Rep. Mike Sparks’s Newsroom

Mike Sparks: DeBerry’s voice amplified as member of governor’s cabinet

December 14, 2020

The year 2020 will go down as being known for COVID-19, social-distancing and the political ambush of State Rep. John DeBerry by the Tennessee Democratic Party. DeBerry, a Memphis Democrat and respected statesman in the House of Representatives, was ousted by his own party back in May by a 41-18 vote by members of the Tennessee Democrat Executive Committee.
Rather than letting voters take him off the ballot, a committee of Democrats who probably never visited his district cast him out for being conservative on social issues.
But it seems when God closes one door it seems he always opens another and He had a bigger plan for DeBerry. Gov. Bill Lee announced on Nov. 30 that DeBerry would join his cabinet as a senior advisor beginning Dec. 1. His office will be at the State Capitol and he’ll receive an annual salary of $165,000. DeBerry will play a key role advising the governor and shaping policy when it comes to important issues impacting Tennesseans.
DeBerry, a faithful Democrat since 1970 and representative for House District 90 since 1995, is an honorable man of deep conviction and integrity. He dutifully served his district for 26 years, never wavering from the same core beliefs voters elected him 13 times to uphold.
“I think the agenda is to sanitize the Democratic Party to where it is a mindless group of folks who simply follow an agenda that is placed before them,” DeBerry told Morning Host Robyn Walensky of Memphis KWAM News on June 22.
Listen to Wake Up Memphis and Rep. John DeBerry
“I see them going backwards trying to sanitize the country. We are going down a dangerous path. We’re on a slippery slope that’s going to lead us exactly where our enemies said we were going to be in the ’60s,” DeBerry said.
The media barely covered the DeBerry political ambush when it happened. Do you know why? The reason is that the narrative doesn’t line-up with the agenda of the lying left, who tout themselves as the party of tolerance. DeBerry is a victim of religious persecution at the hands of an ever-growing leftist Democrat Party. A party who has become anti-Christian, anti-life, socialist and intolerant of others views.
Democrats’ dwindling base further demonstrates how out of touch the left is with the majority of people in our state.
What the Tennessee Democrat Executive Committee did to Rep. DeBerry is wrong, and creates a slippery slope on free and fair elections. The voting rights of the people of Memphis were more than suppressed; they were forbidden to vote for their 26-year state representative who has represented them with integrity and character. Shame on you NAACP, ACLU, Tennessee Democrat Executive Committee, mainstream media and others who turn a blind-eye to this racist, anti-Christian bigoted atrocity.
Thankfully, an overwhelming majority of Tennesseans can plainly see that the Democratic Party has become the party of intolerance and will only move our state backwards.
Mike Sparks lives in Smyrna represents the 49th House District which includes part of Rutherford County.
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Rep. Mike Sparks honored by Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity

October 19, 2020

Middle Tennessee State University student and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity member Brandon Woodruff, right, and State Rep. Mike Sparks in the Tennessee House of Representatives in early 2020.

State Rep. Mike Sparks of Smyrna was honored by the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Association of Tennessee Alphamen for his work as a state legislator during the 111th General Assembly.

The Association of Tennessee Alphamen presented Sparks with a proclamation praising his “commitment to aiding the poor and disenfranchised, seeking common sense solutions to our state’s most pressing issues and representing the communities that you serve with valor, courage, and dignity.”

The fraternity, established in 1906 at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, includes W.E.B. DuBois, Thurgood Marshall, Andrew Young, Lionel Richie and civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., along with many others among its influential alumni.

“This honor is one of the most important to me. Most issues are not Republican or Democrat, black or white. Working together, discussing solutions for freedom and civil rights is something all leaders should strive for,” Sparks said.

“I will always be open to conversations–no matter how difficult they are. The issue of over incarceration, addiction, fatherless and more are of great importance to me. The scriptures tell us in the Parable of the Lost Sheep as well as the Good Samaritan. The example of Jesus is something we all should highlight—not censor.”

