​I Invite You to Come and Visit Me at the Legislature!


   To Keep In Touch with the People of                   Robertson County

           I have regularly expressed My Thoughts                                        in Press Articles Published in                          

  • The Robertson County Connection
  • The Robertson County Times
  • The Tennessean


I am grateful to these Newspapers

               for Helping Us Keep in Touch                  


This is A List of Published Articles

The Text is on the Right

​The Latest are at the Top


43. The Story of Fourth of July

42. A Memory That Brings Us Together

41. Political Polarization and the National Mood

40. About The Gas Tax

39. Eleven Myths of Medical Marijuana

38. The State of Tennessee Has Money for You!

37. The 110th General Assembly

36. The Anxiety of Election 2016!

35. The Most Dangerous Traffic Spot in Robertson County

34. Vote for Doc!

33. Feeling Special at the Legislature

32. The Check From Uncle Sam!

31. It is My Honor!

30. Do Local Elections Really Matter?

 29.  On Being American

 28. Obamacare Fails to Solve Healthcare Problems

 27. 109th General Assembly Comes to A Close

​ 26. Bless My Heart!

 25. Death and Dignity

​ 24. Medical Marijuana Is Already Available 

 23. The Dialogue of Democracy

​ 22. A Beautiful Storm

 21. Y'all Come!

​ 20. ​The Joy of Giving

 19. A Family Adventure

 18. Honoring Our Veterans

​ 17. Growth in Robertson County

​ 16. Your Opinion Matters

 15.  Remembering 9/11

 14.  Back to School in Robertson County

 13. Terror in Our Homeland

​ 12. Following the Money

​ 11. Turning of The Tassles

 10. Making Decisions in the Legislature

​   9. Legislative Session of 2015   

   8. The Making of A Law

   7. A Cure for the Common Core

   6. Who Decides Which Textbooks Our Children Read?

   5. Ready for the Education Committee

   4. Health Care Options

   3. Organization Week at the Legislature   

   2. New Representative Thoughts   

   1. The American Future






                                                         Sabi 'Doc' Kumar




Phone: 615-384-2728

​  Sabi@SabiKumar.com

                     Tennessee House of Representatives - District 66 -  ROBERTSON COUNTY

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​




                                                                             





43
State Representative Report

           Sabi 'Doc' Kumar         ​
                                                                                                               
Robertson County Connection, Jul 4, 2017

The Story of the Fourth of July 

“The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary!” 

These words were written by John Adams, the first Vice President and later, the second President of the United States, in a letter to his wife, Abigail, on the 3rd of July, 1776. No, President Adams was not confused about the date of the Independence Day of our country! He wrote these words to his dear Abigail, after he voted in the Second Continental Congress to approve a Resolution for Independence of the United States.

Let us explore history to learn why we celebrate the Independence Day on the 4th of July. 

The American Revolutionary War started on April 19, 1775 at the Battle of Lexington and Concord. The legal separation of the Thirteen Colonies from Great Britain, however, occurred on July 2, 1776, when the Second Continental Congress voted to approve the Resolution of Independence. After this vote, Congress reviewed and approved the Declaration of Independence. This Declaration is an historic and a poignant document. It explains the decision of the American people to be a new and independent country. It declares the God given rights of the American people that cannot be taken away by a king or a government. The Declaration was prepared by a Committee of Five patriots. This committee included John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Robert Livingston, Roger Sherman and Thomas Jefferson, who was the principal author. Congress debated and revised the wording of the Declaration and approved it two days later on July 4, 1776. Although grateful for the approval, Thomas Jefferson agonized over the revisions to his masterful work. This historic document was actually signed on August 2, 1776. 

These happenings of 241 years ago are of great historic interest. Two members of the Committee of Five went on to be President of the United States. John Adams defeated Thomas Jefferson to become the second President, taking the place of George Washington. Four years later, Jefferson defeated Adams to become the 3rd President. This competition, as expected, created much dislike between these two great men. They did not speak to each other for over a decade. Towards the end of life, an effort of rapprochement by Abigail did not bear fruit.  Fate is a great equalizer, however! Both men died on the 50th anniversary of the American Independence, July 4, 1826, within hours of each other.  "Thomas Jefferson survives", were the last words uttered by John Adams, on that day. He did not know that Jefferson had died several hours before. 

It appears that July 4 is a fateful day in American history! In addition to Presidents Adams and Jefferson, President James Monroe, another founding father, also died on July 4, in the year 1831 and President Calvin Coolidge was born on July 4, 1872. 

With such grand historical events, it is fitting that modern America has added her own touches to this special day. The 4th of July is the biggest hot dog holiday of the year!


We have also added fireworks, parades, barbecues, carnivals, fairs, picnics, concerts, baseball games, family reunions, political speeches and ceremonies! Happy Birthday America! God Bless!


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42
State Representative Report

           Sabi 'Doc' Kumar         ​
                                                                                                              
 Robertson County Connection, Jun 6, 2017


A Memory That Brings Us Together 

Linda and I hope that you and your family had a great Memorial Day and weekend. It is time that we spend with friends, family and neighbors, as we explore the joys of summer. It is also the time that we pause and reflect upon the meaning and the significance of Memorial Day. In these divisive times, Memorial Day is the memory that can bring us together as Americans. 

We say thanks to our active military on the Armed Forces Day, show our gratitude to the retired military on Veterans Day and pay tribute to those who sacrificed their lives for our country on Memorial Day. We remember our Fallen Heroes and pray that no Heroes ever have to make that sacrifice for our nation again. 

At the keynote address that I gave for the Memorial Day Service at the Memorial Gardens in Springfield on May 27, I was honored to have banners on either side of the podium that listed the names of Robertson County citizens who had given their lives for our country. The attendees included Boy and girl Scout Troops and elementary school children. These young Americans have not witnessed history but appeared to absorb the memories of this occasion. Also present were military families and veterans of the Vietnam, Korean and the Second World War. The memory of our soldiers brought us together! Similarly, our community and leaders gathered at Liberty Park in Greenbrier on May 29. Lt Col Chris Orndorff, veteran and author with a great record of service to our country, gave an inspiring keynote address.  

We believe in the Exceptionalism that is America. We are endowed with great freedoms by our Constitution. It is a Constitution that is based on Godly Values. Our Honorable Mayor Howard Bradley has reminded us that we have the freedom to go, or not go, to the Worship House of our choice, pray and worship according to our choice based on our traditions. Our worship may be simple or ornate, traditional or contemporary, somber or filled with spirited music. We read and participate in literature and media of our choice that is un-censored. We vote by secret ballot without fear. In each of these actions, we exercise and celebrate the freedoms that we have. We owe these freedoms to the heroes who serve and protect us. We owe them everlasting gratitude. Peace is a fragile thing that needs constant defense. 

Ronald Reagan told the story of Audie Murphy and his remarkable courage. “For what else would you call it when a man bounds to the top of a disabled tank, stops an enemy advance, saves lives, and rallies his men, and all of it single-handedly. When he radioed for artillery support and was asked how close the enemy was to his position, he said, “Wait a minute and I’ll let you speak to them.” With stories of such bravery & calm in the eye of a storm, on Memorial Day, we honor our heroes. We come not to mourn but to praise. What we lose from their absence, we gain in inspiration. 

Let us remember across this great country, where our fallen heroes lie, the silence in the cemeteries, sings the National Anthem. On their grave the rain falls from the eyes of a grateful nation! The Glory is theirs. The Duty is ours! God Bless our heroes and their families. God Bless The United States of America!


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41

State Representative Report

           Sabi 'Doc' Kumar  
       ​
                                                                                                               The Tennessean, May 5, 2017

Robertson County Connection, May 16,, 2017

The Robertson County Times, May 24, 2017  


Political Polarization and the National Mood

Sabi ‘Doc’ Kumar MD

For the past several years, we are aware of political polarization in Washington. Based on ideological grounds, there has been increasing separation among our elected and appointed elite. Sharing a meal, time at the gym or participation in groups including Bible study or a music band are known to have split along party lines. We heard about this divide, vaguely. It did not touch our lives. It was far away, in Washington. Most of us do not move in those circles. 

Then the disease of polarization moved out of Washington and spread to the rest of our nation, especially over the last election cycle. Civility, kindness, courtesy, listening to others, all became quaint, old-fashioned values. The players on the national stage adopted, and stayed in, the attack mode. The media loved it, propagated it and enjoyed the fruits as ratings climbed. Instead of the finale, that should have brought closure at the end of an epic drama, our nation moved to a new stage, called hyper-polarization. Through human history, wars and struggles have been, usually, followed by a period of peace and relative tranquility as mankind ponders, for a while, the folly of it all. I hoped for the wise, the peacemakers, the intellectuals to take the stage and work to restore values lost.

Instead, hyper-polarization has taken over. It has affected our national and societal mood. Freedom of speech, expression of our beliefs and the right to demonstrate are sacred to our democratic values. Democracy is a dialogue and all sides have a role to play in that dialogue. Hyper-polarization, however, works to drown and silence the opposing voices.

It is time that we examine the effect on our national mood and our psyche.  As I walk from the Legislative Plaza to the Capitol for each legislative session, the hallways are lined with demonstrators. They are welcome. It is the people’s house. But the visitor’s demeanor is aggressive. The shouts are loud. The signs are in the ‘attack mode’. In the din and the echoes of the Capitol, it is difficult to understand what they are saying. Legislators ask each other what the demonstrators are about. Sometimes the cause a group is shouting about is neither before the legislature, nor a state matter. I try to smile and acknowledge and thank the demonstrators for being there. They do not respond. They do not smile. They do not make eye contact. I am puzzled. If they want to express a cause to me, why would they not talk to me, I wonder.  

Many of the demonstrators are children. A haunting scene has been a 12 year old girl pushing a sign towards me that says, “Hypocrite!” I am more than five times her age. Do her parents not teach her to respect elders? Does she know what the sign means? Does she understand the cause? Does she know the other side of the cause? Does she know that she should know the other side of the cause? Does she think that she can insult people and expect them to support her cause? 

That is too much to ask of a 12 year old, I tell myself. But, I do know that, age 12 is an important time to teach her about respect. If she is not taught to respect age, authority or leadership, will she respect her parents? I hope that we will remember to teach our children the values that will serve them, and our nation, well.

 Sabi ‘Doc’ Kumar MD is State Representative from District 66, Robertson County.


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40

State Representative Report

           Sabi 'Doc' Kumar         ​
                                                                                                                 
The Robertson County Connection, Mar 30, 2017


About The Gas Tax 

Our beloved state of Tennessee is blessed with good economic conditions at this time. We have a balanced budget, low unemployment, AAA credit rating and a well-funded retirement plan. This is the result of sound fiscal and conservative policies. One result of this economic boom is traffic congestion. Because two out of three Robertson county residents work outside the county, we are greatly affected by the traffic woes in middle Tennessee. 

We need good, safe roads without congestion. Tennessee roads are considered among the best in the nation. It is good that we have no debt related to road construction or maintenance. As our economy continues to flourish, we must build and maintain better roads and bridges. We pay for this need through the Transportation Fund. Several years ago, in hard times, the Transport Fund was raided and about $260M was taken to pay other expenses. That money has been returned. We have a backlog of hundreds of projects for roads and bridges. 

 We must fund road construction and maintenance. The question is how. The major issue during the current Legislative session has been whether we should raise the fuel tax to pay for it. The current State taxes, per gallon, are 23¢ for gas and 18¢ for diesel. Diesel used for farm equipment is exempt from tax. To this is also added a per gallon federal tax of 18¢ for gas and 24¢ for diesel. Governor Haslam has proposed a per gallon increase of 7¢ for gas and 12¢ for diesel.  This will generate an additional $270M a year for the Transport Fund. A certain amount will go to the cities and counties. 

I want to repeat that we must fund road construction and maintenance. But should we do this with a tax increase? Let us consider the pros and the cons and the alternatives. 

The Case for a Fuel Tax Increase is that our taxes are low. We have not had a fuel tax increase since 1989. With inflation, 23¢ from 1989 is worth 11¢ now. Vehicles are much more efficient now and use less gas today, which lowers consumption. (Although people drive more now than in 1989). The increase is small, about the cost of one lunch per month. 

The Case Against a Fuel Tax Increase is that, ideologically, the Legislature is against raising taxes. We have a tremendous Budget Surplus. We had almost $1 billion extra cash last year and will, most likely, have the same this year. The extra cash has been used to add to our savings account (the rainy day fund), education funding and university buildings. Governor Haslam wants to cut business tax, Hall income tax and sales tax for groceries by half a cent. As the Governor’s proposal moves through about six committees, it is being constantly changed. Our transportation needs are ‘critical’. Yet none of the extra cash is being put into this cause. The question is why the extra cash that is to be used for tax cuts cannot be put into the Transportation Fund, eliminating the need for a tax increase. 

The alternative proposals include transfer of a quarter of a cent of the sales tax revenue or transfer of a part of the sales tax revenue from the sale of automobiles to the Transportation Fund. Both of these will bring in about the same amount of money as the gas tax.

I hope that I have been able to inform you. It is my duty. Please Pray for Wisdom. And give me your opinion at 615-741-2860 or Rep.Sabi.Kumar@Capitol.tn.gov. God Bless!


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39

State Representative Report

                                Sabi 'Doc' Kumar                           ​
                                                                               
                                                                                     The Tennessean Mar 7, 2017

 Robertson County Connection,

The Robertson County Times

Later Dates     

Eleven Myths of Medical Marijuana


Tennessee lawmaker and physician addresses realities of medicinal pot.
Sabi "Doc" Kumar is a surgeon and state representative from District 66, Robertson County.

Marijuana has medical value in certain conditions. Benefits for many more conditions are claimed, but medical proof is lacking. In some conditions, marijuana may help only a few patients. I believe that if medical marijuana helps a patient, they should have it. The decision should be based on medical science and not social media. The decision should be between the patient and their physician. Considering that FDA-approved "medical" marijuana is available in pill form, this should be the chosen method of prescription. The patient should be under medical care so that the use and dose are correct.

