On Jan. 14, State Senator Raymond Finney (R-Maryville) announced that he has filed election qualifying petitions and will be a candidate in the August, 2008 Republican Primary for re-election as state senator to represent the 8th senatorial district. The district consists of Blount and Sevier counties.
“It has been a privilege and honor to serve in the Tennessee Senate,” said Senator Finney, in a press release. “I regard this district as belonging to the citizens, and I have worked very hard to remain accessible and to provide commonsense, conservative representation in Nashville. I will continue to make openness and accessibility among my top priorities in the next General Assembly.”
Finney has conducted hundreds of community meetings in the district, including monthly visits at county courthouses and visits to schools, churches, community centers, fairs, and other locations.
“I try to meet constituents where they live and work,” said Finney. “I listen carefully to their concerns. Even if I cannot help with a particular problem, it makes me a better senator to know a constituent’s thoughts about issues and their concerns, fears, and hopes.”
Finney has also provided his voting record on an Internet Website he set up for that purpose at www.finneyvotes.com. He is the only member of the General Assembly to publish a complete record of his votes. He distributes annual preference surveys in the district. “More than 2,500 constituents responded to my 2007 survey, and I believe more than that number will respond in 2008,” Finney explained. “I carefully read all written notes attached to the surveys. I consider it essential to keep in touch with the citizens of this district. I work tirelessly to gather input from citizens through personal visits, questionnaires, community forums, and four dedicated Websites. I want my voting record and every action in Nashville to be an open book, in order that that my constituents know fully how I represent them in Nashville.”
Sen. Finney was the prime sponsor of the Credit Security Act of 2007, which will soon go into effect and will give individuals an opportunity to freeze their credit reports to reduce identity theft. “Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in the country,” said Finney. “This new law will allow consumers to ‘freeze’ their credit reports so that this new breed of thieves will not be able to steal the identity of vulnerable citizens.”
In addition, he was also the prime sponsor of the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 2007, which mandates state governmental agencies not to burden the state’s small business owners with unnecessary paperwork and regulations.
Having this week been awarded the 2007 Legislative Friend of the Environment by the Tennessee Conservation Voters, Sen. Finney became the only Republican in both houses of the General Assembly to be recognized with this honor. The Tennessee Conservation Voters are a coalition of multiple environment-protection organizations.
In 2008, the senator said he will file legislation to eliminate mountaintop strip mining to preserve mountain vistas and avoid pollution of the land and streams from this destructive mining practice.
Finney was first elected to the Tennessee General Assembly in 2004. He was appointed chairman of the Senate Calendar Committee by Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey last year, who also appointed him secretary of the Senate General Welfare, Health and Human Resources Committee. In addition, he is a member of the Senate Environment, Conservation and Tourism Committee and the prestigious Senate Finance, Ways and Means Committee, which approves all state government funding. Senator Finney was elected by committee peers to serve this year as chairman of the Joint TennCare Oversight Committee, and he is a member of the Joint Select Committee on Children and Youth.
“The committees on which I serve give me opportunities to impact my district in many ways, from my interest in conservation to watching to see that government funds are spent efficiently and effectively,” Finney said. “As the only physician in the Senate, I use my expertise in medicine to address and advise healthcare and children protection issues.”
Finney has organized and sponsored community forums in his district, including forums to protect children and to seek better services for senior citizens.
A retired physician, Senator Finney was chairman of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and director of laboratories at Blount Memorial Hospital until his retirement in 1999. He has been married 46 years to his teenage sweetheart, Linda, and has four children and two grandchildren.
He is a member of Restoration International Outreach Church Central in Maryville, where he has been a Sunday School teacher for years teaching his favorite Bible topic-- prophecy. He belongs to numerous conservation organizations, the NRA, Blount County Right to Life, Sevier County Right to Life, the Gideons, Farm Bureau, and several other civic and medical organizations.