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State Rep. Mike Sparks releases 2021 legislative survey

October 6, 2020

NASHVILLE, Tenn.  – State Rep. Mike Sparks, R-Smyrna, released his legislative survey for 2021 asking constituents of Tennessee House District 49 for essential feedback.

The survey questions reflect the issues legislators may make decisions about during the upcoming 2021 session of the 112th General Assembly.

Some of those topics include education, economic development, affordable housing, health care, the opioid crisis, and polices related to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“My primary responsibility as state representative is listening to those I serve and making sure their views are represented in Nashville,” said Sparks. “The feedback gathered through these surveys will be essential as I continue to work for the people of Rutherford County. I look forward to hearing from residents about where they stand on these issues and I encourage all of my constituents to make their voices heard.”

The surveys will be mailed to more than 7,000 households in House District 49. Rep. Sparks can be reached at his legislative offices at 615-741-6829 or by email at rep.mike.sparks@capitol.tn.gov.

Mike Sparks represents the 49th House District which includes part of Rutherford County. He serves as chairman of the Consumer Subcommittee. He is a member of the Consumer and Human Resource Committee, the Insurance Committee, the Property and Casualty Committee and the Naming, Designating & Private Acts Committee.  

 

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Tennessee Professional Fire Fighters Association endorses Rep. Mike Sparks in District 49 State House race

October 5, 2020

(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) — State Rep. Mike Sparks (R-Smyrna) today received an endorsement from the Tennessee Professional Fire Fighters Association for the Nov. 3 House District 49 election.

The Tennessee Professional Fire Fighters Association (TPFFA) was chartered in 1960 by the International Association of Fire Fighters and is affiliated with the Southern Federation of Fire Fighters. The TPFFA protects the interests of all who are engaged in full-time firefighting, fire prevention, fire instructors, EMS, fire/EMS dispatch and other emergency related services in Tennessee.

The TPFFA currently represents 30 affiliates with approximately 4,500 active and retired members across Tennessee.

Sparks has fought to provide resources to his local fire departments throughout his tenure in our General Assembly. During the 111th General Assembly, he supported several initiatives that back both our firefighters and emergency first responders. They include:

  • House Bill 316: Enacts the “Barry Brady Act,” which creates a presumption that certain conditions or impairments of full-time firefighters caused by certain cancers arose out of employment unless the contrary is shown by competent medical evidence.
  • House Bill 384: Extends compensation for death of emergency responders to emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics. Authorizes local governments to continue to provide health insurance to the surviving spouse and children of an EMT or paramedic who is killed in the line of duty. (Passed Senate, currently in FW&M Sub in the house)
  • House Bill 518: Effective January 1, 2020, establishes a program authorizing the Commissioner of the Department of Commerce and Insurance (DCI) to provide equally geographically-distributed grants to select volunteer fire departments for training and equipment purchases.
  • House Bill 623: Grants eligibility to an officer retiring after 25 years of service to receive benefits computed as an actuarial equivalent of the retirement allowance that would have been payable under a service retirement allowance.  Authorizes local governments to require officers retiring early to pay for any insurance coverage provided to members.
  • House Bill 937: Increases, from $600 to $800, the salary supplement available to professional firefighters and law enforcement officers when such individuals complete annual in-service training.

“I am honored to receive strong support from the Tennessee Professional Fire Fighters Association as I seek to continue serving the citizens of Rutherford County,” said Sparks. “These brave individuals who make extraordinary sacrifices and risk their lives to protect and serve us deserve our respect and admiration. Their efforts to help others and advocacy for increased awareness of mental health and counseling for PTSD is commendable. Many may not realize that the suicide rate among fire fighters, police officers, correctional officers and EMS are among the highest occupations. I pledge to continue to lead that effort for awareness and additional resources for our firefighters, first responders and law enforcement in our state.”

Leading Small Business Group Endorses Mike Sparks in District 49 House Race

October 2, 2020

NASHVILLE, Tenn. Sept.4, 2020 — The NFIB Tennessee Political Action Committee has endorsed State Rep. Mike Sparks, R-Smyrna, in the 49th State House District race. The PAC is comprised exclusively of NFIB members.

