Have you used Uber, Lyft, or Airbnb lately?

Been to a farmers market or a farm-to-table restaurant?

Do you like buying local at small businesses owned by people that live, work, and serve in your community?

Do you believe in tolerance and a free marketplace of ideas where all ideas should be expressed even if they offend some people?

Are you skeptical of big entities with their headquarters far away, operated by men and women in suits who don’t have any investment in your community and neighbors?

Then you’re a part of the conservative movement.

Conservatism has been miscast, misrepresented, and misunderstood by far too many for far too long.  Opponents use logical fallacies ranging from straw man arguments to anecdotes to turn conservatism into something it isn’t.

So how can common-sense, community-based conservative policies serve the people of Nashville as it continues to grow and develop, leaving much of society more fragmented than ever before. Social media allows us to curate our own cultural experiences, with our news choices often confirming our preconceived conceptions of things.

This drives increasing numbers of people to be understandably skeptical of conglomerates that control things from far away with no investment or understanding of local communities.

This is why the sharing economy has been so disruptive. This is why more people in urban areas like ours love Lyft, Airbnb, and Uber while unions and big businesses try to work with big government at every level to shut these innovations down.

This is why people love to “Shop Local” and love getting their produce at farmers markets and farm-to-table restaurants.

Sometimes though, people obsessed with “buying local” don’t realize the dangers of giving more power and influence to big government.  They don’t realize that the bigger government gets, the more it’s able to be bought off, manipulated, and controlled by big business and other people with no roots in the communities they care so much about.

Most Americans want to solve our society’s hardest and most pressing problems. We want our nation and neighborhoods to be safe.  We want our justice system to be fair.  We want the poor and vulnerable to be cared for and empowered.  We want to be a part of sacrificing and serving to make these things happen.

Yet well-meaning people defer the problem solving to government bureaucracies disconnected from the people facing these problems.

As conservatives, we believe that our best hope of tackling these deeply rooted issues is by joining hands with our neighbors to creatively and innovatively make our communities a better place. We believe it is proximity to the problem that leads to the most effective and efficient solutions.  Systemic problems like poverty and the education gap are best solved when we each choose to put skin in the game in our own communities rather than pawning these priorities off on distant bureaucracies.

We believe that the poor and disenfranchised each have a unique journey that requires a unique solution. Wouldn’t it be better for local non-profits, strong community centers, and strong families to find what each person needs, and walk alongside them? We believe that when people in communities come face-to-face with the plight of their fellow neighbors, they will rise to the occasion and personally sacrifice to help their fellow man.  If they’re not able to assume the federal government will solve everything for them, they’ll step up to the plate. In fact, in the face of failed federal programs, many people already are.

Last year, Speaker Paul Ryan eloquently laid out his vision for the Republican Party and the conservative movement, concluding:

I believe we can once again be that optimistic party that is defined by a belief in the limitless possibility of our people. We want to be a party defined by solutions… by being on the side of the people. We want to take our principles and apply them to the problems of the day.

Embrace free enterprise and reject cronyism… Promote upward mobility… Provide solutions for those stuck in poverty… Offer a tax code that rewards hard work, not the well connected… A strong and focused military… A health care system that promotes choice and flexibility… A secure border… A government that allows people to fulfill the American idea – that the condition of your birth does not determine the outcome of your life.

I’m running to represent the great people of TN House District 56 in the General Assembly because innovative, conservative solutions are already helping Nashville become a more thriving, welcoming community. But there’s more we can do to help improve our schools, our health care, our economy, and more to build a better tomorrow for every Tennessean. One of the things I love most about the campaign trail is conversations with people across the district about how conservative ideas can continue to improve people’s lives.