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Knoxville Senators Kick off Capitol Connections with Interactive Panel Discussion

BY: AMY NOLAN

Capitol Connections, a three-part series featuring an inside look at the issues facing the Tennessee General Assembly, kicks off on Friday, Feb. 9.

Sens. Becky Duncan Massey and Richard Briggs, both Knoxville Republicans, will be the guest speakers with public affairs consultant and political commentator Susan Richardson Williams serving as moderator.

The event is at 8 a.m. at the Knoxville Chamber. The event is sold out, but the discussion will be made available on the Chamber’s Youtube Channel following the event.

The series – future events are planned for March 9 and April 13 – is sponsored by AT&T and Western Governors University. Both senators sit on the Senate’s Health and Welfare Committee, where legislation involving TennCare, the state’s Medicaid program, and addressing the opioid crisis must be approved.

Briggs, a thoracic and cardiac surgeon, has been vocal about the need to address the opioid epidemic with initiatives focused on medical and pharmacy protocols, as well as treatment and law enforcement. He’s also discussed the value of accepting more federal dollars for the state’s Medicaid program as President Trump has indicated he would allow states more flexibility in administering the program, particularly as it relates to cost containment.

Massey is also chairing a joint ad hoc committee on state services for the disabled, with a goal of making recommendations on how to streamline the services and improve their quality, access and affordability.

She was also named this year to the Senate’s Finance, Ways and Means Committee, which must approve all budget-related measures.

She and Sen. Briggs are members of the Senate Transportation and Safety Committee.

In addition, Sen. Briggs was named this year as chair of the Senate Ethics Committee, and he also serves a first vice chair of the State and Local Government Committee.