“NFIB is proud to endorse candidates who have demonstrated a strong commitment to protecting small businesses in Tennessee,” said Jim Brown, Tennessee state director. “These individuals either have a proven track record of standing up for small businesses or have shown they will promote a positive business environment for Tennessee’s job creators.”

“I am truly honored to receive this endorsement from the NFIB as I seek to continue serving the citizens of District 49,” Sparks said. “Now, more than ever, our small businesses need our support as we work to recover from this pandemic. I am committed to fighting for them and advancing good policy that support small business owners and helps creates jobs. “

The NFIB Tennessee PAC’s endorsement is critical to Sparks’ campaign. Small-business owners and their employees vote in high numbers and are known for actively recruiting friends, family members and acquaintances to visit the polls. The PAC’s support is based on the candidates’ positions and records on small business issues.

Early voting in the primaries begins Wednesday, Oct. 14, and ends Thursday, Oct. 29. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 3.

NFIB is the nation’s leading small business association, with offices in Washington, D.C. and all 50 state capitals. Founded in 1943 as a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, NFIB gives small- and independent-business owners a voice in shaping the public policy issues that affect their business. NFIB’s powerful network of grassroots activists sends its views directly to state and federal lawmakers through our unique member-only ballot, thus playing a critical role in supporting America’s free enterprise system. NFIB’s mission is to promote and protect the right of our members to own, operate and grow their businesses. More information about NFIB is available online at www.NFIB.com/newsroom.
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State Rep. Mike Sparks honors health care workers

August 21, 2020

State Rep. Mike Sparks, R-Smyrna, unanimously passed a resolution honoring health care workers on the front lines in the fight against Covid-19 during the 61st Extraordinary Session of the Tennessee General Assembly.

Legislators met Aug.10-12 to address Covid-19 liability protections, telehealth services, and laws protecting state property and first responders.

House Resolution 8001 recognizes the significant contribution of medical professionals and health care support staff have made while putting themselves in harm’s way to perform essential, necessary and life-saving work to keep Tennesseans safe during the coronavirus pandemic.

“My family has personally witnessed the compassionate care rendered by nurses, doctors and countless other support staff,” Sparks said.  “My sister has been in a nursing home for many years after suffering a brain injury and bad fall and we’ve seen first-hand the challenges health care workers deal with daily. Not only are they caring for the health of their patients, but they’ve also provided emotional support to long-term care patients who have suffered from isolation from their loved ones during this pandemic. They are true heroes and deserve our gratitude.”

Sparks said he planned to further review and address important health care legislation that supports long-term care facilities and the aging during the 112th General Assembly.

“COVID-19 has dealt a huge blow to everyone. While we continue to be presented with new and difficult challenges as a result of this virus, we must make sure our state is prepared to meet those challenges head on,” Sparks said.

The resolution also honors the contributions of local government employees for their leadership in determining safest practices to keep the public safe during the coronavirus pandemic.

To read the full resolution go here.

Mike Sparks represents the 49th House District which includes part of Rutherford County. He serves as chairman of the Consumer Subcommittee. He is a member of the Consumer and Human Resource Committee, the Insurance Committee, the Property and Casualty Committee and the Naming, Designating & Private Acts Committee.  

 

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Sparks: DeBerry’s ouster proves Democrats lead party of intolerance

June 26, 2020

Political campaigns in America have always been a contact sport—often times, they get downright nasty. The most egregious display of political betrayal I have witnessed in my lifetime is what happened to Rep. John DeBerry of Memphis. Back in April, the Tennessee Democratic Executive Committee voted to take DeBerry off the ballot. They met in an online meeting a few days after the April 2 candidate filing deadline.

In an interview with the Memphis Flyer published April 15, Deberry said he had no prior notice about the committee’s intention or vote. He was “ambushed and blindsided” by the action taken against him, he told the newspaper.

Deberry’s Republican and Democratic colleagues in the General Assembly expressed disappointment and outrage by the Democratic Party’s actions.

“The people of his district have sent DeBerry to Nashville to be their voice 13 times. If someone believes their voices and values are better fits for a district, I encourage them to file for office and make their argument to the voters,” said Rep. Karen Camper, the Democratic House Minority Leader, to the Memphis Flyer in the April 15 article.

