This is a Moms Clean Air Force exclusive interview with Tennessee Representative John Ray Clemmons:
What is unique about protecting Tennessee’s resources?
One of the many great things about Tennessee is the wide array of natural resources from which we, as Tennesseans, benefit and have the opportunity to enjoy. My family spends a great deal of time outdoors and traveling across the state to enjoy all that Tennessee’s natural environment has to offer. It is important for us, as Tennesseans and elected officials, to remember that these great privileges come with great responsibility. We not only have a duty to protect our natural resources and environment for our families and future generations of Tennesseans, but we also have a duty to take proactive measures, where possible, to reverse damage that has already been done.
As a parent, are you worried about the effects of climate change and air pollution on your children and the children of Tennessee?
I am absolutely worried about the effects of climate change and air pollution on the children of Tennessee. As the father of three boys, I spend most of my time thinking about my children, their safety and their health, and doing everything that I possibly can to make sure that they are able to live whole and healthy lives, just like every other parent. As I tell people all the time, all the other issues on which we focus and place deserved emphasis, such as jobs, education, etc., are essentially meaningless unless we are able to live healthy lives and enjoy clean air and water.
Why is a bipartisan effort so important, and how can these efforts be achieved in our politically polarizing culture?
A clean environment is of the utmost importance to everyone, regardless of political party. Clean air, water and soil are vital for us to survive, and ensuring that these are protected requires buy-in from everyone. While it seems a no-brainer to me, reliable data and information are key to getting everyone on the same page and convincing everyone that protecting our environment must be a priority.
Is there anything you’d like to share that is important for Moms Clean Air Force members to know?
I approach every day that I have the honor of serving in the state legislature the same way I approach parenting. I take it one day at a time, learn as I go, and take actions and make thoughtful decisions about what I truly believe to be in the best interest of our families and future generations of Tennesseans. Like all parents, I stay engaged in the present with an eye on the future. To this end, I believe that protecting our natural environment must be a priority.
John Ray was raised on a farm between Lebanon and Watertown, Tennessee, where he learned the value of hard work and a good public education. John Ray practices law as a civil litigator in the private sector since November 2007, co-founding his own law firm in August 2013. John Ray and Tamara are the proud parents of John, Finn, Henry and Wrigley, the family dog. John Ray spends his free time with his family, supporting his favorite sports teams (Go Preds!) and playing ice hockey as the captain of an adult league hockey team.