Our Revolution Nashville and Middle TN Local Candidate Questionnaire
Candidate Name: JON SEWELL
Please circle or write your answers to the following questions. Some questions refer to local issues, others refer to state issues. We would like your opinion on both.
1. Do you support a $15 per hour minimum wage for all Tennesseans?
Y: The cost of living has gone up, the cost of paying should as well.
2. Do you support raising Davidson County’s property tax to fund essential community and infrastructure programs?
Y: At the same time, we should also expand programs to provide tax abatement, relief, and freezes for our more vulnerable neighbors. Property taxes should also be extended to downtown projects that got a break early on. It’s only fair that everyone pay the fair fare.
3. Do you believe that healthcare is a right?
Y: If life and liberty are rights, then it follows that the ability to flourish (pursuit of happiness) in this life should be a right, and if we follow suit, I believe we should also acknowledge that death is a right as well, when there’s little left of that right. I believe our healthcare should expand its reach and that includes end-of-health scenarios and the death with dignity, as well as realizing that the objective to do no harm does not include the right to kill, thus encompassing a ban on the death penalty. Go for broke and we can enrich the national discussion.
4. Do you support the following:
Expanding Medicaid in Tennessee? YES
Creating a statewide healthcare system to make sure every Tennessean has healthcare? YES
Advocating publicly for a national Medicare for All single payer system by joining activists at rallies, writing letters to the editor, contacting our Senators and Representatives, etc.? YES
5. The Trump administration has pulled out of the Paris Climate Accords, but that has not stopped state and local officials from across the country from rejecting the Trump administration’s action and stating their support (Ex: Mayor of Pittsburgh, the states of Oregon and Washington, the Governor of Virginia). Are you still in?
Yes. The question seems to be leading the witness so ill testify here that we are obviously in a crisis. There is a post-Trump world out there we can grab a hold of. We can stand on conviction and principle without making the Trump the principal position. We can give the Paris Accords the attention it deserves without putting it in juxtaposition.
6. Do you support the spending of taxpayer money on education provided by religious or private sector organizations?
Yes, parents should have a choice and our tax dollars can support private sector/charter schools.
No, public money belongs in public schools.
7. Do you support, and would you act to support, sanctuary cities?
Y: Cities have an opportunity to lead on this issue. We can do so also in the framework of a public health and educational viewpoint by not spending precious local resources on federal deficit of dignity.
8. Do you support, and would you act to protect, LGBTGIA rights?
Y: Everyone has rights that should be protected, even random wierdos running for mayor or council or looking to bend the conversational curve at the local level where we can highlight the need to protect our more vulnerable neighbors and as such we can extend rights through the decriminalization of sex work, by discussing the public health and personal right benefits.
9. Do you support, and would you act to initiate, racial justice reform within police departments? For example, would you take positive action to address the issues statewide discovered in the Gideon’s Army Driving While Black study?
Y: Police departments should be representative of the populations they serve. But why make an arbitrary traffic stop there? Lets drive further on hold local boards, commissions, and councils accountable. We can further democratize our system by making all the inputs more representative: we can end board-bouncing by applying term limits to appointed (unelected) officials, just like we do certain elected positions. Let's not only extend term limit applications to unelected officials, let's make them all also get Continuing Education, just like other registered professionals.
10. Do you support the Community Oversight Board to help improve policing?
11. Briefly describe your ideas to address the issue of affordable housing in Nashville and Davidson County.
Inclusionary zoning, ease regulations on secondary dwellings, streamline tiny houses for homeless populations, increase funding for the Barnes Fund and similar initiatives by asking corporations moving here that are creating a displacement problem to pay into funds that soften their negative impacts.
12. Tennessee is a “Right to Work" state. Do you support labor’s right to organize in both public and private sectors (including teachers)?
Y: I am a graduate of a union apprenticeship program thru the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and was a member for several years eventually rising to General Foreman scale by the age of 32. I retired my UBC card when I became a member of SAG as a recurring series regular on a locally filmed TV show: “Still the King” on CMT.
13. Transportation is a key problem in Nashville and Middle Tennessee. Please briefly describe your ideas to improve transportation efficiency and accessibility in Davidson County.
I’d love to see Free Public Transport and there are mechanisms to make it possible. We can also invest in Traffic Calming: from the traditional to the outlandish. Art in the Streets Public Arts initiatives, combined with restriping low-cost measures. We can extend our Total Streets Programs but we can also stop traffic altogether thru Street Closures (Perm & Temp): Post-car Future made Present. From Reclaim the Streets to Open Streets the precedent is there. BRT: Bus Rapid Transit routes should be expanded obviously possibly including a node-to-node system where smaller buses traverse neighborhoods bringing passengers to stations that feed the larger routes along the pikes.
14. Would you support legislation to restrict hate groups from using our state parks for conventions?
(To determine a hate group, Our Revolution uses the Southern Poverty Law Center designations.)
Y: I think the spirit for inclusion is there and should be discussed. I am a supporter of the SPLC but am also not gonna spin it like they have not had their own internal cultural impoverishment. Recent organizational turbulence may have been weathered but we should also entertain more specific consistent criteria.
15. Would you support local governments in their efforts to remove Confederate statues and monuments?
16. Do you believe Tennessee needs stricter gun laws?