Sadly, a matter that should be medical has become political. Misunderstandings and myths prevail. We must balance patients’ needs with societal consequences of plant marijuana legalization. Expert testimony before the Ad Hoc Taskforce on Opioid Abuse last month provided valuable answers. Many myths (in italics) were clarified:

1. Marijuana is safe: In Colorado, marijuana-related traffic deaths increased from 10 percent to 21 percent in five years. Today, 77 percent of DUIDs (driving under the influence of drugs) involve marijuana. Marijuana contains 50 percent to 70 percent more carcinogens than tobacco. Psychosis and impairment of the developing (teenage) brain with decrease in IQ are well known.

2. Marijuana Overdoses never happen: Woodstock marijuana had a THC — the main substance in marijuana — content of 3 percent to 5 percent. Today, THC content is up to 40 percent. Concentrates can achieve 90 percent content. Marijuana-related hospitalizations in Colorado increased from 6,305 in 2011 to 11,439 in 2014. Most overdoses are due to edibles. Beware of brownies!

3.Marijuana Cures so many illnesses: Given the patchwork of state laws, marijuana is a cure for Crohn’s Disease in one state but not so in the next state. These laws are not based on science.

4. Double Blind Studies: These are not possible with marijuana. Study subjects cannot be blinded. They know if they are receiving placebo or the real thing because of the distinct smell and the high!

5. Marijuana is "natural," a plant! So is tobacco or broccoli. God gave us both. He also gave us the brains to know which is safe.

6. Marijuana is Not Addictive: “… Offenders facing jail time cannot stay away from it. When a man is willing to give up freedom for it, if it is not addiction I don’t know what to call it," Judge Ken Goble, General Sessions Court, Montgomery County, testifying before Ad Hoc Taskforce on Opioid Abuse, Feb 16.  National Institute on Drug Abuse puts the number at 30 percent.

7. Marijuana is not a Gateway Drug: Economics changes behavior. When marijuana prices dropped because of legalization in Colorado, drug cartels competed by dropping the price of heroin. Vulnerable users switched. The National Institute on Drug Abuse confirmed this month that marijuana use raises the risk of Substance Use Disorder (SUD).

8. There is no diversion from growers, each plant is tagged. We cannot tag each leaf and bud on each plant.  In 2015, there were 394 seizures of diverted marijuana by the Colorado Highway Patrol. Tennessee is a destination.

9. Opioid deaths decreased in states with legal marijuana: It is sad to think that trading one addiction for another is better. As noted above, when marijuana enters a market, drug cartels compete by lowering the price of heroin. So opioid deaths decreased because heroin use, and deaths, increased.

10. Marijuana brings jobs and tax revenue: When employers come to a state, they want to know if the workforce is educated, will they pass a drug test, and will they show up on time. Fifty of the 64 counties in Colorado now prohibit or limit marijuana growing facilities. They do not want those jobs because of diversion and difficulties in handling drug sale money.

11. The Entourage Effect: Because there are more than a hundred trace cannabinoids in marijuana plant, the thought is that there is magic in one of those compounds or the compounds work better together. There are also more than 70 carcinogens in marijuana. In the FDA approved pill form, these have been removed.

I hope that we can serve our patients by providing them “medical” marijuana, under medical supervision, and not a street drug.

Sabi "Doc" Kumar is a surgeon and State Representative from District 66, Robertson County.



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38

State Representative Report

           Sabi 'Doc' Kumar                       
    ​
                                                                                                                The Robertson County Connection, Feb 21. 2017


The State of Tennessee  May Have Money For You

 Office of the Tennessee State Treasurer says that citizens of Robertson County have $ 6,574,147.68 in unclaimed property and funds that are being held by the Treasurer. This fortune is waiting to be claimed by our citizens. This is really true. You can check it out at: www.claimitttn.gov

I received this information in a letter from David H. Lillard, Jr, Tennessee State Treasurer. The letter further explained that the Department of Treasury administers the Division of Unclaimed Property to “help re-unite owners with their funds”. I did not know that our great State operates a “Lost and Found” department. As I learned more about it, I was impressed. I thought this was the good side of government! Despite the negative news of the day, our faith in mankind should move up a notch as we consider the honesty of the businesses and state agencies who have turned these assets over. 

Considering that it is my duty to represent your interests at the State, I called the Treasurer’s office to learn more. I did not expect to find a treasure for me, and I did not. I did find that a family member has $150 waiting for them! I was curious and I wanted to learn where this money and property come from. A day later, I received a response. It appears that these unclaimed assets are mostly bank accounts, stock certificates, checks, unclaimed wages, refunds and gift certificates. The assets are discovered, usually, by auditors of the State or a business. When there is no response from the owner of the assets and efforts to locate the owner are unsuccessful, the assets are, by law, turned over to the State Division of Unclaimed Property.  These come from banks, businesses and various departments of State government. 

The information from the State Treasurer’s Office stressed that there is no fee for Tennesseans to claim their property. You do not need a broker, agency or service that wants to help you, for a fee. There is no time limit. The assets can be claimed after any length of time. The Division of Unclaimed Property is presently holding $789.2M. This office received assets worth $ 82M during 2016. They returned $ 34M to claimants during 2016. There were more than 41,000 claims filed. The average pay out was $ 800. The largest amount paid was $ 1.2M to an elderly widow. 

Before you rush to search for your share of the pie, the department has some advice. The best places to search are www.claimittn.gov or www.MissingMoney.com.  Be aware that the names of the owners are listed as submitted to the state. These may be incorrect and that may be the reason that the owner could not be found. When you search a name, search also for common misspellings or other ways the name might be listed. If applicable, search for the name of your business also. 

And if you do really discover and collect a very big or a very small fortune, I ask you to do three things. First, remember to send me a thank you note. Second, please donate a portion to your church or charity. Third, do something fun! May the good fortune be yours. God Bless!


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37

  State Representative Report

                               Sabi 'Doc' Kumar      
                     ​
                                                                                                The Robertson County Connection, Jan 7, 2017


The 110th General Assembly 

Politically, 2016 was a year like none! Our national scene was polarized. Opinions on the far sides of the political spectrum were extreme. Respect for the other opinion, art of listening, courtesy and civility were lost. Fortunately, the mood in the local elections was not greatly affected by the big national tidal wave. Whereas, the presidential election was so unpredictable, state and local elections stayed predictable. 

Tennesseans stayed true to our conservative Tennessee values. Of the 99 seats in the House of Representatives, 74 will be filled by the Republicans and 25 by the Democrats. The State Senate, likewise, will continue to be dominated by the Republicans 28-5. These are super-majorities for the conservatives. We are grateful for the confidence that voters have shown. We must remember the responsibility that we have to justify the expectations of our voters. 

Since our State elects a new General Assembly every two years and this is the 110th such election, it means that we have been doing this for 220 years. Tennessee became a State of the Union on June 1, 1796. Originally, this territory was a part of the state of North Carolina. The residents of the future state of Tennessee felt that their needs were neglected. They wished for better security and more freedom to navigate the Mississippi river. In an effort to meet these needs, the state of Franklin was created in 1786. John Sevier served as the first Governor. In the census of 1796, the territory that is Tennessee, today, achieved the census to become the new and great state of Tennessee. 

At this time, we in Tennessee enjoy good economic circumstances. Our budget is balanced. We have no debt. Our state pensions are fully funded. This is in comparison to Illinois where the state employee’s pensions are funded at only 10 percent. Our rainy day fund, which I call the savings account, is $ 670 million strong. Unemployment is low. Our financial rating is AAA. Our industries in agriculture, music, healthcare, tourism, services and manufacturing are flourishing. We continue to improve in education. All this is a result of good conservative fiscal policies and a regulatory environment that promotes commerce. Our other major needs are the support that we owe our Veterans and improvement of our roads and transportation infra-structure.

The hot button issues for the coming session are likely to be management of a budget surplus that may be close to one billion dollars! This is the time for careful management. A $750 M budget surplus, last year, well was used to contribute to capital improvements at our universities, increased funding for K-12 education, a deserved raise for our teachers, addition to the rainy day fund and restoration of the money that had been taken from the transportation fund. Restoration of Veteran’s benefits is a priority. Governor Bill Haslam has met with us in small groups and will formally submit the budget proposal later this month. 

We have to remember that good times do not last. We must be careful with the public money and commit wisely. I feel truly honored to represent you and pray to God that we will have the wisdom to justify the public trust!



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36

  State Representative Report

                               Sabi 'Doc' Kumar                
           ​
                                                                                                      The Robertson County Connection, Oct 28, 2016


The Anxiety of Election 2016 

If shaking of our heads, from side to side, would work as exercise, we will be a very fit and healthy nation, indeed! I am certain that you, also, have noticed this to be the most common response among folks when the matter of Presidential election comes up. Almost all agree that, at the national level, this is the most unusual election of our lifetime. All other news, especially international news, has been replaced by the reality TV spectacle of the current election. Coverage of this election is easy to produce, inexpensive and has great ratings. The media is making money and loving it! We worry about the fate and the future of our nation! 

The national mood is of division and polarization. Extreme wings of our political spectrum are so vocal and so demanding. We used to look upon our journalists as trustworthy reporters of happenings around the world. I remember Walter Cronkite as the most trusted man in America. He reported, in turbulent times, in a manner that reassured us and informed us. Today the journalists openly present themselves as representatives of a campaign. Thoughtful analysis is not on the menu, only ingenuous twisting and pivoting of ‘points’ to their candidate’s favor or mudslinging at the opponent. Compromise is considered to be a philosophy of weakness. If we agree with a person ‘most of the time’, we considered them to be a friend.  Today a one hundred percent allegiance is demanded, or else. Name calling, insulting, spinning and twisting of the truth are standard practice. Sadly, the national discourse has affected the local races too. Hence the shaking of our heads, from side to side! 

Our country is a strong democracy. We have great traditions of respect for our constitution and for defense of liberty and freedom. The Presidential Oath of Office specifically includes the text that the elected person “will, to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States". Every person elected to an office in the State of Tennessee, is required to take an oath to support the Constitution of this State and of the United States. Considering the weight of this responsibility, certain abilities and attributes are necessary for these office holders. The President of the United States is correctly billed as the ‘Leader of the Free World’. Our obligation is to elect a person who will step up to fill that role and not relinquish American leadership of the world that has been earned with great sacrifices of our soldiers, veterans, scientists,  inventors and entrepreneurs. At this time of turmoil on our planet, the world needs strong American leadership as much as America needs strong leadership! We need leaders who are role models for our young people. We want to be proud and be able to point towards our leaders as we tell our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren what they should grow up to be! 

The choices at the national level are difficult and we face critical decisions about the direction of our society and our country. My hope is that this national circumstance leads us toward prayer, and toward God, just as we do when faced with difficult choices in everyday life. God Bless Our Nation!


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35
State Representative Report

                    Sabi 'Doc' Kumar                      ​

                                                                                                                         The Robertson County Connection, Oct 26, 2016


The Most Dangerous Traffic Spot in Robertson County

Even before I was elected to be your State Representative, I knew that the intersection of Highways 49 and 257 was a dangerous spot. We passed through it when we visited my wife Linda’s parents. Many accidents have occurred at this intersection. I have personally known people who were seriously injured. One of them is a good friend, and a nurse, at NorthCrest. When I visit the popular breakfast spot at the junction of 431 and 257, we often discuss the need for a traffic light at the 49-257 intersection.

I thought that conversion of the existing caution light to a traffic signal would be fairly simple. So, I took on this task early. I was elected on November 4, 2014. I met with the TDOT Commissioner, John Schroer, on November 14. This was before I had been sworn in. Commissioner Schroer was very gracious as we discovered that we were both Methodists. I was told that it should occur in the fourth quarter of 2016. I thought that was too long. Then I learned the seven steps to this project.

The first step is a Road safety Audit (RSA). This is an evaluation of accidents at the site, analysis of causes of these accidents including time of the day or night, light conditions, weather, direction of travel etc. Obviously, accidents that involve fatalities or injuries carry more weight than property damage. The Audit Team visited the site, drove from and into all directions, took photographs, inspected road markings and examined maps. The following week, I attended a meeting. The project was approved.

The second step was project planning. It was determined that there is need for turn lanes as well as a traffic signal. That increased the project cost to about $ 200,000.

So the third step was funding. This had to, by law, come from Penalty Highway Safety Improvement Program (PHSIP), under the control of Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). We waited till December 2015, when US Congress slowly passed the FAST Act (Fixing America’s Surface Transport)!

The fourth step is the Right of Way (ROW) purchase because turn lanes are to be added. This process includes appraisal, review, inspection, offer, negotiation, possible condemnation, preparation of paperwork. All this can take 7-10 months! I offered to intervene so we could speed things up. I discovered that it is illegal, for me, to talk to a property owner because that can be considered undue pressure!

The fifth step is utility relocation. The utility company has to be consulted for coordination and has 120 days to respond.  Codes require that the existing wooden poles for the caution light be replaced by metal poles for the traffic signal. Replacement of the poles means that ground will be “disturbed”. If that is done, National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires an “environmental” study! This becomes the sixth step.

The seventh and final step is installation. The TDOT Engineers, Legislative Liaison, the Chief Engineer and the Commissioner have really been helpful. These are good Tennesseans. But we do not have the traffic signal yet!

I continue to work, and pray that another accident does not happen while the process is moving.


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34

State Representative Report

           Sabi 'Doc' Kumar    
                       ​

                      The Robertson County Connection,  Oct 19,2016    
                                                                                 

Vote for ‘Doc’

Yes My Friends! It is my Honor to serve as your State Representative to the Tennessee Legislature. I have really enjoyed my service during the last two years. I certainly want to continue and I Ask for Your Vote because:

I Have Served the People.
I have answered all calls, messages, emails and letters as your State Rep just as I have, as a surgeon, for the last 39 years. When I receive a call for help with a state matter, I am able to connect with the state official who can help.  Life being what it is, not all problems can be solved. When such is the case, I explain why and listen to my fellow citizens. Folks understand.
A particular joy has been to attend High School Graduations in our schools. It is reassuring to see bright young people moving to the next chapter of their lives. I have invited them to come and shadow with me as a Surgeon or as a State Representative. Many have done so. It is a blessing to guide and inspire them.
Yes, I also have had about one and a half people disagree with me strongly. I say one and a half because one of the two actually came around and became nice. The other was almost nasty. We all need that in life!