Rep. Joe Towns, D-Memphis, also expressed his anger, calling the move against DeBerry, “A draconian attempt to perceive how a ‘lesser than’ people should behave or vote,” and “this racially motivated and bullying attempt will not be tolerated.”

Other colleagues— including Rep. G.A. Hardaway, D-Memphis,  and Sen. Raumesh Akbari, D-Memphis — were also quick to defend DeBerry, who wasn’t the only person removed from the ballot. In fact, four other candidates whose credentials were challenged were also deemed ineligible to run under the Democratic party label. So much for being the big tent or catch-all party.

Giving his annual report at his presidential library in Atlanta in 2018, former President Jimmy Carter in 2018 warned his party, “Don’t go too far to the left. Independents need to know they can invest their vote in the Democratic Party.”

DeBerry, a popular and extremely influential 26-year lawmaker and pastor is known for working across the aisle and getting things accomplished for his district. He was simply kicked off the ballot and the voice of the people was undoubtedly silenced.

As a young boy, he marched with civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In many ways, his life embodies the American Dream. However, what has happened to DeBerry is nothing more than modern day persecution.

I’ve often called Rep. DeBerry, the ‘E.F. Hutton’ of the Tennessee General Assembly. Much like the old commercial, “When E.F. Hutton talks, people listen.” When Rep. DeBerry talks everyone — including our governor — listens. DeBerry knows his district, and he sees firsthand the brokenness of families, high fatherless rates, drug addiction, alcoholism, homelessness, lack of opportunities and other issues affecting urban areas.

Despite our many differences from Mountain City to Memphis, we are very similar in many ways, and Tennessee needs Rep. DeBerry.  He brings a wealth of knowledge, wisdom, and experience to the Capitol, which has helped create good public policy. I will argue that DeBerry has more influence than the entire Tennessee Democratic Party combined. The completely absurd effort to remove him from the ballot is the equivalent of taking Peyton Manning off the field during the Super Bowl.

The good news is we recently passed legislation with overwhelming support by Republican and Democrat support enabling him to get back on the ballot, and he will seek a 14th term this fall as an independent candidate.

Recently, I joined a few representatives for a prayer caucus phone call. State Sen. Janice Bowling asked John, “How are you holding up?” After a brief pause, John became emotional and replied, “I just have to put it in the good Lord’s hands, and I will be alright.”

I later called DeBerry to offer my encouragement and reminded him of Dr. King’s ‘Letter from a Birmingham jail’ and the pain Dr. King must have felt sitting in that jail cell. During our conversation, I reminded him of this quote, “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

Rep. DeBerry, please know that you have touched thousands of lives in cities and towns across Tennessee, and all of your friends are totally behind you. I know you will be back in Nashville serving your district again next year, and I look forward to continuing to partner with you for the betterment of all Tennesseans. The voice of the people — not a select few — will once again prevail. God bless you, and it is an incredible honor to serve with you in our General Assembly.

Mike Sparks represents the 49th House District which includes part of Rutherford County. He serves as chairman of the Consumer Subcommittee. He is a member of the Consumer and Human Resource Committee, the Insurance Committee, the Property and Casualty Committee and the Naming, Designating & Private Acts Committee.  

 

 

State Rep. Mike Sparks proposes legislation saving millions for state insurance plan

June 5, 2020

Mike Sparks

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – State Rep. Mike Sparks, R-Smyrna, has proposed legislation lowering health care costs and while saving millions in taxpayer dollars.

The state health insurance plan which covers state employees, teachers, and higher education employees cost $1.6 billion in 2018, according to the Tennessee Department of Finance and Administration.

As amended, House Bill 1366 would require the State Insurance Committee to contract with an entity that provides each enrollee with information online about the cost and quality of health care services and providers. It passed overwhelmingly in the State Committee on June 4.

“This legislation would allow our state employees more options to shop around and compare health care services and providers and rewards them by sharing savings generated by the enrollees’ choice of health care service and providers,” Sparks said.

