Interview with James Chesser, GOP candidate for Tennessee State Senate, District 21

Interview with James Chesser, GOP candidate for
Tennessee State Senate, District 21

James Chesser is President of Chesser & Associates, P.C., and of Nashville, which offer legal and consulting services to international professionals and entertainment firms. Mr. Chesser also is a charity and civic director, church elder, husband, and father who has actively served the Nashville community for the past twenty-four years.

A passionately committed conservative who ardently believes “that government is best which governs least,” Mr. Chesser is vying for the Republican nomination for Tennessee State Senate, District 21, against Dr. Steve Dickerson. The Republican primary will be held on Tuesday, August 5.  The winner of the primary will face either long-term Democratic state Senator Douglas Henry or his challenger, Jeff Yarbro.

Part I of our interview with Mr. Chesser follows:

UNDERGROUND NASHVILLE:  In announcing your candidacy, you stated, “We’re all about a simple message: ‘Community Driven Government; Smaller, Smarter, and Constitutional.’ How would such government affect the average voter in your district? How would he or she benefit from it?

JAMES CHESSER: This message, which came from our Founding Fathers, ultimately leads to a government that works better for us.   For average voters, it leads to jobs from advanced technology and world-class education for their children; greater volunteerism and lower government expenses; common sense legislation and lower taxes; stronger voices for our residents rather than the lobbyists; and new respect for the average man and woman.   It breaks the cycle of government-driven community, and offers an inspiring model that could, in years ahead, set the standard for other counties and states.  For one small corner of Davidson County—District 21—we set the stage for truly giving America back to America.

Government should serve the people it represents, engage them, and respect them.    However, when government is influenced by special interests and representatives of financial concerns separated from the community, a conflict occurs.  Government cannot serve two masters.   Truly representative government must be directed by people who are closest to the problems, solutions, and hopes of their community.   It must constantly explore new ways to harness the energy, ideas, and leadership of its key participants—professionals and small business owners, churches, civic leagues, charities, universities, and the like.

Through locally driven government we can empower speaking out, volunteerism, and a new respect for inalienable rights.   The voices of common sense, practical experience, and financial accountability are inherently local.  These voices naturally limit regulation, taxation, and administrative arrogance.

Although government provides infrastructure, protections, and opportunities that are essential to economic growth, it should not grow so large as to compete with or replace the voice of any community.  Communities produce the creative, moral, and economic energy which build better lives—not government.   We should, therefore, respect individual choices and decisions of local residents, as guaranteed in our federal and state Constitutions.   Least government is best.   Smaller governments serve communities well because they are manageable and responsive.   Their costs seldom hinder economic growth or personal liberties.

UN: If you had the length of an elevator ride to convince a GOP primary voter to vote for you rather than your opponent, Dr. Dickerson, what would you say?

JC: [This] is a critical election for our community and I want your vote.  I love this district and am proud of our state; but we’re in trouble.  We need fresh energy and new ideas in the legislature.  The world is racing past us, and we’re finishing poorly in so many areas: well-paying jobs, education, balancing our budgets, taxes, healthcare, crime….  People are losing their voice, as well as their homes, and believe government’s broken and can’t be fixed.  Now, I’m not a politician, but I want to help.  I’m a committed conservative who is one of you—a business owner, military officer, church elder, charity and civic director, and husband and father.   For twenty-four years I’ve represented many voices in this community.

My formal studies have included physics, engineering, and law.  In my law practice, I’ve helped small overseas businesses establish branch offices and jobs in Tennessee.  I’ve represented universities; churches; entertainers; medical and legal professionals; immigrants; and families with long ties to Tennessee.  I’ve fought with almost every federal and state government agency, so I know how government works and how it doesn’t work.  But the skill I’m proudest of is bridge building:  I’ve learned how to bring disagreeing parties together.  My dream is for a new type of locally driven government; smaller, smarter, constitutional.  One that empowers the voice again of the common man, common sense, and common heart.  One that encourages volunteerism, and respect for the Constitution.  I want to give America back to America, starting right here in one small corner of Davidson County, Tennessee.  And in years we will be the model against which other counties and even states will measure themselves.   Can I count on your support?

For more information, see

Note:  Mr. Chesser’s opponent in the upcoming GOP state senate primary, Dr. Steve Dickerson, also has received an interview invitation, as has Senator Henry and Jeff Yarbro.

David M. (Dave) Carew is editor of “Underground
Nashville” and the author of the novels “Everything Means Nothing to Me: A Novel of Underground Nashville” and “Voice from the Gutter.” He also is a freelance publicist and copywriter.

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