I Have Served The Community.
I was elected to be your State Representative on November 4, 2014. Just ten days later, on November 14, 2014, I met with TDOT Commissioner John Schroer. I had not even been sworn in yet! I met about widening of highway 431 and the need for a traffic signal at the junction of highways 49 - 257. Construction is inconvenient. But it is going to be great!
When a kid’s summer program needed help with state regulators, when a city needed relief from a building moratorium, when building permits were delayed, when a Special Ed child needed their educational plan revised, when our law enforcement was concerned about forfeiture laws, I was able to intervene and get things done.
I have visited, supported and honored our Veterans.   

I Have Served The State.
I have proudly stood for our Common Sense Conservative Values at the state level. This has meant lowered taxes, a balanced budget (Yes!), AAA finance rating for our state and a solid rainy day fund. I pushed for the largest ever increase, of $ 262 million, in K-12 funding to support our public schools and $ 104 million towards raises for our teachers.  Tennessee is the fastest improving state in education. We now rank number 34 (up from 49) among the 50 states!

I have stood firmly for our Values: Pro-Life, Constitution and Second Amendment: a mistake on my NRA rating has been corrected on their website!

I Have Given Back to Our Community.
As you know, I ran for this office so I could give back to my community that has given me everything I have, including my wife Linda – 35 great years!
I donate my legislative salary to local Charities. I do not accept expense money from state.

Looking Ahead
 I have set a foundation of trust, friendship, intellectual depth and honesty with the citizens and fellow legislators. I plan to build upon it.  Fellow Legislators have sought and valued my opinions in matters of healthcare, business and education. My priorities for the next year include healthcare, education and a strong economy. Restoration of tax assistance for our Veterans and the disabled is a priority!

My Friends, this is a critical year and a critical election for our nation. Please pray for God’s Guidance and think seriously. I ask for your vote and thank you for the trust you have placed in me! God Bless You and Our Nation!

      ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

                                                                                      33
                                                               State Representative Report

                                                                       Sabi 'Doc' Kumar                    

                                Robertson County Connection Sep 26. 2016

                                                     Feeling Special at the Legislature 

Upon a Proclamation issued by Governor Bill Haslam, under Article 3 Section 9 of our state constitution, the 109th General Assembly of the Tennessee Legislature met for a Special Session on September 12-14, 2016. The names given, to this event, were a ‘Special Session’ or ‘Extraordinary Session’. In reality, it was both. I have a special feeling each time I enter the majestic House Chamber. What an honor and privilege! I always remember the good people of Robertson County who sent me there and whom I serve! 

The reason for the session was that we make a correction to the law that applies to citizens between 18 – 21 years of age, who are convicted of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs. A variation had occurred between our state law and the federal law. The federal government threatened to withhold $ 60 M in highway funding if we did not fall in line. 

The problem arose from good intentions, but there was an oversight. We agree that DUI is a dangerous and terrible offense. It can, and often does, have tragic consequences. We should do all we can, to discourage such behavior. This includes awareness, education and punishment for violators. So we passed a law that made the penalty for under-age DUI to be the same as for an adult. It seemed proper that consequences of DUI for a 20 year old should not be lighter than those for a 21 year old. It followed that if the punishment for a 20 year old is the same as for an adult, the threshold, i.e. the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) allowed, should also be the same. So, we passed that a BAC of 0.08% or higher be considered DUI for underage drinking, just as it is for adults. It passed by a vote of 97-2 in the House and 33-0 in the Senate. The federal law, however, allows a BAC of only 0.02% for underage drinking. This 0.02% level is set to accommodate a person taking a cough syrup or other medicine containing alcohol. The federal government was insistent that our law be changed to conform with federal law.

Our Governor, Attorney General and Congressional representatives explained to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration that Tennessee also has a zero tolerance law regarding underage DUI and, therefore, we are in compliance with federal law. But the federal authorities were not agreeable. 

The cost of a Legislative session is about $25,000 per day to our state, considering that 99 Representatives and 33 Senators return to the Capitol. The session lasted three days and saved $60 M in federal funds. On a sad note, while in session, we also acted to expel one of our members accused of sexual harassment offenses against the legislative staff. 

I noted, on the floor of the House, that the Federal Government is selective in enforcement of Laws and Constitutional demands. Federal marijuana, marriage, and immigration laws are openly ignored by states and cities without consequences. 

I pray that our nation will return to the respect and enforcement of law in a consistent and open manner.

       God Bless!                                          

     ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


32

                                                     State Representative Report

                                                          Sabi 'Doc' Kumar

​                                                                                
The Robertson County Connection, Aug 30, 2016

                                                               The Check from Uncle Sam! 

As your state representative, I discovered that the United States government pays about forty percent of the annual Tennessee State Budget. That is about $ 14 billion of about $ 36 billion total expense, of our state government.

I assumed that this money comes to us from the taxes paid by our citizens and businesses. I thought the federal government collects these taxes, keeps what it needs for federal expenses, such as defense, and returns the rest. That is how it should be, I thought. I should know better. Anything related to government has to be far more complex! Considering the matters of money and budgeting, things become super-complicated! 

In an effort to understand how the states’ share of the federal jackpot is determined, I wrote to Mr Justin Wilson, Comptroller of the State of Tennessee. I asked him to educate me. Justin is the mold for a grand old southern gentleman. He remembers birthdays and finds a way to complement all. He is our financial conscience. He preaches prudence with tax dollars. He comes to our offices on Saturdays before Easter and hides Easter eggs! I had reached out to the right person. I learned a lot. 

Thirty states, in the union, receive more in federal spending than they pay in federal taxes, while the other twenty states pay more in federal taxes than they receive in federal spending. New Mexico and Mississippi are the largest net beneficiaries. New Jersey and Illinois are usually the largest net contributors. States in the Northeast, Great Lakes, and Pacific are generally net contributors, while Southern and Great Plains states are generally net beneficiaries.


Tennessee is a net recipient of federal funds and is in the middle of the range.


The determination about which state receives what is a grand Constitutional calculation. The U.S. Constitution requires that ‘direct taxes’, collected from the people, be apportioned back to the states according to their population, so that per capita revenues to the states would be equal for all citizens. 

In 1913, the 16th Amendment to the Constitution was adopted. This was in response to the 1895 US Supreme Court ruling, in Pollock vs Farmer’s Loan & Trust,  that ‘indirect taxes’ derived from rent, dividends and interest were in the same category as ‘direct taxes’. Since that time, taxation as well as spending per capita has ranged widely between the states. 

So what rate of return are we, the Tennesseans, getting on our taxes? It is more complicated than just adding the moneys received by the various departments of our state government. Additional moneys received include veterans, retirement and disability benefits, student aid, research and other grants, federal contracts, wages to federal employees and military personnel.

 Do we want more money from the federal government?

My friends, this is a serious question! Federal money comes with strings that pull on our liberties, freedoms and moral values. It is adding to our gigantic national debt, for which we will be accountable. Federal threats to ‘withhold funding’ if we do not obey their social agenda should give us serious pause.

With the current conservative, business-friendly policies, our state economy and financials are strong. God Bless Tennessee and the hard working Tennesseans!



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                                                                    31

                                                                                                

                                                     State Representative Report

                                                          Sabi 'Doc' Kumar

​                                                                                The Robertson County Connection, Jul 30, 2016


                                                                            It is My Honor!

Yes, My Friends! It is my Honor to serve as your State Representative to the Tennessee Legislature from District 66, Robertson County. I have really enjoyed my service during the last two years. I certainly want to continue and I ask for your Vote! I ask for Your Vote because:

I Have Served the People.  

I am proud to claim that I have answered all calls, messages, emails and letters. It is a natural habit because I have done this, as a surgeon, for the last 39 years. When I receive a call for help with a state matter, I am able to help or connect with the right person who can help.  Life being what it is, not all problems can be solved. When such is the case, I explain why and listen to my fellow citizens. Folks understand.

A particular joy has been to attend High School Graduations in our schools. It is reassuring to see bright young people moving to the next chapter of their lives. I have invited them to come and shadow with me as a Surgeon or as a State Representative. Many have done so. It is a blessing to guide and inspire them.

Yes, I also have had about one and a half people disagree with me strongly. I say one and a half because one of the two actually came around and became nice. The other was almost nasty. We all need that in life!

                                                   I Have Served The Community.

I was elected to be your State Representative on November 4, 2014. Just ten days later, on November 14, 2014, I met with TDOT Commissioner John Schroer. I had not even been sworn in yet! I met about widening of highway 431 and the need for a traffic signal at the junction of highways 49 - 257. These plans have existed for many years but I was able to push so that we, now really, have construction in progress on highway 431.  Construction is inconvenient. My wife complains about it a few times a day. But it is going to be great!

When a kid’s summer program needed help with state regulators, when a city needed relief from a building moratorium, when building permits were delayed, when a Special Ed child needed their educational plan revised, when our industrial board was concerned about a bill that would interfere with their function, when snow removal was delayed, when our law enforcement was concerned about forfeiture laws, it was my blessing to be able to intervene and get things done.

I have often visited, supported and honored our Veterans.    

                                                       I Have Served The State.

I have proudly stood for our Common Sense Conservative Values at the state level. This has meant lowered taxes, a balanced budget (Yes!), AAA finance rating for our state and a solid $700 million rainy day fund. I pushed for the largest ever increase, of $ 262 million, in K-12 funding to support our public schools and $ 104 million towards raises for our great teachers.  Tennessee is the fastest improving state in education. We now rank number 34 (up from 49) among the 50 states!

I have stood firmly for our moral values: Pro-Life, Fiscal Prudence and Second Amendment.

My Legislative accomplishments have included the Patient Empowerment Act that allows physicians to provide care to non-insured patients for defined monthly payments without being subject to insurance regulations, availability of emergency treatment for serious allergic reactions in public places, law enforcement efforts to inform families about drug and alcohol as a factor in major vehicle accidents before releasing such information to media.  

                                              I Have Given Back to Our Community.

As you know, I ran for this office so I could give back to my community that has given me everything that I have, including my wife Linda – 35 great years!

I have, every year, donated my salary to local causes and civic organizations. I do not accept expense money from the state. I am giving back and I am thankful for the privilege and the blessing that it is!

I am grateful to the Robertson County Connection for allowing me to publish 30 (thirty) articles in this paper during the last year and a half. These have allowed me to communicate and be in touch with you!

                                                                  Looking Ahead

 I have set a foundation of trust, friendship, intellectual depth and honesty with the citizens and fellow legislators. I plan to build upon it.  Fellow Legislators have sought and valued my opinions in matters of healthcare, business and education. Some of my priorities for the next session include bills to assure continuity of medical care, medical care by volunteer providers for those without insurance, prevention of surprise medical bills in out of network situations, pilot Leader In Me educational programs, pilot Horizon summer educational programs, mandatory sobriety monitoring for repeat DUI offenders and for those who committed their offense while under the influence.

Restoration of tax assistance for our Veterans and the disabled is a priority!

My Friends, this is a critical year and a critical election for our nation and for our society. Please pray for God’s Guidance and think seriously. I ask for your vote and thank you for the trust you have placed in me! God Bless You and Our Nation! 



     _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

                                                                   30 


                                               State Representative Report

                                                     SABI 'DOC' KUMAR     
                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
The Robertson County Connection, Jul 26, 2016


                                                               Do Local Elections Really Matter? 

“This is the Most Important Election of Our Lifetime!” This phrase has been used often. We have heard it often. Well, my friends, it appears that this time, it might really be true. This is the time to think seriously about how we vote. This is the time to pray deeply! With controversial nominees for both major political parties, the national election has captured our attention. National media has played up the controversies, conflicts and personal attacks to boost ratings and profits. For a while, world events were scarcely reported because the sensationalized national news was low cost, easy to report and generated the buzz. In the frenzy of the 2016 Presidential election, let us not forget the importance of local politics 

We are not likely to meet Obama, Clinton or Trump at the grocery store but we do come across our local officials. These include the mayors, county commissioners, aldermen, sheriff, court clerks, trustees, registrars and property assessors. Our School Board members make critical decisions about the education of our children. They decide how our $ 92 million budget is spent, which new schools are built, which schools are renovated, which text books our children read. These community leaders are known to all of us and we can discuss our concerns with them.

Local government is the government that matters daily in our lives. Our County Commissioners vote on so many important aspects in our community. This includes our schools, roads, law enforcement, property taxes, zoning and other matters. We can attend our county commission meetings and know how they manage a budget of $ 145 million. If a pothole develops on our street, we can call our town hall to get it fixed. When a traffic accident happens in town, an officer of the local police or sheriff’s department will usually be the first responder. Parents trust their local government when they put their kids on the school bus in the morning so they can go to the local public school.

A government that is closer to us, the people, is the government that affects us most. I have personally enjoyed the politics of Small-Scale Democracy! When constituents call me about problems that are really under the control of the mayor, I am honored and happy to call the mayor.

Although not elected, we must recognize the civic volunteers in our communities. These are the leaders who run the local civic organizations. These are the volunteers who work at our local hospital and in many organizations that help the needy. These are the volunteers who work the elections at local polling stations. I treasure the traditions that they have developed, and that includes the favorite pies that each of them has always brought on election day. Where else can you go to vote, have your ID checked by a friend, vote and get a piece of a pie on the way out! That is my reason to vote! God bless our local leaders and volunteers!

Issues of concern to our communities have the potential to pique the interest at state and national levels. So, I ask you to express your commitment in local government and always vote in local elections. Folks, local elections do really matter!

