The following is one in a series of survey responses provided to the Times Free Press by candidates for public office in advance of the Nov. 3 general election. Today we highlight the candidates for Tennessee House of Representatives District 26, which includes Lakesite, Red Bank, Soddy-Daisy and part of Chattanooga. The candidates' answers are presented in alphabetical order.


Tennessee House of Representatives, District 26

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Joan Farrell

*Name: Joan Farrell

* Affiliation: Democrat

* Previous public office experience: None

* Why should voters choose you? I will represent every citizen, even those I do not agree with. Tennesseans deserve a living wage, protection for pre-existing health conditions, four years free tuition at a Tennessee college, reproductive rights and vaccine transparency.

* What is the biggest challenge facing the office you seek? Lack of voter knowledge of the political process. Tennessee voter turnout is ranked 49th in the nation. The deadline to register to vote, Oct. 5, has already passed. Transportation is a key challenge for voters without a car, and public bus service is limited to major streets.

* How will you address this challenge? Voter registration could easily occur in the high schools, and employers could incorporate online voter registration in their employment process. Twenty-one states allow same-day voter registration. In Tennessee the deadline is almost a month ahead of the Nov. 3 election. Legislation to allow same-day voter registration was submitted by Democratic state Rep. Gloria Johnson, District 13, in April of 2019 but removed from the calendar. When elected, I will join Rep. Johnson as a co-sponsor. I continuously promote the online voting registration website:, which provides info on polling locations, elected officials and more.

* What policy position of yours might surprise people? COVID-19 is constantly in the news and of concern to voters. Drug companies are racing to produce a vaccine. Good vaccines save lives. People are skeptical with so much information that is changing. Legislation requiring drug manufacturers to list all the ingredients including additives and preservatives is needed.

We may not know results on election night

Election night usually ends with results. This year will probably be different due to record-breaking early voting and the deluge of voting by mail-in ballots. Read more on how the Times Free Press plans to handle this and where we get information on election results.

* What past or current public servant do you most admire? Why? I am inspired by U.S. Senate candidate Amy McGrath of Kentucky. Now retired, Lt. Col. Amy McGrath became the first woman to fly combat missions for the Marine Corps, eventually flying 89 combat missions as a Marine fighter pilot against al-Qaida and the Taliban. She'll take her fighting spirit to the U.S. Senate in November.

* A quote or saying you live by: "You cannot un-educate the person who has learned to read. You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride. You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore." — Cesar Chavez

* Campaign website:

* Age on Election Day: 68

* Occupation: Retired

* Education: Masters degree in business administration, Xavier University, Cincinnati, Ohio

* Family: Middle child of three

* City of residence: Hixson, Tennessee

* Neighborhood of residence: Middle Valley, Dallas Bay area

* Church/civic involvement: Non-fundamentalist Christian

* Best phone number for voters to contact you: 423-847-8048


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Robin Smith

* Name: Robin Smith

* Affiliation: Republican

* Previous public office experience: First term as Tennessee House Representative for House District 26

* Why should voters choose you? Solving problems is my commitment. Not all problems can be solved by government, nor should they be. But those remedies that are best facilitated or resolved by our state government will be to serve and strengthen our community.

* What is the biggest challenge facing the office you seek? Many believe the government is the first answer to most problems. There is also a mistaken belief that government has money. Government only has money of taxpayers to spend.

* How will you address this challenge? Candid dialogue via direct voter contact and honest answers are the best tools to make sure that Tennessee prioritizes individuals, families and workers, not government spending and growth.

* What policy position of yours might surprise people? There is a valuable role of government. I disagree with the notion that there is no role for government or regulation.

* What past or current public servant do you most admire? Why? Abraham Lincoln. He served in contentious times but prioritized the unity of our nation amid the most hostile times and worked to protect our nation's authentic individual liberty, not that which focused around commerce and interests.

* A quote or saying you live by: "Our lives are fashioned by our choices. First we make our choices. Then our choices make us." — Anne Frank

* Campaign website:

* Age on Election Day: 57

* Occupation: Business owner of a project management and consulting firm

* Employer: Rivers Edge Alliance

* Education: Bachelor of Science in nursing, University of Tennessee, 1985; Project management, Stanford University, 2008

* Family: Scott, husband for 34 years; daughter Callie; and son Caleb

* City of residence: Live in unincorporated Hamilton County using Hixson ZIP

* Neighborhood of residence: No neighborhood. Live on 9+ acres in Hixson

* Church/civic involvement: Abba's House

* Best phone number for voters to contact you: 615-741-2548.