Estimates show health care costs could be reduced by about 6 percent or $96 million for approximately 300,000 individuals who receive coverage through state, local education and local government plans, Sparks said.

“This savings could be used to reduce premiums and out of pocket costs for state employees and teachers, while improving choice of providers. This is a win- win for taxpayers and our state employees at a time when we’re all trying to save every dollar we can,” Sparks said.

Mike Sparks represents the 49th House District which includes part of Rutherford County. He serves as chairman of the Consumer Subcommittee. He is a member of the Consumer and Human Resource Committee, the Insurance Committee, the Property and Casualty Committee and the Naming, Designating & Private Acts Committee.  

Speaker Casada Names Representative Sparks Chairman of House Consumer Subcommittee

January 17, 2019

(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) — Tennessee House Speaker Glen Casada (R-Thompson’s Station) has named State Representative Mike Sparks (R-Smyrna) Chairman of the House Consumer Subcommittee.

The 7-member subcommittee will be responsible for all matters and legislation impacting Tennessee’s consumers.

“Representative Sparks is a passionate, dedicated servant for his community and for Tennessee,” said Speaker Casada. “I appreciate his willingness to serve in this important leadership role and as a member of our General Assembly, and I know he will be successful.”

“I am honored to be named Chairman of the House Consumer Subcommittee by Speaker Casada, and I am excited to lead,” said Representative Sparks. “My colleagues and I are committed to protecting Tennessee’s consumers and ensuring our state remains open for business.”

Representative Sparks was officially sworn in to office on Jan. 8, 2019.

He will also serve as a member of the House Consumer & Human Resources, House Insurance, and House Naming, Designating, & Private Acts Committees, as well as the House Property & Casualty Subcommittee. Sparks lives in Smyrna and represents Tennessee House District 49, which includes a portion of Rutherford County.

Representative Sparks & Secretary Hargett Want To Know: Are You Registered To Vote?

September 27, 2018

(NASHVILLE) — Recently, State Representative Mike Sparks (R-Smyrna) hosted Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett for a tour of the new 80,000 square-foot building on the campus of Motlow State Community College in Smyrna, which is scheduled to open next fall.

During the tour with Representative Sparks, School President Dr. Michael L. Torrence, La Vergne City Mayor Dennis Waldron and others, Hargett asked one simple question to everyone he encountered; are you registered to vote?

A recent report suggests that Tennessee ranks second to last in voter turnout and nearly as low in voter registration.

In efforts to raise awareness and increase turnout at the polls this November, Secretary Hargett is crisscrossing the state this month — which coincides with National Voter Registration Month — and speaking with Tennesseans about the importance of registering to vote.

His stop in Smyrna was the latest in a series of scheduled events that also includes visits to Middle Tennessee State University and additional Tennessee colleges, all in an effort to encourage students to get registered. The message is simple; now is the time to sign up if you want to cast your ballots in the upcoming election.

“It was a pleasure to be hosted at Motlow State Community College in Smyrna by Representative Mike Sparks, President Torrence, and Mayor Waldron.,” said Secretary Hargett. “Their leadership, and particularly that of Representative Sparks in the legislature are critical to the success of the Motlow State’s Smyrna campus. I appreciate Representative Sparks joining me in promoting voter registration and civic engagement by these students.  I am always encouraged to see young people engaging in the political process and the students at Motlow State are no exception.”

“I am grateful that my friend and colleague, Secretary Hargett has joined me in reminding the future leaders of our community about the importance of registering to vote,” said Representative Sparks. “Voting is one of the rights afforded to us under the Constitution, and I encourage those who have not registered yet to do so and let their voice be heard in November.”

The voter registration deadline is October 9. For more information or to register to vote, please click here.

Mike Sparks serves as Vice-Chair of the House Calendar & Rules Committee. He is also a member of the House Insurance & Banking and House Business & Utilities Committees, as well as the House Business & Utilities Subcommittee. Sparks lives in Smyrna and represents House District 49, which includes part of Rutherford County. He can be reached by email at:Rep.Mike.Sparks@capitol.tn.gov or by calling (615) 741-6829.