        __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


                                                                     29

                                               State Representative Report

                                                     SABI 'DOC' KUMAR     

                                                                                     The Robertson County Times, Jun 29, 2016 

                                                                                                  The Robertson County Connection, Jun 27, 2016


                                                         On Being American  

Two hundred and forty years ago, on the 4th of July, our founding fathers established a new nation and became Americans. Today, it is an important time for us to renew our thinking and to understand what it means to be an American.

To me, the advice on this matter was given to me by two mothers, my Indian mother and my American mother! I arrived in New York on December 3, 1970 from India. My mother visited me in 1972 and 1974, staying for about three months each time. In 1981, as Linda and I were ready to get married, my mom came to America again. Since I am an only child, and considering mom’s age, Linda and I wanted her to stay and she was happy to be in America. She was particularly happy that I had done well and had a successful surgical practice in Springfield, Tennessee. As she met people in Robertson County and experienced the warmth and the kindness, she told me, “Sabi, people in America have loved you. You should love them back. You should love their society.” This was an eloquent statement with depth and simplicity of ‘old country’ values.  The translation was, "This is my home. I should belong and assimilate. I should honor the kindness that I have received".

America is the Land of Opportunity, the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave. I know this to be true. That is why I arrived in America 46 years ago with thirty seven dollars in my pocket. I, also, had something of immense value. And that was a medical degree. I had an internship waiting for me in Miami and a local family who had accepted me to stay with them as a foreign student. On the flight from New York to Miami, an attorney who was sitting next to me, realized how lost I was. I had not called my host family to tell them that I was arriving! I did not know their phone number. I did have an address. So my new friend drove me to the home of my host family. 

My host family was Shirley and Morton Schultz. Morton has passed away and Shirley has moved to Grand Junction, CO, to be with her daughter. Shirley is a remarkable lady. She has been the American mom to many visiting students. When Miami became heavily Spanish with Cuban arrivals, Shirley went to the University of Miami to learn and become fluent in Spanish. At age 85, she spent a summer in a Chinese village teaching English. She is 94 and has taken Shakespeare courses in Grand Junction!

By example, Shirley showed me what it means to be an American. And she gave me plenty of advice! When I was leaving Miami to come to Springfield she said,”Sabi, don’t be concerned if people see you as a foreigner. You are. You have to realize that, to some people, a person coming to Springfield from Nashville is a foreigner. Be a part of the community and they will love you just as we do.”  

For me, being an American, means to belong and not demand. Thank You, America and God Bless!

  _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


                                                                28


                                               State Representative Report


                                                     SABI 'DOC' KUMAR              The Tennessean: May 29, 2016                                                                                                                                                           

                                                             Obamacare Fails to Solve Healthcare Problems 

In 2008, Presidential Candidate Barrack Obama promised, “If you don’t have health insurance, you’re going to be able to buy the same kind of insurance that Senator McCain and I enjoy as federal employees. Because there’s a huge pool, we can drop the costs”. Considering a Democratic majority in Congress at the time, the promise was deliverable.

Instead, we have a failed promise and numerous problems.

 1. The Individual Mandate requires all to have health insurance or pay a penalty. For a young invincible, insurance costs thousands more than the penalty. We know that people should have insurance. We also know that broccoli is good for us. Can the government make us eat broccoli?


  2.The Employer Mandate requires employers with more than 50 full time employees to offer health insurance for those working over 30 hours a week. So, many employees get to work 29 hours. Although under-employed, they are considered employed. Employers do not have to cover them.  Former Governor Phil Bredesen warned that it is cheaper for an employer to pay penalties than provide health insurance.


  3. Despite Obamacare, 30 million Americans remain un-insured. Approximately 11.3 million have signed up. Many of them are deceptively under-insured. Deductibles and co-pays can be 10-20% of a family’s yearly income. Cost of care for many common illnesses being below the deductible, enrollees have to pay out-of-pocket. Under threat of penalty, they are forced to buy insurance that does not serve their needs.


  4. Subsidies for out-of-pocket expenses are not available to those who can afford only the Bronze plans. Considering the purpose of a subsidy is to help the needy, this is reverse logic.


  5. The poorest in our society, with incomes at or below 138% of federal poverty level, are not covered. They were left to the circumstances of their states, hoping for Medicaid expansion. An added deception is that if a state expands Medicaid and accepts federal funds, federal payments for uncompensated care may be lost.


  6. Insurance subsidies help families with incomes up to $94,400. These subsidies are not scaled but jump from one level to next. If a family makes $100 more, a move to the next bracket can cost them $3,000 in lost subsidies.  This creates uncertainty and a disincentive to hard work.


  7. Electronic Health Record is a major boondoggle. The promise was efficiency and lower costs. Instead, a computer screen now stands between the doctor and patient, limiting communication. Software systems available do not communicate with each other. Software costs are $63,750 per physician, millions for each hospital, plus yearly fees. Federal subsidies for these purchases assure higher expense. User dissatisfaction is 70%. Emphasis is on data collection and not efficiency, nor patient care.


  8. CMS Innovation Center is to devise “innovative payment and service delivery methods”. So far, 26 methods are being developed for a cost of $10 billion!

 Although insurance is no longer denied because of pre-existing conditions and lifelong medical expenses are no longer capped at $1,000,000, Obamacare has failed to provide Americans with insurance like the one President Obama and Senator McCain carry.

Medical illness is a threat to our health, life and financial well-being. Insurance hassles add stress and impair recovery. As a physician and a State Representative, I say Obamacare has failed to provide a solution for America’s healthcare needs. 


             Note: This Article was published by The Tennessean as a Point - Counter Point Feature in the                                          Opinion Section of the Sunday May 29, 2016 edition. The Counter Point was written by 

                          Stephen Entman MD, Professor of Ob-Gyn at Vanderbilt University).


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                                                                                         27

                                             State Representative Report

                                                   SABI 'DOC' KUMAR          
     RC Connection: May 16, 2016

                                                                                                                                                 RC Times: June 8, 2016       

                                                     

                                                     109th General Assembly Comes to A Close   

                                          

  ​Do you think that Tennesseans should be allowed to have pet skunks? Do you think that fantasy sports are a game of skill or gambling? Let us also remember that Law is an instrument to create a just and a fair society!

The 2016 session of the 109th Tennessee General Assembly ended April 22, one day earlier than last year. The session lasted 13 weeks. During that time, the legislature made laws, passed a budget, and honored our citizens and our state. I am amazed at the breadth of intellectual challenges the law-makers face during a legislative session. Within an hour, we may vote on matters of health, education, insurance, banking, commerce, justice, transportation, etc. The number of those challenges is equally remarkable.

During this session alone, 1,271 bills were introduced in the Tennessee House of Representatives! Of these, we passed 654 bills. Considering that a bill is a draft for a proposed law, the bills passed by the House have to be passed by the Senate also, and then signed by the Governor before becoming the law of the land. The last sentence of each bill is especially meaningful. It states that, “This act shall take effect on (date), the public welfare requiring it.” This is an important reminder of the reason that we are there and why the citizens sent us there. I pray that we always remember this.

I have tried to put all these bills in groups according to their effect or function. It is not easy but I believe four major groups will include the vast majority of bills introduced.  The first group honors a cause or a citizen, renames a road or a landmark. Second group are bills that protect us, our rights and address our safety. Thirdly are the bills that correct injustices in society or solve problems. Fourth is the work of managing income and expenses for the state.

Our state budget is almost $36 billion. It is a balanced budget, as required by the Constitution of our state. For the second year in a row, we are blessed with good economic growth and revenue. We have a budget surplus. Our comptroller warned us to be prudent and not spend it away. A known risk is to commit to recurring annual expenses without realizing that economic circumstances can change. We put $100 million in our rainy day fund, increased K-12 education funding by $262 million (the largest increase ever in the history of our state), added $104 million to raise teacher salaries, returned $142 million to the Road Building fund, and gave a tax break to our citizens by lowering the Hall Income tax from 6% to 5%. No taxes were raised.

The other remarkable event of the session was a veto of the bill naming the Bible to be the State Book of Tennessee because of constitutional concerns and a feeling that the word of God deserves a higher place. The true meaning of the Bible is in our hearts. Pray that we are all so blessed!​
 



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26


State Representative Report


                                                  SABI 'DOC' KUMAR                  Published: April 18, 2016


​Bless My Heart!

As your State Representative, I am blessed to visit and meet with a lot of friends and citizens. I am invited to a lot of functions and events. It is frequent that I meet folks who have been my patients or someone in their family has been my patient. It is great to catch up. Considering that I have been in Robertson County for almost 39 years, and considering that I have about 50 patient and family member contacts a week, and allowing for some vacation time, it amounts to over 90,000 patient contacts over time. Certainly, a lot of these contacts are repeated. And that is a good thing!

I hear from friends and citizens usually by phone, email or a Facebook message. The most common need is for help from a state agency. We are usually able to help. As skeptical as we are of government, our state agencies have been very responsive to my inquiries on behalf of citizens. Not all problems can be solved but folks appreciate an honest, helpful answer. Representatives from many Departments of the state have visited Robertson County upon my request and met with our citizens.

The second most common call that I receive is about a bill that is being considered by the legislature. I remind citizens that over 90% of the bills that reach the floor of the House are passed. These bills have been examined and approved by at least four committees before reaching the House floor. The work of these committees is trusted. Representatives are, also, open to concerns from fellow members and their constituents. Recently, a Representative gave me his cell phone number so that one of our citizens could call him to discuss their concern about a change in law!

The third common call is about a problem that is under the control of the federal government. We have good communication with our congressional offices and we make sure that our citizens are connected with the officials who can help.

I try to answer all inquiries but rarely, one gets missed. I do regret when that happens. Recently, I got into a bit of hot water even though I had the best of intentions. This occurred when a message expressed concern and frustration about the failure of the TN Ready testing software in our schools. Teachers had worked very hard to prepare students for the testing. The delivery of the paper test materials was also delayed. I felt sympathy for our teachers and students. In my sincere effort to express concern for their hard work, I used the phrase, "Bless your Heart!" To my surprise, I have learned, that there are different meanings to this phrase and one of these implies "stupidity". I have always used it as an expression of sincerity that, "May the Good Lord Place Blessings upon Your Heart."

Recently, I heard Jay Johnson using this phrase in a very kind manner towards a waitress. I told him of my quandary. He suggested that I write an article to explain it. So thank you, Jay, and sincerely "May God Bless your Heart!"

Rep.Sabi.Kumar@Capitol.tn.gov; (615) 741-2860


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                                                SABI 'DOC' KUMAR, MD               Published: March 22, 2016


Death and Dignity

As a member of the Tennessee House of Representatives, I first met John Jay Hooker in the Health Subcommittee hearing room. It was the early part of 2015. He was a commanding presence as he pleaded the case for a 'Death with Dignity' legislation. Previously such legislation was called 'Physician Assisted Suicide'. He looked well and happy despite the diagnosis of advanced melanoma. He approached me personally to make the point that he should have the option not to suffer with advanced cancer. We talked about my oath as a physician, and commitment to preservation of life.

As I learned of Mr. Hooker's passing a few weeks ago, I have thought deeply about the end of life issues, suffering and options available to us. I also hope, and believe, that Mr. Hooker's end was peaceful and dignified.

Inevitability of death is known in an ancient legend that tells of a king's most loyal servant asking for the fastest horse so he can rush away to Jerusalem. When the king asked him why, he explained that the Angel of Death was following him around the palace. The king gave him his fastest horse and asked the Angel of Death why he was scaring his loyal servant. The Angel said he did not mean to do so because they are meeting in Jerusalem tomorrow anyway.

Considering this inevitability, it is fitting to consider what we wish for our end of time. When a cancer doctor asked a group of his patients about what their concerns and wishes were, the vast majority hoped they would not suffer in pain. They did not want to linger, be a burden to their family or be abandoned. The majority of them had adjusted to the fact that they were going to die from their disease, yet they also wished for time. They wished for time to say goodbye. This goodbye included being able to say, "Thank you. Forgive me. I forgive you. I Love You". Having financial affairs in order was important, as well. Sadly, not all of us will have the luxury of such time. In certain situations that can be a blessing, too.

The desire to end life comes from the fear of suffering at the end of life. It has been touching to see so many of my patients exhibit grace and courage towards the end of their lives. Families come together. An open discussion of expectations is possible. These Godly people have taught me that fear can be overcome by surrounding ourselves with loved ones, a caring medical team and blessings from our faith. A Hospice team can provide support and comfort. Feared indignities of tubes and incapacitation can be considered and possibly overcome. A Living will helps to express and document our wishes

"Physician Assisted Suicide" is a contradiction of terms. Physicians are not needed for administration of life ending medicines. Their purpose is to promote, maintain and restore our health. Death is more dignified, without suicide. Let us not allow the science of how to die outpace the blessing of life and faith.

Email: Rep.Sabi.Kumar@Capitol.tn.gov / Phone: (615) 741-2860


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            Sabi Doc Kumar       

                                                                                       November 23, 2015  THE TENNESSEAN

'Medical' Marijuana is Already Available

             With options available by prescription of a physician, there is no need to make pot more accessible.

As a physician, I am amazed by the miracle of healing when I see people recover from injury and illness. I am also touched by the sadness and misery of pain that illness brings.

Medical use of marijuana plant as an appetite stimulant, muscle relaxant, anti-convulsant, and for relief of pain and vomiting was first discovered in 1839 by William O'Shaughnessy, an Irish physician working in India.

It is, however, a mind-altering substance with major psychotropic effects, especially on the developing and teenage brain.It is also a gateway drug, leading to advanced drug use and addiction. Driving under its influence is hazardous.

Societal consequences of marijuana prevalence are being discovered in states that have legalized it. Policy Statement of American Academy of Pediatrics “opposes legalization of marijuana because of potential harms to children and adolescents.”

