With the retirement of Senator Alexander, a race is on to become Tennessee’s next senator.
It’s up to sportsmen and outdoor enthusiasts to let candidates know that the great outdoors is an important voting issue. So, Tennessee Wildlife Federation asked every candidate to share their views on conservation, and below are the responses we received.
Below are the views of candidate Tom Emerson. All answers, information, and images are unedited and appear as they were provided by the campaign.
Primary voting ends August 6. Find your polling location here.
About Tom Emerson
Jesus is my Lord and Savior. I am a United States Navy Vietnam Era Veteran. Served this Great Nation with six years active duty in the Navy and four years three months onboard the USS John F Kennedy (CV-67) Aircraft Carrier with three Mediterranean Cruises and one NATO cruise. I do not ask for any monetary donations. I only as for your prayerful support and vote on August 6 and again in November.
My campaign website is: https://temersjr.wixsite.com/tomemersonjr
Please review my website for my goals and history about myself.
My whole emphasis for being elected as the next United States Senator from Tennessee is to SERVE you, not myself.
Federation: Do you have a favorite public land in Tennessee? What do you enjoy doing there?
Emerson: Yes. Shiloh National Military Park. Visit and read history as one of the largest and bloodiest battels of the Civil War. So many stories, so much history, so many tears. A tragic part of this nation’s history. But still a significant part of history that never needs to be forgotten.
Federation: There are a lot of issues facing our natural resources and the Tennesseans who depend on them for recreation and their livelihood. Please rank these issues in the order they are most important to you and please explain the reason for your number one pick.
- Invest in wildlife management to prevent endangered and threatened species
All wildlife enthusiasts and all citizens I know, care deeply about the preservation of all wildlife, but especially any species that are endangered with possible extinction. Investing in wildlife management training for all Park and Forest Staff is critical to ensure such preservation of wildlife and the safety of all visitors at each park location.There could also be a signup sheet for visitors to sign if interested in a short Park Training course, with a certification of some sort that can be given to each visitor that attended the Park Training course. If no visitor signs up for the training, that is one less thing the park staff will do each day.
- Strategic public lands growth and access for conservation and recreation
Such initiatives to acquire such land/s to create access for the conservation and recreation will only allow wildlife in general more options for living, sleeping, eating, and drinking than such wildlife currently have. This should also allow wildlife enthusiasts a larger range land wise, to oversee and protect the existing wildlife and give fishermen and fisherwomen a greater opportunity to broaden their area for fishing.
- Implement high-impact aquatic habitat projects to improve our waters
Water purity is essential for healthy living not only for wildlife and fish, but also those who enjoy the outdoors. It just makes sense to continue these projects.
- Fund adequate responses to non-native invasive species, like Asian carp
As the next United States Senator in Tennessee, I will develop legislation to provide adequate funds to combat such instances.
- Support for private land management for wildlife
I support the development of private land management would be used to further protect and isolate wildlife for various reasons.
- Federal funding and other support to combat Chronic Wasting Disease in deer
On a case by case issue, I will develop legislation to provide limited federal funding to combat any disease that relates to deer or other wildlife.
Federation: Last fall, a Tennessee Wildlife Federation-led effort successfully secured $25 million of federal funding to fight Asian carp. It is a one-time appropriation that is split among several states. If you are elected, how would you support similar efforts? What you would do differently?
Emerson: First, I would like to know how successful the National Park Staff were in using the $25 million dollars for fighting Asian Carp, etc. And what states received how much for the task.
It is imperative that several meetings take place between my staff and the Park staff to discuss all things that the Park staff need and want so a list in priorities can be developed and reviewed. Then as U.S. Senator I can begin legislation to accommodate the necessary needs first.
Federation: As a senator, what would you do for our natural resources, from public lands to wildlife and water, that are held in the public trust—that are collectively owned by all Americans?
Emerson: My answers to previous questions above also address this issue and answer this question as well.
Federation: Tennessee Wildlife Federation operates a number of programs to improve the great outdoors and Tennesseans’ lives, including habitat restoration work, Hunters for the Hungry, and even creating new sportsmen through Hunting and Fishing Academy. What support would you look to provide as a senator?
Emerson: Not everyone plays baseball, football, basketball, golf, or are cheerleaders. There are a lot of people who enjoy the outdoors by hunting and fishing, and camping, hiking. This question number 5 is probably my favorite to answer. Once again, I will want a meeting with the Park staff to identify specific services the Park can provide. Then I will support these goals and hope to expand each service listed above.
Federation: A significant number of Tennessee streams, rivers, and lakes are unable to support healthy aquatic life. What would you do as Senator to heal this backbone of our environment and many local economies in the state?
Emerson: As United States Senator, my priority and desire is to serve all Tennesseans and American Citizens and not myself. I will meet with the Park staff to develop achievable planned goals, then begin after the plans are developed and agreed upon by all parties to develop legislation if necessary to begin implementing the plans to improve the quality of all waterways in Tennessee.
Federation: What did we not ask you today that you’d tell Tennessee’s outdoor enthusiasts?
Emerson: As Tennessee’s next United States Senator, it is, and I will reiterate, it is my stand, not a goal, but my stand of what I will do, to SERVE each Tennessean and NOT myself.
Tennessee has so much to offer everyone and outdoor enthusiasts are a big part of Tennessee.
Helping Tennesseans with less taxes, working with the governor, helping small businesses, and promoting and supporting Tennessee’s National Parks, each are as important as the other.
I am not perfect. I make mistakes just about every day. I am not a lawyer, doctor, or a career politician.
What I am is a proud United States Navy Vietnam Era Veteran who am proud to have served this great nation for six years active duty with one duty station, the USS John F Kennedy (CV-67) Aircraft Carrier. I have made three Mediterranean Cruises and one NATO Cruise. Ever since, I have had a desire to serve all Tennesseans and American Citizens again.
Jesus is my Lord and Savior.
(You, all) (a lighter side of me: y’all) Tennesseans deserve a Senator to represent you in Washington and elsewhere. You deserve a Senator that has a backbone and will stand up for what is right, and a Senator who will NOT take bribes of any sort.
I realize I am about to repeat myself but consider it important that I do so.
I do not ask for your money. You can use your money much better to support and provide for your families, especially during this trying time with the COVID pandemic.
All I do ask from each of you is your prayerful consideration to vote for me in the Primary on August 6, 2020 and again in November.
God Bless each of you and your families.