sum of good government." --- Thomas Jefferson

3) Budget Stabilization:

Indicate which proposals you support (if any) for balancing Tennessee's budget.

Noa) Tapping into Tennessee's "rainy day" fund
Yesb) Increasing tuition rates at public universities
Yesc) Reducing or eliminating public worker collective bargaining
Nod) Reducing state employee salaries AND/OR pensions
Yese) Instituting mandatory furloughs AND/OR layoffs for state employees
Yesf) Reducing benefits for Medicaid recipients
g) Other or expanded principles:

For item b) above: I support tuition increases only after all appropriate cost reduction measures have been implemented.

a) Do you support limits on the following types of contributions for state candidates?

Yes1) Individual
Yes2) Political Action Committee
Yes3) Corporate
No4) Political Party
Nob) Should candidates for state office be encouraged to meet voluntary spending limits?
Yesc) Do you support requiring full and timely disclosure of campaign finance information?
Nod) Do you support the use of an independent AND/OR bipartisan commission for redistricting?
Yese) Do you support requiring a government-issued photo identification in order to vote at the polls?
f) Other or expanded principles:

For items 1), 2) and 3) above: I fully support the concept that spending on political issues is free speech and should not be restricted. However, the question asked about contributions to individual candidates and it is my belief that unlimited campaign contributions, except by party, create a potential for corruption and undue influence. Consequently, I support the campaign contribution limitations that are currently in place.

Yesa) Do you support capital punishment for certain crimes?
Yesb) Do you support alternatives to incarceration for certain non-violent offenders, such as mandatory counseling or substance abuse treatment?
Noc) Do you support legalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana?
Nod) Should a minor accused of a violent crime be prosecuted as an adult?
Noe) Should a minor who sends sexually-explicit or nude photos by cell phone face criminal charges?
Yesf) Do you support the enforcement of federal immigration laws by state and local police?
g) Other or expanded principles:

For item d) above: I support that some minors, dependent upon age and when committing crimes so heinous as to be "repugnant to society," should be considered on an individual basis for trial as an adult. A court of competent jurisdiction must judge each individual situation.

For item e) above: I must qualify my answer with the exception that the age and intent of the minor offender can modify my response. As before, a court of competent jurisdiction must judge each individual situation.

Yesa) Do you support reducing government regulations on the private sector?
Yesb) Do you support increased state funding for job-training programs that re-train displaced workers?
Noc) Do you support expanding access to unemployment benefits?
Yesd) Do you support providing financial incentives to the private sector for the purpose of job creation?
Noe) Do you support government spending as a means of promoting economic growth?
Nof) Do you support providing direct financial assistance to homeowners facing foreclosure?
Nog) Do you support an increase of the minimum wage?
h) Other or expanded principles:

If conducting business involves no contract disputes, fraud, theft, coercion, or unsafe practices for the public or employees, then, except for constitutional requirements, government has no mandate to be involved in it, at all.

Items b) and d) above, in some circumstances, fit into constitutional requirements.

Noa) Do you support the national Common Core State Standards initiative?
Yesb) Do you support a merit pay system for teachers?
c) Is the tenure process for public school teachers producing effective teachers?
Yesd) Should parents be allowed to use vouchers to send their children to any school?
Yese) Do you support state funding for charter schools?
Yesf) Do you support the state government providing college students with financial aid?
Nog) Should illegal immigrants who graduate from Tennessee high schools be eligible for in-state tuition at public universities?
h) Other or expanded principles:

For item c) above: The K-12 teacher tenure process has been restructured within the last few years and there has not been enough time to assess whether the change is effective in the sense of the question asked.

Noa) Do you support state funding for the development of alternative energy?
Nob) Do you support state funding for the development of traditional domestic energy sources (e.g. coal, natural gas, oil)?
Yesc) Do you support state funding for improvements to Tennessee's energy infrastructure?
Nod) Do you support state funding for open space preservation?
Noe) Do you support government regulations of greenhouse gas emissions?
f) Other or expanded principles:

For items (a) and (b) above: I support the same types of incentives for energy industries and companies as for any other, in order to create jobs for our citizens and improve our economy.

For item d) above: I support the state's involvement in the state park and wild life refuge systems as well as, historic site preservation. However, beyond these items, I do not support the state taking or restricting the legal use of private property.

Yesa) Do you support restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns?
Nob) Should background checks be required on gun sales between private citizens at gun shows?
Yesc) Should citizens be allowed to carry concealed guns?
Nod) Should a license be required for gun possession?
e) Other or expanded principles:

For Item (a) above: I support courts restricting the right to own firearms in the cases of insane individuals and felons. In either case, I support restoration of this right upon application of due process and an appropriate ruling from a court of competent jurisdiction.

Noa) Do you support a universally-accessible, publicly-administered health insurance option?
Yesb) Do you support expanding access to health care through commercial health insurance reform?
Yesc) Do you support interstate health insurance compacts?
Nod) Do you support Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act?
Noe) Do you support requiring individuals to purchase health care insurance?
Yesf) Do you support monetary limits on damages that can be collected in malpractice lawsuits?
Nog) Do you support allowing doctors to prescribe marijuana to their patients for medicinal purposes?
h) Other or expanded principles:

Fully enfranchised and capable adults do not need a "Nanny State." Furthermore, nobody, including government, should be allowed to pass an inheritance of "crushing debt" to the next generation.

For item g) above: By Constitutionally valid, federal law, the Food and Drug Administration has the authority and responsibility for declaring drugs to be safe and effective, not individual doctors. Therefore, I would be violating my oath of office to answer other than I did.

Noa) Do you support same-sex marriage?
Nob) Should same-sex couples be allowed to form civil unions?
Noc) Do you support the inclusion of sexual orientation in Tennessee's anti-discrimination laws?
Nod) Do you support the inclusion of gender identity in Tennessee's anti-discrimination laws?
e) Other or expanded principles:
In the following area, on an attached page, or via e-mail, please explain in a total of 100 words or less, your top two or three priorities if elected. If they require additional funding for implementation, please explain how you would obtain this funding.

1. The Rule of Law. Our Constitutions, the US and then Tennessee, are the law of land. Neither, government official, nor illegal alien, is above the requirements and sanctions of the law.
2. Individual Liberty. Every law-abiding citizen deserves the right, free from government interference, to enjoy life, to be secure in his or her liberty and to legally engage in the pursuit of happiness.
3. Limited Government with resulting fiscal responsibility and low taxes. Government exists to secure individual, God-given rights. Taxation exists only to provide the means necessary to establish essential government services required to accomplish that task.