Studies of the medical uses of marijuana are not fully reliable because the accepted (and the gold standard) scientific method of a double-blind controlled trial cannot be applied to this research.
The distinctive smell and the intoxicating effects of marijuana do not allow for a control or placebo group that can be compared to the therapy group. Anecdotal healing effects of marijuana have been claimed for many conditions.

Recent reviews published in the Journal of the American Medical Association have shed light on this matter. Evidence shows that medical marijuana may be useful in treatment of epilepsy, glaucoma, nausea and vomiting due to cancer chemotherapy, anorexia resulting from HIV/AIDS, chronic pain, neuropathic pain, and spasticity due to multiple sclerosis.

Effectiveness of marijuana is poor in treatment of anxiety, sleep disorders, terminal cancer, diabetes, Tourette’s, Huntington’s chorea, Crohn’s disease, PTSD, Hepatitis and others. Risk of adverse events is significant.

Pharmaceutical companies now offer the chemical components of marijuana plant in the form of pills. Although the cannabis plant contains 80 cannabinoids and 400 other compounds, including carcinogens such as tar, the two main substances that contribute the vast majority of drug effects of marijuana are delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).

These substances have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for recognized uses as Schedule III drugs. These are available on the prescription of a physician, much as a painkiller or an antibiotic.

Marinol and Cesamet are two drugs that offer THC in varying doses. Epidiolex contains CBD only and is meant for use in epilepsy. Sativex is a combination of THC and CBD.It is not yet available in the U.S. and is being tested for conditions of muscle spasticity. Cost of medical marijuana is comparable to the street price. Insurance plans may cover these costs.

This prescription method places the decision to use “medical” marijuana securely in the hands of the patient and his doctor, who can determine the need and the dose. Considering this availability, marijuana plant growing facilities with the need for tracking of plants, potential of diversion and other law enforcement problems, do not appear to be necessary.

Sabi ‘Doc’ Kumar is a Surgeon and State Representative from District 66, Robertson County. 


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State Representative Report


​                                              SABI 'DOC' KUMAR                   Published: February 25, 2016


The Dialogue of Democracy
 
It is said often, during an election year, that "this is a critical time," and "this is the most important election of our lifetime." These pronouncements may really be true this year. Considering the domestic, economic and foreign policy challenges today, we, the citizens have a crucial responsibility to vote. To protect the future of our country and for the sake of our children and grandchildren, we must make the right choices. We need leaders who will make decisions based on strong moral values, seek guidance from God and adhere to the constitution. Our actions will decide and determine the future of our nation, our world and our planet.

To influence the direction of our country, we must cast our vote and express our beliefs. The first step in this journey is to be registered to vote. If you are not registered to vote, I encourage you, strongly, to do so. If you are uncertain of your voter registration status, you can visit our county election office located at 511 South Brown Street in Springfield. You will find the staff to be kind and helpful. Remember to bring your photo ID, issued by state or federal government. Or you can check your registration status online at GoVoteTN.com.

If you know someone who is not registered to vote, ask them, to join the democratic dialogue of our nation and register to vote. If you are going to be travelling on the polling date or you are out of state for reasons such as attending college, you can vote early or by absentee ballot. Early voting is open at the County Office. It usually lasts for two weeks but closes one week prior to election.

Once you have confirmed that you are registered to vote, mark your calendar with the important dates for polling. Three elections will take place this year. All are important. Some will affect our nation at the state or federal level and others will impact our community locally. The first of these is the Presidential Preference Primary on Tuesday, March 1. You will choose to vote in the Republican or Democratic primary. The media coverage of candidates on both sides has been intense. You should search candidate positions and make a choice based on your values. The second election is the State Primary & County General Election on Thursday, Aug 4. In this election, you will vote to choose the Republican or Democratic candidates for federal and state office. I will be on the Republican Primary ballot for Tennessee House of Representative. County General Elections are non-partisan and you choose County Officers. Robertsonelections.com is also a valuable resource.

The big event of the year is on Tuesday, November 8. On that day, we will choose a new President. We will also vote for our federal and state representatives. It will be very exciting. You can volunteer as a poll worker and be a part of the excitement as events unfold. These elections will determine the future of our state, country and indeed the world.

Pray for God's guidance. Choose wisely. Ask His blessings upon our great nation!

Email: Rep.Sabi.Kumar@Capitol.tn.gov Phone: 615- 741-2860


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                                                  SABI 'Doc' KUMAR                    Published: February 3, 2016


A Beautiful Storm


My first thought at the time of extreme weather, such as the heavy snow recently, is about safety of families and citizens. Our law enforcement, first-responders, road crews, healthcare workers and many others, risk their safety to go to work and help others at such times. City, county, state officials, and workers mobilize to assist those stranded in the snow, involved in accidents or in need of other assistance. These are the times that bring out the best of love and caring among our friends, neighbors and co-workers. As much as we treasure our independence and liberty, these are the times that we call for help. Local, county and state governments have defined roles to fill in assisting, protecting and rescuing citizens from dangerous weather events and conditions.

After safety, my second thought is to look at the beauty of Nature. Yes, this usually happens when my wife, Linda reminds me of it. Saturday, after the Friday snow, was a full moon. There is something magical about undisturbed snow bathed in moonlight. Yes, it feels very cold to look at it and there is a chill that travels down the spine. That is when I appreciate the warmth of a home and a cup of hot apple cider.

Fortunately, there was no business at the legislature on the snow Friday. But I did have surgical work that had been scheduled. We considered postponement because of the difficult weather conditions. However, considering that patients and family have arranged time off from work, taken medicines to prepare for surgery and the sense of anxiety associated with surgical procedures, we just hoped that the snow would fall in the later part of the day.

Snow arrived early on Friday and quite soon our driveway was not passable. My patient had joked that, "If Doc can't get here, I will go by and pick him up. I sure don't want to have to take all this medicine again to prepare me for surgery next week". But angels do come to help. I called Plant Operations (maintenance department) at NorthCrest Medical Center and Alfred Boyter came to the rescue. He delivered me to the hospital and brought me back safely after we finished surgery. He did have to move a large tree limb out of the way when we returned. Alfred offered to take me grocery shopping if I needed to and instructed me to call him if I needed to go back to the hospital! The next day, another tree blocked the driveway. My good neighbor Blake Batson did the tree surgery with his chain-saw on this one.

This snow storm brought out the kindness in people all around. The surgery team that worked over the weekend risked their lives to come and help others. The sense of caring among co-workers was a thing of beauty. Instead of just saying bye, people reminded each other to "Be Safe". This is what I mean when I call it a "Beautiful Storm"!

We thank God for the beauty of Nature, His Creation and His People!

Rep.Sabi.Kumar@Capitol.tn.gov Phone: (615) 741-2860​


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State Representative Report

                                           

                                              SABI 'DOC' KUMAR          Published: January 19, 2016


Y'all Come!


To add to the excitement of the New Year, the Tennessee Legislature will started the 2016 session on Tuesday, Jan 12. Long hallways at the Capitol, grand and ornate House and Senate Chambers, offices of the Representatives, Senators, legal and support services will all be filled with a buzz of activity. Advocacy groups, special interest groups, lobbyists, visitors, press and students will come from all parts of the state. All of us have different perspectives on the role and function of government. We each come with our own hopes, expectations and agendas. The Tennessee State Capitol is the seat of our state government. Our representatives work and serve there to keep the wheels of government spinning.

We receive and honor talented athletes, musicians, celebrities, volunteers and people with remarkable achievements and contributions to our society. I call these the 'goose-bumps' moments. It is such an honor to shake hands and pose for pictures with these citizens of our great state.

I invite you to come and visit me at the Legislature. I want you to see your state government in action and feel the vibes. You will enjoy the intensity of activities, going from committee hearings to legislative sessions. We can arrange a grand tour of the Capitol for you. There is a very interesting and remarkable history at the Capitol. I will introduce you to the legislature. They will acknowledge and applaud you, even if you do not agree with them politically! So call my office and let my Legislative Assistant Chris Rogers arrange a visit to the Capitol for you!

The Legislative session lasts from early January to end of April each year. On a weekly basis, the session usually starts on Mondays at 5 p.m. This allows representatives from the east, west and far corners of our state to drive in. These sessions last for a few hours. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are busy days. There are numerous committee hearings and meetings. Bills are presented, discussed and voted up or down in committees such as Health, Education, Insurance and Banking, Transportation, Justice, Finance, etc. On Thursday morning, the house meets again in Legislative Chambers. We vote on bills that have passed in committees. There is excitement as new laws are passed to be signed by the Governor. Different views on bills are presented. Sometimes the votes are very narrow. We strive to be honest, fair and prayerful in making voting decisions as these affect so many lives. Truly, it is possible for very wise and well-meaning people to disagree. We are respectful of such opinions. This session usually lasts till noon, allowing the representatives to drive back home. I drive back to Springfield to continue my surgical practice.

Human nature being what it is, sometimes representatives do act in a very partisan way. Yes, this is called politics. Emotions are played and manipulated. Personal and regional causes are advocated. Despite this, I have found my fellow legislators, legislative staff and leadership to be extremely courteous and responsive.

Let us pray and seek God's guidance for a meaningful session as we tackle the important issues of our times!

Email: Rep.Sabi.Kumar@Capitol.tn.gov / Phone: 615- 741-2860​


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State Representative Report


                                                SABI 'DOC' KUMAR         Published: December 30, 2015


​The Joy of Giving

"It is the most wonderful time of the year!" Indeed, the Christmas season brings out the Giving Spirit among us. We buy gifts for our friends and family. There is the joy of finding a 'very good deal,' a great sale, or just the thing that we were looking for. The children wait eagerly for Santa, the greatest bringer of gifts! We give a tremendous amount to charity. We give cash, goods, time and service. We volunteer and help. Annual charitable giving in the United States is estimated to be up to $350 billion, out of which $250 billion is donated by individuals. Yes, we Americans are among the most giving and generous!

At the Legislature, there are some frequently asked questions about charity. How much should our society do to help the needy? What is the role of government? What is the role of the individual? What is the role of faith-based charities? What is the role of non-profit organizations?

There are two ideological extremes of opinion about the responsibility of our society to the needy. Both want to help. Their goal is the same. The liberal viewpoint is that government can do it best. They want the government to collect money from the people in the form of taxes and then spend or give to those in need. Hence the name, 'tax and spend.' The conservative viewpoint is that people should work to help themselves as much as they can. Government should help them get up on their feet. People in need should not become dependent on the government, unless there is illness or injury. A famous quote is "Give me a fish and I will eat today. Teach me to fish and I will eat every day." Certainly it is better to teach a person to fish for themselves than to supply them every day. It brings purpose and satisfaction if a person can help themselves.

A well-balanced approach is when abilities of government, the individual, faith-based charities and non-profit organizations are used to help the needy in our society. America is a caring and giving nation with a big heart!

When I ran for election to the Tennessee House of Representatives, I declared that I will donate my entire salary to charity. I also promised that I will not accept expense money, called per diem, from the state. So I endorse the check and return it to the state. Distributing my salary to the local charities in Robertson County has been a true joy and a blessing. These Organizations and their Volunteers are the real heroes of our society. They teach us about unselfish giving. God bless them and, please God, bless them again! I am privileged to help.

I teach a Sunday School Class on every second Sunday at the First United Methodist Church. My lesson this month was, "Gifts Acceptable to God." I always end with a limerick. I am proud of this one:

What Stands Apart,

A Piece of Art,

Golden Strands,

Loving Hands,

Or A Gift of The Heart!

Email: Rep.Sabi.Kumar@Capitol.tn.gov /Phone: (615) 741-2860


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State Representative Report

                                             

                                                  SABI 'DOC' KUMAR               Published: December 8, 2015
  

A Family Adventure

Holidays are here! As we enjoy (or cope with) the commercial boom, shopping in congested stores, travel, traffic, budgeting our expenses and too much food, the most important things really are God and family. We thank God for our blessings, and family is the most important of those.

It is very important that our government and Legislature promote family and family values. Social change has led to a decline in strength of the American family. Children who grow up in difficult family circumstances face greater challenges to succeed. Family gives us support and strength. I believe that most happiness comes from love and family. If I am very successful in my work and business, and I am rich, I might not be able to enjoy these blessings without love and family at home. If I am failing in work and business, and things were difficult, I might be able to cope and survive if I have love and family support.

When I ran for the Tennessee House of Representatives, family support was crucial. I could not take on this adventure without the support and enthusiasm of my family. It became clear, very early in the journey that someone has to hold the sign post so I can hammer it, remember to get bottles of water, or stand back and tell me if the sign is level or tilted which way! More seriously, this has become more clear to me every day of my service in the legislature. Many of you have seen us at community events. My wife Linda and, when possible, our daughter Nina are with me. Our daughter Nina is an attorney who gives me sound advice on legislative matters. I can trust her advice based on our shared family values.

My wife is a nurse by profession. Of course she does more than help with the signs! One particular outing to a function in Orlinda showed her love and care for the people of Robertson County. First, we met a gentleman who is in his nineties. He has three sons and divides his time equally between them. Linda, the psych nurse, talked to him about his earlier years and the challenges of aging. We then met a Korean War veteran. Linda's dad served in the Korean War and was injured. They talked about being a military family and the wonderful places they were able to see through service travel. Born in Ashland City, Linda graduated from High School in Ewa Beach, Hawaii. Then, we met old friends who used to attend church with us. They have returned from mission work in Africa and now operate an organic farm in Robertson County. Linda is the daughter of, and is herself, an avid gardener with strong knowledge of organic foods and farming. They had a great discussion and I listened! As you can see, my job is easy because God has blessed me with love and family.

For me family includes friends, co-workers, church members, patients and many, many fine folks throughout Robertson County. I pray the blessing of family for all!

Rep.Sabi.Kumar@Capitol.tn.gov ; ( 615) 741-2860


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State Representative Report


                                             SABI 'DOC' KUMAR                    Published Nov 11, 2015


Remembering Our Veterans Every Day

Wednesday, November 11 was Veteran’s Day. It is a special and meaningful day that offers each of us a chance to thank our Veterans for their years of service and sacrifice on our behalf. However, we must remember that we owe our Veterans a tremendous debt of gratitude and thanks every day. On Thanksgiving, we thank God for the blessings we have. On Veterans Day we should thank God for those who made the blessings of liberty and freedom possible.

