'Let me help you' says Spivey to constituents

Friday, March 22, 2013

By Karen Hall

Staff Writer

The district's state representative seized the opportunity to speak to a group of Leadership Marshall alumni last week about his experiences as a first-term legislator.

Billy Spivey of Lewisburg is the first person elected to represent the newly drawn House District 92 which includes all of Marshall, and parts of Lincoln, Franklin, and Marion counties.

"It's an honor to serve this community," Spivey began. "People in this district and the good Lord are the ones I am accountable to."

He urged people to visit the legislature.

"You'll be impressed," Spivey said.

Even if they don't come to see him in Nashville, Spivey urged people to take every opportunity to talk to him. "I don't grow without your feedback," he said. "I owe you the respect of being correctable. If there's something important to you, reach out to me. Let me help you."

Spivey said he had made the committment not to get involved in many controversial things.

"Well," he admitted. "I didn't do that."

Spivey has been in the news for his involvement with the bill enhancing the Department of Safety's ability to regulate law enforcement on the interstates, and for his opposition to Medicaid expansion.

The federal government would pay for giving Tenncare coverage to more people, but only for the first three years. After that it could be the state's responsibility to pay for.

"Washington is disastrous," Spivey said. "To rely on something that dysfunctional is a mistake."

He said he's also opposed a bill to increase the minimum markup on cigarettes from 8 to 15 percent.

"I don't see it as the government's business," Spivey said.

He was in favor of the bill that requires a woman to have an ultrasound before she has an abortion, because it fits with his belief system and because it has health advantages.

"Right to Life lobbied against that bill," he said. "They begged me to take my name off it."

Next year, Spivey said, he plans to take advantage of every bill opportunity he has.

The freshman house member said he felt fulfilled and rewarded by his new job, but admitted it takes a toll on his family, and on his budget.

Spivey said he wants to use his time in the legislature to make this community a better place.

When asked if he likes the job, his response was, "The minute I start liking it, I hope you send me home."

Spivey ended his remarks by praising his wife Kim, a teacher, for accompanying him to the meeting.

"You can't fulfill your potential without the support of the people who love you," he said.

Spivey attended every gathering he could when he was running for office, and now it's the turn of candidates running for office in Lewisburg's May election to campaign everywhere. All local candidates had been invited to the Leadership Marshall meeting, but only a few showed up.

Mayoral candidates Jim Bingham and Bill Williams introduced themselves, and so did Odie Whitehead Jr., who would like to be re-elected to represent Ward Three on the city council.

Trigg Cathey is running for the Ward Four seat currently occupied by Ronald McRady, and he concluded his remarks by saying he wanted to bring the spirit of cooperation and teamwork to the city council.