Meet Debra Maggart
Debra Maggart defines the term "principled leader" in Tennessee.
Whether fighting to advance the conservative cause for citizens in Tennessee's 45th House District or representing the interests of students in her role as Executive Director of COMPASS, Debra has consistently proved that it is possible to be successful by living up to your principles.
First elected to the Tennessee Legislature in 2004, Debra service was abruptly ended in 2012 when she stood up to the powerful gun lobby. At issue: her strong belief in both the Second Amendment and the rights of property owners. A long-time advocate of the Second Amendment, a gun owner, a hand gun permit holder and a member of the local gun club, Debra believes in protecting our rights and finding the balance that is important to good public policy.
Unfortunately, the gun lobby did not see things this way when they attacked her in a 2012 GOP primary, spending an unprecedented $155,000 plus dollars in negative campaigning in a local state house race in Tennessee, while desparaging her A+ rated, pro-Second Amendment voting record. The NRA and their allies said she was for gun control, for shredding the Constitution, and compared her to President Barack Obama--all lies and falsehoods.
As a legislator, Debra quickly rose to be one of the most influential leaders in Tennessee. In 2010, her peers in the Legislature selected her to Chair the Republican Caucus' new majority. This was key because, for the first time in the history of Tennessee, conservatives controlled the Governorship and both Chambers of the General Assembly. As the first GOP Chairwoman of the Majority Caucus, Debra was charged with guiding legislative initiatives that reflected the will of Tennesseans and her members while moving Tennessee forward.
During her years of service to her constituents, and her Caucus, Debra did just that. Constructive reforms of all kinds passed on her watch, including:
- Collaborative Conferencing Act: By standing up to the powerful teachers' union, Debra passed the Collaborative Conferencing Act, a law that gives every teacher in the State of Tennessee a voice at the negotiating table for salary, benefits, and performance, while ensuring that every child has a great teacher in the classroom. This bill ended the teachers' union's stranglehold on education in Tennessee.
- Voter ID Requirement: For six years, Debra fought to make sure that only registered voters legally able to vote are the only persons permitted to cast a vote in Tennessee. She made sure her legislation was constitutional and fair while protecting elections from fraud.
- Sex Offender Crackdown: Throughout her entire legislative career, Debra fought tirelessly to make sure that Tennessee would not become a magnet for violent sex offenders. Her legislation brought Tennessee into compliance with the Adam Walsh Act.
- Protections for Child Abuse Victims: Debra passed a major bill that allowed video-taped evidence of a child testifying against his or her alleged offender to be admissible in a courtroom. Young children no longer have to endure the anguish of sitting on the witness stand during a sex abuse case trial. This law gives every child in Tennessee a shot at justice.
- Tort Reform: Tort reforms so businesses can operate on a level playing field throughout the State; she worked hard to eliminate the gift tax and death tax in Tennessee so to attract jobs and investment in our state.
- SJR127: This constitutional amendment helps to protect and respect life in Tennessee. Debra carried SJR127 to return the power of the state legislature to regulate abortion in Tennessee. This landmark legislation will permit Tennesseans to vote on SJR127 to amend their state constitution in 2014.
Debra also runs a unique organization that serves as a partnership-builder for public schools and private businesses. As the director of COMPASS, Debra seeks out the best and brightest minds in her community to partner with schools. These gifted individuals are tapped to mentor and guide their partner schools to new levels of success. In addition to pairing local businesses, organizations and individuals with Sumner County schools, Debra fundraises for school improvement grants and student scholarship opportunities.
Finally, Debra finds time for friends and family. As a mother of one, Debra's pride and joy are her daughter, 3-year old granddaughter and new grandson. Debra is a member of St. Joseph of Arimathea Episcopal Church, the Hendersonville Rotary Club, several area Chambers of Commerce, the Western Kentucky University Alumni Association Board of Directors and Phi Mu Fraternity for Women.