  Originally known as Armistice Day to honor Veterans of World war I since 1918, it was named Veterans Day by the efforts of Raymond Weeks of Birmingham, Alabama who petitioned Gen Dwight Eisenhower in 1945 that this day honor all Veterans.  Rightly Raymond Weeks led the Veterans Day Celebrations in Birmingham, AL every year from 1947 until his passing in 1985.

  Over the years, I have often been touched by the sacrifices made by our Veterans and the families of our Veterans. They give up so much to serve our country. When our Veterans come home, they find a world that has changed so much from the world they remember. They face great challenges in life and adjustment. Circumstances or their mind set may be radically different. When I hear people criticize American involvement in wars abroad, I note that it is our Veterans who have ensured that our citizens have the freedom and ability to speak out. Veterans put the needs of our country above their own. That defines patriotism. When they arrive home, most of them do meaningful work and contribute to our communities.

My wife, Linda, and I were blessed to spend some time with American Legion Post 45 in Greenbrier recently. We have visited with our Veterans here before, and come away with a renewed faith in the goodness of America. We also plan to visit VFW Post 2120 as well as American Legion Posts 48 and 6. These Veterans have served in wars, braved combat and sacrificed so much. After military service, they have continued to serve at home. They care for their friends, neighbors and fellow Veterans in need.

There are immense life lessons to be learned from our Veterans. They work together. They support each other. They give up their own needs and desires to make our Country better. They represent the very best of Robertson County, State of Tennessee and United States of America. They are inspiring in their actions, sincerity and kindness. Their patriotism and love of country is an example for us to follow. Veterans make our world and community better. The following says it well:

On Veterans Day We Honor All

Who Answered to the Service Call

Soldiers Young & Soldiers Old

Fought for Freedom Brave & Bold

They Left Their Friends and Family
They Gave Up Normal Life
To Serve Our God & Country
Standing Up to Strife

I hope you join me in saluting and thanking our American heroes and patriots every day! 



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State Representative Report

                                                   

                                               SABI 'DOC' KUMAR            Published: October 27, 2015

Growth in Robertson County

What brought you to Robertson County? Perhaps, you are like my wife, a local with family roots spanning many generations or even the founding of Robertson County! Or, perhaps you are like me. I came for a great career opportunity. Of course my wife claims that I came to meet her! When I arrived, I did not have family in the area. However, I have stayed in Robertson County for nearly 40 years because of the people. I was drawn to this area because of the beauty of the rolling hills and the small town values. But, it is the kindness of the people that has made it home!

I have spent some time over the past few weeks considering what brought me to Robertson County as I have attended events relating to Economic and Community Development, including one hosted by Governor Haslam. Tennessee, and particularly middle Tennessee, has experienced substantial growth over the last several years. By all accounts and measures, that growth will only continue and even increase in magnitude. Companies have relocated to our region in record numbers. Many new jobs have been created.

Simply put, I am in Robertson County because I believe it is a great place to work and raise a family. The friendships and the community have been very special blessings in our lives. While we often focus on Tennessee, I find myself looking for as many chances as possible to tell OUR story - the Robertson County story. We live in a very special place. We have beautiful farms and thriving industry. We have communities with a "suburban" feel and we also have rural communities, both close-knit and unique.

I am often asked my opinion regarding economic growth. I think economic growth is important. It is vital to our productivity, and even our enjoyment of life. Businesses give us jobs but businesses also offer culture and entertainment. Businesses come to areas where they will be successful. It is difficult to attract good things to areas that are lagging in economic growth.

However, growth may not always be positive. Many of you have mentioned to me that traffic has rapidly increased, even in our own Robertson County! Growth is a good and positive thing when there is a plan for growth. Growth is only good and positive when we continue to protect our pristine farm land, rural lifestyle and Robertson County values. As your State Representative, I want Robertson County to continue to plan for and experience positive growth.

I also need your help and input. When you visit a community doing something well that we could also do, drop me a note! When you see things that we could improve in our state, let me know. Finally, we must remember that success in any area, including economic growth, will only come if we work together. We may not always agree, but if we work together we will find success. Let us pray that we plan well and promote positive, good growth in Robertson County!

Sabi 'Doc' Kumar, Rep.Sabi.Kumar@Capitol.tn.gov/(615)- 741-2860


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State Representative Report


                                                   SABI 'DOC' KUMAR                  Published: October 5, 2015
 
Your Opinion Matters


In 13 months, our country will elect a new President. It seems far away! But, as you undoubtedly know, the election season is already upon us. It is difficult to miss the latest news from the campaign trail on television, newspapers and internet. It seems that with each cycle, the election and the campaigns start much earlier. A President is the face of our nation. Electing the next President of the United States is a tremendous responsibility, and one that we cannot and should not take lightly.

However, the next President will not decide what textbooks our children study from at school, what our city or county taxes are, or where certain businesses can be built. The next President will not decide where livestock can be raised or whether a new apartment complex can be built next door to our home or when and how often our garbage gets picked up. In many respects, our day to day life will not change when a new President is elected. Overwhelmingly, the decisions that profoundly impact and affect our day to day life are made by our local officials, at a local level.

The School Board decides what textbooks our children use, and even where our children may attend school. The County Commission and the Board of Mayor and Aldermen decide our county and city taxes, respectively. They also make decisions about zoning and where buildings or livestock can go. These decisions are significant, they are important and they affect our life in countless ways every day.

As your State Representative, when I talk to citizens in Robertson County, many are reluctant to get involved in local politics. I hear comments often such as: "I'm not a politician," or "I wouldn't have anything important to say," or "It doesn't matter what I think." Well, if you are not a politician, I think that is good. We need your fresh perspective, and your life experience. Each of us has had success, failure and some problems in life. What you say is important because, no one can say it like you! Your perspective is unique.

As your State Representative, I NEED you to be involved. Please register to vote now if you are not registered. Please Vote. Please ask your friends, family, co-workers and fellow church members to be registered and to remember to vote. We need all good voices to be heard. There is no question that two heads are better than one and that eight heads are better than four in a democracy. When frustrated with our leaders and government, let us not retreat. Let us speak up and be involved and work to put our nation on the right course. If you just do not want to speak up, please join us in prayer. We need God's wisdom upon our great nation, our great state and our loving communities. By joining together, the possibilities for accomplishment and our abilities to solve problems are limitless.

Rep.Sabi.Kumar@Capitol.tn.gov; (615) 741-2860


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State Representative Report

                                               SABI 'DOC' KUMAR       
         Published: September 10, 2015


Remembering 9/11

September 11, 2001 could also, like Pearl Harbor, be described as “a day that will live in infamy”. That is how President Franklin D. Roosevelt described the December 7, 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. On both of these occasions, American homeland was attacked. And on both of these occasions, American bravery and heroism were on display. Our fire-fighters, policemen and first responders showed courage and sacrifice.  Our country recovered, restored and rebuilt. Our leaders responded with strength and unity. We were not Democrats or Republicans on that day. We were all Americans!

Certain events leave unforgettable memories in our minds. Sept 11, 2001 is certainly one of those events. Those of us who are old enough, remember where we were, what we were doing, who was with us and how we heard about an airplane striking the North Tower of World Trade Center in New York. We followed the events of the day as the South Tower and the Pentagon were also hit by planes. We watched in horror as the towers collapsed. The fourth plane was brought down by brave passengers, crashing it in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. This saved another intended terrorist target in our nation’s capital. Despite such heroism 2,996 lives were lost on that day.

I have particularly poignant memories of that day. I was scheduled to give an “expert medical opinion” in a legal action. Considering the events of the day, both parties, located in Texas, decided to drop their action, forever. It was more important to go home and hug your family on that day. Our daughter was in school, at that time, in New Jersey. From her school she could see the smoke rising over Manhattan. Fortunately, we were able to keep in touch. Parents of many of her classmates worked in the World Trade Center and Pentagon. Tragedies happened.

Consequences of both of these events are long lasting and the world has, indeed, changed forever. Air travel, public buildings and gatherings require vigilance and security. A sense of anxiety prevails at times. We worry about the safety of our children and family. As a physician, I am concerned about the long term effects of these emotions and feelings on our lives and wellness. There are tremendous fiscal and human costs on our society. 

As a Legislator, I want to prevent terrorism. As we try to understand the causes of terror, we find the world today to be in great turmoil. Millions of people have been uprooted. Women, children and the elderly are all at risk. Radical factions kill others, even within the same religion, because they do not share their view of God.

How disappointed God must be! You and I believe in a God who commanded us to, “Love each other”. Luke 6:31 and Matthew 7:12 teach us the Golden Rule so that we treat others as we would want to be treated. Our challenge is to balance our love of God and humanity with a Position of Strength. God has made America a great nation. We must pray that His hand stays on our shoulder!

 
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State Representative Report


                                               SABI 'DOC' KUMAR                Published: August 24, 2015


 Back to School in Robertson County

This month - doesn't it seem earlier each year - our children in Robertson County and throughout Tennessee went back to school. A new school year is an exciting time! Our children come home with new knowledge, learned from our teachers' finely crafted lesson plans. Old friendships are restored, and new friendships are found. After school activities begin in full swing too: athletics, band, hobbies and yes, maybe, even a bit of homework. Undoubtedly our education system faces challenges. We know this to be true. Our teachers face the most of these challenges. Too often, they must manage with lack of resources, or find themselves in the position of being a substitute parent to students who have needs that extend far beyond the classroom. 

Education is a highly debated subject in the Legislature. Maybe you believe we have compromised our standards. Maybe you believe wrong folks are in charge of education. Maybe you believe that we test our children too much, and on the wrong things. These opinions are valid and important. However, I find myself overwhelmed with tremendous pride and an incredible feeling of being blessed that we live in America. 

Why? Because, in America, we educate all of our children! Yes, there are debates about quality and what that education is. But as a country, we give our children the opportunity to learn and be educated. Throughout the world, there are countries where your name, your money or even your gender determines if you will be educated and attend school. While we, in America, strive and compete to make our schools even better. Do we have problems we need to solve? Sure! But every child in America has the chance of a stronger, brighter future and a tomorrow that is better than today because of education. As a member of the Instruction and Programs Education Committee of the Tennessee House of Representatives, I will continue to work to improve education in our state. Recent results of ACT scores show significant statewide improvements. What we are doing, in Tennessee, is working! 

Somewhere there is a school in America that is the worst school in our country (certainly it is not located in Robertson County)! Yet, within that school, within every single school in our great state and nation, there are special teachers. They stay late, work long hours and strive to impart knowledge to students. In so doing, they change our children's lives. They alter destiny each and every day. So, to our Robertson County families my prayer for each of you and your children is that this school year is a wonderful one and the best one yet! To our teachers, I say a profound, deep thank you. You teach, you inspire, you support and you love our children. Along the way, each of us can remember the great, special teachers that we had. Thank you for what you do and for continuing an important legacy. You invest in our children and you give them the gift of education that is priceless in value. May God bless each of you in this coming school year!

Rep.Sabi.Kumar@Capitol.tn.gov; (615) 741-2860.


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13



​State Representative Report


                                               SABI 'DOC' KUMAR                       Published: July 28, 2015


Terror in Our Homeland
 
Certain events leave a permanent memory. We always remember how and when we learned about tragedies such as 9/11. My wife Linda and I were away from home last week. As your state representative, I try to keep in touch with happenings at home even when we are away.

On the afternoon of Thursday July 16, 2015, my attention was drawn to CNN news as I saw a familiar face from Tennessee. It was Representative Gerald McCormick, majority leader of Tennessee House and the representative from Chattanooga. Having served in the legislature with Gerald, I have had the privilege to know him well. He was certainly troubled but, in his usual way, calm in the eye of the storm. In the CNN interview, Gerald updated facts briefed to him and other officials by the FBI. I learned that Gerald lives only about a mile from the area where the shooter Abdulazeez lived.

That is how Linda and I learned about the terrible tragedy in our homeland. Four marines had been shot to death by a gunman at a Naval Reserve Center in Chattanooga. The heinous criminal had to be shot to prevent further loss of life. Chattanooga police were brave and effective. A fifth soldier died later from his injuries. Linda and I were stunned. Just like all of you, we will never forget where we were and how we learned about this tragedy. We Tennesseans are welcoming and loving people with deep Christian values. We are not used to such acts.

As a physician, I am always sad to see loss of a life. This was especially overwhelming. These were the lives of brave soldiers who were serving our country. It is said that, "What Light is to the Eyes, What Air is to Lungs, that is What Liberty is to the Soul." It is because of the strength and sacrifice of our soldiers that America today, is the Land of Liberty and the Statue of Liberty is a symbol of Freedom across the world. We owe so much to our soldiers and their families.
The grief of the families of these soldiers is unmeasurable. We think of the joy when the soldiers who had served in Iraq returned and how they were received by us all. They were home and, that also means, being safe. The loss of lives of these soldiers is very painful. The Chattanoogans, as Gerald explained, are a caring community with Tennessee values who will rally around these special families. His own Christian values were evident as he expressed concern for the shooter's family, as well.

As we return home we think of what we, as a community of Tennesseans, can do to avoid such tragedies. Our citizens will be vigilant. Our leaders and legislators will work to protect our soldiers and citizens. A terrorist attack against any one of our citizens and soldiers is an attack against all of us. The goodness of America shall prevail. May God Bless America!

Sabi 'Doc' Kumar - Rep.Sabi.Kumar@Capitol.tn.gov/ 615- 741-2860


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12



State Representative Report


SABI 'DOC' KUMAR


                                                                   Following The Money!                        Published: June 30, 2015
 
We are blessed with a vibrant community. There are many functions to attend each week and, sometimes, each day! Many of you have told me that you have enjoyed my articles in this paper. I encourage you to let the editors know. They are generous in allowing me to communicate with you through these writings.

