Nicole June Reporting
CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – Austin Peay State University’s (APSU) College Democrats hosted Representative Joe Pitts for a Q&A session called ‘Coffee and Conversation’ Tuesday, Sept. 17 at APSU’s Morgan University Center.
APSU is full of nontraditional students and those of a legal voting age, which is why Rep. Pitts believes they have voices that should be heard. “Government has to come to the people. You can’t expect people to come to the government all the time,” he said. “This is a way to connect with different constituency groups and find out what’s going on. That’s what I base my service on. I don’t have town halls, I go to the folks.”
Rep. Pitts was introduced by Nick Grenier, a member of the College Democrats. Rep. Pitts began by highlighting the positive, particularly concerning the university’s progress academically and its recognition for continued growth.
Several items have become concerns for Rep. Pitts, which he addressed with the College Dems. He said he is opposed to tuition caps, and believes APSU is competent enough to manage its own finances.
Pitts said he finds that proprietary and competency based schools, such as the newly established Western Governors University, pose a threat to public universities, and he said he voted against the new school and any government funding for its upkeep.
Statewide, Pitts said he is focused on healthcare for Tennesseans, public education reform, proper regulations for the Department of Children’s Services, and the treatment and care of those with mental disabilities.
According to Pitts, nearly 7,000 adults in the state remain on a waiting list for assistance from the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, and approximately 100 of these people are currently in ‘crisis situations’. He hopes to draw attention to these people in need to provide them with the proper services and care.
Pitts is also a strong advocate of government-aided preventative measures for citizens. “We do punishment really well in this state, but we just don’t do prevention very well,” he said. He believes programs like Veterans Treatment Courts and Drug Courts can significantly decrease spending and allow people to get the help they need.
Rep. Pitts turned the conversation over to those in attendance, asking them what they would do if they were Governor. Many of the College Dems echoed his concerns, explaining how these issues impact them personally.
To contact Representative Joe Pitts, visit his official website.
For more information about APSU’s College Democrats, visit their Facebook page.