I am going to test your ability to enjoy my articles by talking about a subject that makes most people yawn! I am going to talk about our State Budget. Let us learn about where the money for state expenses comes from and where it goes. But first, let us review the basics.

A budget is an estimate of income and expenses for a period of time. As individuals and families, all of us do this as part of planning in life. We look at our income and our expenses. If we are fortunate to have money left over after paying for necessities, we divide the rest into savings and pursuits of pleasure. Depending on our nature, we may include charity in the necessary or discretionary.

Government budgets, however, are a completely different animal. The key word is: Unlimited. Governments can increase income by raising taxes or imposing new taxes. If there is fear that citizens will rebel against taxes, governments can just borrow money and leave payment to the next administration or the next generation! Income can fall as Governments can be 'surprised' by a downturn in the economy, although, they should not be. Government expenses are, also, unlimited. Everybody wants more from government. Politicians want to give more, because that can get them elected. Government expenses are not always based on needs or necessities. Calculations of "who gets what, when, and how" are frequently based on the influence of Client Politics and Political Interest Groups. Pork-barrel projects pump money into districts of important legislators. Of course, you know all this!

In Tennessee, we are much better. Our state law requires a Balanced Budget. The Governor and the Legislature follow this law. Our financial position is strong. We are rated among the top states fiscally. Our rainy-day fund is almost three quarters of a billion dollars strong. The conservative Republican Governor and Legislature have carefully controlled budget growth and kept our taxes low.

Income for the State of Tennessee was budgeted at almost $33 billion in 2015. There are four main sources. For each dollar received, 45¢ is state tax revenue ($15B), 40¢ is federal money received ($13B) and 15¢ is from other services. State tax revenue includes Sales, Franchise, Fuel and Banking. Alcohol, Tobacco and Inheritance are about $0.02 each. The $13B received from the Federal government is from taxes paid by our citizens and business. It is provided, mainly, for TennCare ($7B), Human Services ($3B), Education ($1.3B) and Transportation ($1B).

Expenses for the State of Tennessee were also budgeted at $33B, making it a Balanced Budget. For each dollar spent, 32¢ goes to TennCare ($10.5B), 30¢ to Education ($10B), 15¢ to Health & Social Services ($5B) and 5¢, each, to Transportation and Law Enforcement. The remaining 13¢ cover all the rest.

This is a very simple look at the Tennessee State Budget. There are many layers to this onion! Pray that my eyes don't water as I peel further! 

Rep.Sabi.Kumar@Capitol.tn.gov; 615- 741- 2860


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11


State Representative Report


                                                       SABI 'DOC' KUMAR                   
Published May 28, 2015    


Turning of the Tassels

What a graduation season it has been in our beloved Robertson County! My family and I are passionate about the need and value of education in our lives. As your State Representative, I serve on the Education Instruction and Programs Committee. We believe that “the cost of ignorance is much greater than the cost of education”. It is my duty to stay in touch with our teachers and students so that I understand the educational needs of our community. The advice and input from our citizens allows me to consider meaningful legislation for the General Assembly session next year.


My wife, Linda, and I are filled with hope and optimism for our young folks. We attended six graduations in Robertson County this month! We watched the graduates fiddle with the caps and gowns. Proud parents, grandparents, families and friends filled the graduation halls. There were articulate speeches by the Students, our Director of Schools, Principals, Faculty and Community Leaders. State Senator Kerry Roberts and I, as your State Representative, presented Proclamations to honor academic achievements. It warmed our hearts to see that prayer to God was universal at these ceremonies. This is an important message to the young graduates.

A separate and special Graduation Ceremony was held for the Springfield High School Mock Trial Team graduates. This talented team won the Tennessee State Mock Trial Championship for the 2nd year in a row! They were in Raleigh, NC, competing in the National Championship at the time of the scheduled Springfield High School Graduation. The Honorable Judge Bill Goodman delivered a great graduation speech for our young Legal Eagles!

A very meaningful narrative developed as Linda and I listened to the advice given by the distinguished graduation speakers. I will not be able to give due credit to all but I will attempt to summarize the wisdom imparted to the graduates. They were told that this was a “threshold moment” in their lives as they cross over from one stage to the next. Other examples of such major transition include marriage, birth and occupation. Graduation is an occasion to pause and reflect. The Director of Schools, Mr. Mike Davis, advised the graduates to ask themselves three key questions. The first was, “Who am I?” This allows the graduates to develop a “moral compass”. The second question was, “Why am I here, what is my purpose in life?” The third question was, ”Where am I going?” The graduates were told to love what they do in life and to remember to laugh at themselves. Student speeches were also eloquent. The graduates were encouraged to be individuals and not fit the standard mold, with a standard gown, standard cap and standard diploma! They were told to be more than a mere spoke in a wheel and to be unique. The school years were compared to being in a cocoon and now they have grown the wings to fly away towards new adventures.

It occurs to me that we could all use most of the advice above. Graduation season is a time for each of us to pray and reflect! Linda and I personally wish great success to all of our graduates. We ask them to remember their Robertson County roots. Be happy and make others happy. Love one another, as God calls us to do. God Bless each of you!  


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     State Representative Report

                                                 SABI "DOC" KUMAR        
      Published: April 22, 2015  


Making Decisions in the Legislature

 
We make decisions every day. Some are trivial, others are crucial and the rest are in between. Most of our decisions affect our lives or the lives of our family, friends and co-workers. When you elected me as your State Representative and I arrived at the Legislature, making the right decisions became a very important responsibility. Decisions made at the legislature affect millions of lives.

As a surgeon, I make difficult decisions every day. I make those decisions by science, reason and prayer. My surgery training lasted seven years, in addition to medical school. Further experience has been added by 38 years of practice in the field. My faith in God has also strengthened over this time. I feel comfortable in my surgical decision making. I am honored that many of you have trusted me with these decisions. 
The process is different for the learning of legislative decision making skills. Political science is a known field of learning but it certainly is not a science! It is important for a legislator to have a strong moral compass for guidance in decisions that affect public policy. That compass should not point to campaign money, personal benefits or chances for re-election. So, what are the important steps in making legislative decisions? I have followed my own moral compass that includes thought, prayer, analysis of facts and a commitment to do the right thing. 
I learned an important lesson at the Robertson County Republican Party (RCRP) monthly meeting on Saturday, April 11. RCRP members are strong conservatives who are passionate about issues and beliefs. One member laid out two main principles for legislative decision making. His principles were concise and eloquent.
The first principle, he said, is to ask if there is justification for this action in the Bible? Ronald Reagan said, "Within the covers of the Bible are answers to all problems men face." As humans, though, we may not sometimes be able to find them. We must pray to God for guidance! The second principle, this RCRP member said, is to ask if the decision is constitutional. Study of the US and TN State Constitutions are, therefore, vital. Constitutional scholarship is needed in complex matters. 
To the above vital principles, I want to add two more. The third principle should be to listen to the people. This advice is sound, but the opinions can vary widely. Reliable surveys are difficult for every topic, and are expensive. If we were to consider the subject of Insure Tennessee, for example, almost all members of the RCRP are against this program while most people, at the coffee clubs around town and the Chamber of Commerce, favor the program. The fourth and final principle, that I add, is to listen to your heart. This is based on life experiences, but also on emotion. So we come back to prayer!
I am thankful that I went to the RCRP. They meet at the Senior Center on Locust Street in Springfield, at 8:30, first Saturday of each month. All are welcome. Breakfast is served. Considering the difficult decisions we make at the Legislature, I welcome your input. If you do not like a decision that I make, please tell me. Let us talk.But please be civil and do not call me animal names on your Facebook page!

Rep. Sabi 'Doc' Kumar; Rep.Sabi.Kumar@Capitol.tn.gov; 615- 741-2860.


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State Representative Report


                                 SABI 'DOC' KUMAR          Published April 30, 2015


The Legislative Session of 2015


The 2015 session of the 109th General Assembly of the Tennessee State Legislature lasted from January 23 to April 23. The start of the regular session, this year, was delayed because of the winter snows and the Special Session to consider the Governor Haslam’s Insure Tennessee proposal. The session lasted about 13 weeks.

Despite the fact that we run on a platform of small government, the Legislators filed 1,402 bills! The House of Representatives passed 554 of these. These bills become law if similar legislation is passed by the Senate and is signed by the Governor. The Governor has three options when a bill, passed by the House and the Senate both, arrives at his desk.  He has ten days to act. He may sign the bill to make it the law because “public welfare requires it”. He may allow it to become law without signing it. This happens when the Governor disagrees with actions of the bill. The third option is to veto the bill. The Legislature may over-ride this action by a majority vote.

Economically these are good times in our state. Business activity is up. Therefore, sales and other tax collections were higher than expected. According to the Budget, proposed by the Governor and approved by the Legislature, major beneficiaries of this windfall are the Rainy Day Fund, Education, Teachers’ and State Employees’ salaries and plans for a new State Museum. A modest decrease in the Hall Income tax was also included. 

Among other issues, Insure Tennessee, the Governor’ proposal to provide health insurance to over 280,000 uninsured Tennesseans with federal dollars, failed twice in Senate committees. I supported the bill to develop new K-12 educational standards that will replace Common Core. We must maintain high standards and these will be developed by Tennessee teachers. I thought that the bill requiring High School Seniors to take a civics quiz before graduation was a good idea. As some of you saw, Fox17 News tested me on the subject. I answered all correctly! I supported bills to strengthen our 2nd amendment rights, preserve the sanctity of life by voting for a proper informed consent before abortions and enhanced safety through proper certification of clinics.

I supported approval of marijuana oil for childhood epilepsy. I played a key role in postponing approval of medical marijuana for other conditions. We assigned this matter to summer study and evaluation. On matter of pride, we passed a law so that a liquor can be called Tennessee Moonshine Whiskey only if it was made in Tennessee!

The most important moment for me, in this session, was my speech to the Tennessee House of Representatives during debate on the bill to name Bible as the Official State Book. I spoke for about 12 minutes and received a standing ovation. I supported this bill so that we may “Honor Our Heritage, Our Culture and Our Biblical Values upon which Our Great Nation and Our State were founded!” This quote of mine was carried on National Public Radio news, the following morning.

A video of my speech is available online at Capitol.tn.gov. Go to Videos, House, On Demand Videos, April 15, 2015.  My comments begin at 1 hour, 34 minutes into the video. It is my honor to be your State Rep. God Bless you, and God Bless Robertson County!


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State Representative Report


                                                      SABI "DOC" KUMAR               Published: April 7, 2015     


The Making of a Law 

The legislative sessions of the Tennessee General Assembly start every year in January. The session was delayed this year because of the snow, beautiful as it was. These sessions usually last to late April, depending upon the legislative load. 
When you, the citizens of Robertson County, elected me as your State Representative, I was excited and looked forward to representing you at the state level. But we, the Representatives, are also Legislators. This means that we make laws. These laws greatly affect the lives of our citizens. It is certainly a responsibility that every lawmaker must consider seriously and with prayer.
It is a fact that my fellow Republicans and I run for election on a conservative platform. We promise you a small government. But when we arrive at the Legislature, we want to pass a lot of laws! This makes us look productive and hard working. Between 1,500 and 1,800 bills are introduced in the General Assembly each year and up to one thousand bills may become laws. That is a lot of laws, folks! 
It is a long journey for a bill to become a law. A bill is a draft, or a suggestion, for a law that is needed to make our lives better or correct an injustice. A lot of the ideas originate from an interest group, a professional association or a commercial lobby. Other ideas come from State Government departments or the elected State Representatives, depending on their field of expertise, life experience or passion. The bills to allow wine in grocery stores, motorcycle riding without helmets, Insure Tennessee or open carry of fire-arms are a few respective examples.
For a bill to become a law, it goes through seven or more steps. The first step is legal drafting and introduction into the Legislative Calendar. A bill can only be introduced by the members of the Legislative Assembly. That means that a State Representative or a Senator introduces the bill into the House of Representatives and the Senate respectively. The Speakers of each of these two Chambers then assign the bill to the appropriate Sub-Committees. This is the second step. These Committees separately consider all aspects of the bill. Committees include health, education, insurance, banking, justice and government in both the House and Senate. The bill is presented, discussed and amended, if necessary. Proponents and opponents of the proposed law testify before the committees. If it passes by a majority vote in the subcommittee, it moves to the third step, which is presentation before the full committee. A similar process is repeated separately in each Chamber. 
Upon approval of the full Committees, the bill is referred to the Finance Committee, if there is a financial impact. This is step four. Upon passage in the, usually difficult, Finance Committee, the fifth step is the Calendar and Rules Committee that schedules the bill for a vote on the floor of the House and the Senate Chamber. Most Bills (98 percent) that reach step six, the Chamber floors, pass and become a law if signed by the Governor. This signature is the seventh and final step. 
So the ideal bill is the one that everybody likes and it does not cost any money!

Rep.Sabi.Kumar@Capitol.tn.gov/Phone: 615- 741-2860


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State Representative Report

        Sabi 'Doc' Kumar     


A Cure for the Common Core
                                                                                                                      Published: March 17, 2015
 
I have always said that I am where I am in life, because of my education. And that Education changes lives. I am committed to working with our local and state leaders to improve education in our state and in Robertson County. I have spoken with teachers and educators at the local and state level. I am pleased to report to you that I have met experienced educators and legislators who care deeply about the education of our children. We want to have world class standards by which our students are taught. Selection of these standards has been controversial.

Common Core is a set of standards implemented for K-12 education in Tennessee four years ago. These standards were developed by the National Governors Association. The purpose was to create uniformity of learning at various grade levels in our country. When a family moves to another state, the children can resume their education at the same grade level. These standards applied to English language arts and Math. 
The development and implementation of these standards, called Common Core, is flawed. Parents and teachers in Tennessee know what is best for our children! Common Core standards were developed and enforced without the involvement of Tennessee teachers. I firmly believe that the key to any successful educational effort is to, "Talk to Teachers, Talk to Teachers and Talk to Teachers!" This was not done and the result was confusion and misunderstanding. We should note, with pride, that with the dedication of our teachers and students, Tennessee was the fastest improving state in K-12 education in 2014.
In Tennessee, academic standards are normally reviewed every six years. Because of public complaints, Governor Haslam announced, a review and revision of our K-12 standards after only four years. Four steps were outlined. First, public input is sought at https://apps.tn.gov/tcas. I strongly encourage our citizens and educators to participate and register their input. This is our opportunity to be heard. Secondly, the public comments will be reviewed and analyzed by the independent Southern Regional Education Board. The third step will be for the State Board of Education to appoint separate Standards Review and Development Committees for English language arts and for Math. This will happen during the summer of 2015. The fourth and final step will be the presentation of recommendations by these committees to the State Board of Education. 
Despite the Governor's efforts, the path to high quality K-12 educational standards remains controversial. There are additional bills in the Legislature to create committees and advisory teams comprised of Tennessee teachers, higher education faculty members, and parents to propose world-class, highly rigorous K-12 standards for use in public schools. 
Whether to wait for the recommendations of the Governor's committees or to select one or more of the bills in the legislature presents a difficult choice for us. But that is what you elected me for! It is my duty to consider this enormous task with great care, analysis and prayer. I request that you do the same and join me in prayer. Your input and advice is always welcome.

State Rep. Sabi Kumar represents District 66 including Robertson County/Rep.Sabi.Kumar@Capitol.tn.gov


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State Representative Report

                                                       Sabi 'Doc' Kumar        
       Published: March 3, 2015


Who Decides Which Textbooks Our Children Read?

When I am at the State Legislature, serving as your State Representative, many visitors come to “Meet and Greet”. All residents of Robertson County are welcome to come and visit me. I do suggest that you call and make an appointment so I can be there to greet you!  It is a great experience. You would be surprised to see how full and fast paced the days are during the General Assembly Session!

As a member of the Instruction and Program Education Committee in the Tennessee Legislature, I received a visit from newly appointed members of the State Textbook and Instructional Materials Quality Commission (also called the Textbook Commission) last week. I have great respect for citizens in public service. We discussed the school textbook selection process. I want to make certain that textbooks prescribed for our children have high standards, good learning material and reflect the great values of our society. I encourage you, as a citizen, to participate in this process so that your voice is heard. Several citizens of Robertson County have expressed concerns about the textbooks that are being used in our schools. I think it will be good for everyone to understand the process by which the textbooks and teaching materials are selected. There are three main steps in this process.

The first step is the state level selection of textbook options available on a particular subject. This is the function of the Textbook Commission. The commission is appointed by the Governor with recommendations from the legislature. The commission has nine members with six educators and three members, not employed in education, who represent each of the three grand divisions of our state. The Commissioner of Education serves as the Secretary. The commission follows established policies and procedures including the need “to place principle above personal opinion and reason above prejudice in the selection of materials of the highest quality”. Subjects taught in our schools have been divided into six sections. Textbooks and materials for each section are reviewed by the commission on a six year cycle.

The second step is public review and comment. Parents and community members have the opportunity to review all textbooks and instructional materials selected, submit their comments to the commission, and speak before the commission during their fall meeting. This is a valuable opportunity and I encourage more citizens to participate in this democratic process at the state level.

The third step is local adoption.  The policy states correctly that local school “districts are best positioned to choose which textbooks and instructional materials meet the needs of their students, educators, and community. Local school systems must then adopt books on the official list or submit a waiver request to the department to use textbooks or instructional materials not on the approved list”. Local Boards of Education appoint teacher committees to review the textbooks and instructional materials proposed and make final recommendations to the Board of Education.

Life has taught me enough to know that no system is perfect but our understanding and participation will make things better. I firmly believe that education changes lives. The responsibility of choosing the books that our children will learn from is a tremendous responsibility. We must seek guidance through prayer!

More information is at www.tennessee.gov/education/textbooks/adoption.shtml



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State Representative Report

                                                       Sabi 'Doc' Kumar                
Published: February 23, 2015


Preparing to Serve on the Education Committee


"When you plan for a day, carry an umbrella. When you plan for a year, plant a garden. When you plan for life, get an education." These words, anonymously written years ago, state an important truth. Throughout my campaign, I highlighted my commitment to improve education in Robertson County. Simply put, I am where I am in life because of education and, of course, what mom did for me!

Education is an issue of great importance to me, because I came to this country 44 years ago with only $37 in my pocket. But I had something of far greater value: a medical degree. Over the years, I have realized the great value of that education. It has given me the privilege of serving the people and the community. It has been a blessing to me and my family. 
When I come across a young high school graduate who is not interested and not planning to go to college, I ask them one question: Will you put in one more year in school if it will double your income for life? As you can imagine, most of these young people respond with attention. The fact is that an LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse) course will do exactly that. It will double a person's income for the rest of their life as compared to the minimum wage! It takes one year of training.
There is also further room for progress in this caring profession. Other similar options also exist. With the resources now available via the Tennessee Promise, our young people have more options for education and a better life. We cannot over emphasize the importance of education in the lives of our young people. 
When I think about our teachers, I realize that there are remarkable similarities between a physician and a teacher. We both entered our professions because it was a calling. We both are charged with improving the lives of people (students or patients). Each student and each patient comes with their own unique set of problems. Our time of contact and our influence is limited. For both professions, our performance is measured by our results. Teacher performance is measured by test scores and graduation rates, while doctors are measured by mortality and infection rates.
Our current policy makers want to reward or punish us based on these narrow measurements. We are being treated as an industry and not as a profession. 
It is my passion for education that led to my appointment to the Education (Instruction and Programs) Committee of the Tennessee House of Representatives. There are three things that I believe any lawmaker should do before implementing changes in education: 1) Talk to teachers; 2) Talk to teachers; and 3) Talk to teachers! Their classroom perspective and insight is invaluable. I am committed to helping our teachers. Let us work together to improve education and the future of children in our great County!

Rep.Sabi.Kumar@Capitol.tn.gov; 615- 741-2860


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State Representative Report


                                                      SABI 'DOC' KUMAR                      ​Published: Feb 17, 2015                     

Health Care Decisions


  I made a promise to you, the citizens of Robertson County, that as your Representative in the Tennessee Legislature, I will work to improve healthcare. As a member of the Tennessee House of Representatives Health and Health Sub Committees, I plan to do exactly that.
I did not get a chance to vote on Governor Haslam's Insure Tennessee Plan. It was defeated in the Senate Health & Welfare Committee by a
 vote of 7 to 4. My Committee was in the process of hearings when the failure of this plan in the Senate committee made our hearings unnecessary. 
Monday, February 2 marked the start of the Legislature's Special Session on Insure Tennessee. Governor Haslam had called this session to consider his plan that would have provided TennCare health coverage for over 200,000 uninsured Tennesseans. This plan was meant to cover Tennesseans with incomes below 138% of the federal poverty level, because they do not qualify for federal subsidies under the Affordable Care Act. It is the strange logic of Obamacare that these folks are too poor to qualify for a plan that is meant to help the poor with incomes below $16,000 for singles and about $32,000 for a family of four. I commend Governor Haslam for taking on this difficult problem. I admire my colleagues in the Legislature for hours of careful study, deep thought and a sincere desire to do what is best for Tennesseans now and in the future.
My responsibility is to be a compassionate physician to my patients and a responsible legislator to my constituents. I believe that we should focus on three goals. First, we should help only the deserving and avoid abuse of public funds. Second, we should commit that there will be no tax burden to the citizens of Tennessee, no hidden charges, administrative fees or cost shifting. Third, we should help our financially struggling rural hospitals. They are always open to provide care, regardless of patient ability to pay. No other business does that. Four hospitals have closed in Tennessee, in the last year. Such closures are painful for these communities because of loss of jobs and access to healthcare. Hospitals are often the largest employers in these communities. We should implement a market-based solution to our healthcare problems if, and only if, these three goals are met. 
Proverbs 14:31 reminds us that generosity to those in need honors God. However, 2 Thessalonians 3:10 cautions that we must not give to those not willing to work. We must act compassionately, and also with sound fiscal responsibility. Is this possible? Absolutely! Tennesseans are lucky to have the spirit of volunteerism and compassion balanced with pragmatism. Add to that the American ingenuity for creating solutions and finding opportunities to solve problems and we should be able to achieve accessible and affordable healthcare. Now is the time for us to help the present and secure our future! As a physician and your State Representative, I will continue to do all that I can to improve healthcare and explore all possibilities.
Rep.Sabi.Kumar@Capitol.tn.gov


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State Representative Report


SABI 'DOC' KUMAR
                                                                                                                   
Published: February 3, 2015

Organization Week at the Legislature


​What an Organization Week it was for the 109th General Assembly during the week of January 12! Although I have been serving as your State Rep for several weeks now, it was a truly amazing experience to stand on the floor of the Tennessee House of Representatives and take an oath to serve you, the people of Robertson County.

Organization Week, as you can imagine, was a flurry of activities and events. I enjoyed getting to know many of my fellow Republicans and freshman legislators. These are remarkable and dedicated people and I am blessed to be among them. The culmination of the week was on Saturday. On that day, Speaker Beth Harwell announced committee appointments for the 109th General Assembly. I am pleased to share with you that I will be serving on the Health Committee, Health Subcommittee and the Education Instruction and Programs Committee! I look forward to applying my understanding of healthcare from the perspective of a doctor, patient and hospital to my work on the Health Committee and Health Subcommittee. I ran for this seat because I believed we needed a doctor in the House of Representatives to provide medical knowledge and input, and I look forward to being an important voice on healthcare issues.
Education is a passion of mine. I have always encouraged young people to plan for life by getting an education. It has been said that, "When you plan for a day, carry an umbrella. When you plan for a year, plant a garden. When you plan for a decade, plant trees. When you plan for life, get an education!" I hope to work with the many talented and wonderful teachers in Robertson County to improve education. I firmly believe that we will only improve our education system by working with the teachers. They are on the "front lines" and they know what works, in much the same way as I am on the front lines of healthcare.
My wife Linda and I capped off our week by celebrating the Inauguration of Governor Bill Haslam. It was a special time to be on the stage and be a (very) small part of history as our Governor took his oath of office. I saw an exercise in democracy in which people with different beliefs and values shared a stage to honor the office and institutions of our government. Now that the ceremonials are done, it is time to start the legislative work that you sent me to do. Please join me in prayer each day for guidance as we, in the General Assembly, face many challenges and tough decisions during this Session. Please remember to contact me with your concerns and suggestions.

Rep.Sabi.Kumar@Capitol.tn.gov. Phone: 615-741-2860.


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​State Representative Report  


State Rep. Sabi 'Doc' Kumar
                                                                                                                       Published: December 29, 2014
Thoughts From the New State Representative


I hope that all of you had a wonderfully blessed Christmas! What a busy, exciting holiday season it has been in Robertson County! Thanksgiving and Christmas had an extra meaning this year, as I officially became your State Representative on November 5, 2014.

Election as your State Representative is an honor and privilege. I am grateful to the citizens of Robertson County for the trust that you have placed in me. With your help and prayers, I hope to make a real difference.

Since November 5, I have attended many Legislative meetings and orientation events with a single purpose in mind: to learn the lay of the land as quickly as possible in order to help the residents of Robertson County.

Although there is no place like home and Robertson County, the meetings in Nashville have been productive and informative. People are kind, and willing to help. My fellow legislators are remarkable people, each working to make a difference in their community. I was pleased to learn that Governor Haslam sets aside several hours each week to meet with legislators. I plan to visit him frequently to discuss issues central to improving the economy and small businesses, education and healthcare in Robertson County.

Despite the busy schedule in Nashville, nothing is more important than events and priorities back home in Robertson County. I have especially enjoyed the wonderful Christmas parades throughout the County and visiting with folks. Our local communities are very special, with caring friends and neighbors.

Our Legislative Office has been receiving calls from constituents on a wide range of issues. My Legislative Assistant is Chris Rogers. He is a remarkable and helpful young man. Chris and I are working to help as many people as we can. If there is any way that I can be of service, please do contact my office at the email or the phone number listed above. I will do all that I can for you and our county. I promise.

Finally, I need your help! These are critical times for our state, and I hope you will join me in prayer as we prepare to begin the upcoming Legislative Session of the 109th General Assembly in January 2015. There will be major issues under consideration by this Legislature. These issues greatly affect our lives and the lives of our fellow citizens. I pray that my fellow Legislators and I will work together to reach the best solutions for the people.

As a New Year dawns, I hope you enjoy time with family and friends. If you are looking for a place to worship, please join me and my family at First United Methodist Church in Springfield. From our family to yours, we wish you a healthy and happy 2015.



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 American Future

(Not Published)


America has been a dominant world power since the early part of the 20th century.

'Gloom and Doom' is not a new disease but at certain times in history,

this view becomes more prevalent.


Lately there has been concern mixed with speculation that

America has reached her zenith and is now on a course of decline.


In a recent book titled 'Balance", Hubbard and Kane studied dominant powers in history, 

starting with Ancient Rome and progressing through Imperial China,

the Spainish and the Ottoman Empires,

Post 1858 Japan, Great Britain and California of the 60s.


There appear to be 3 common features

that lead to the decline of the great civilizations and dominant powers.

In order of occurence, these are:

​                                         1. Moral Decline

                                         2. Spending beyond means, leading to increasing Debt

                                         3. Centralization of Power in response to the economic chaos.


Certainly we can identify the first two and a half of these in our society today.

​But

There is an abundance of human capital

(Skilled and Educated Citizens)

in America today and that is our saving grace.


We are also Fortunate that We are Able to Study History 

and Examine the Record of other Civilizations.

The Romans did not have that available to them. 


For this reason, we should be Optimistic of the American Future.


It only takes One Election to change direction in a Democracy.

Let us work to accomplish just that!


May God Bless America and her People!