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Mark Cochran


House District23

Incumbent or New


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Would you support or oppose legislation that would prohibit abortion except when necessary to prevent the death of the mother?


Would you support or oppose legislation that would make either sexual orientation or gender identity/expression a new protected class under Tennessee’s civil rights laws?


Would you support or oppose a bill to amend Tennessee’s marriage statute to expressly authorize the issuance of marriage licenses to two people of the same sex?


Would you support or oppose legislation that would establish a $15 per hour minimum wage in Tennessee?


Would you support or oppose legislation to allow the state to defend public K-12 schools that are sued because they designate the use of locker rooms and bathrooms on the basis of biological sex instead of the gender by which a student identifies?


Do you support or oppose the proposition, advanced by a certain business coalition, that the bill described in question 5 is “discriminatory” and “would harm our economy and damage our state’s reputation”?


Currently, a majority of the Justices on the Tennessee Supreme Court select the state’s Attorney General and Reporter. Would you support or oppose an amendment to the state Constitution that allows the Legislature to elect the Attorney General and Reporter in the same manner that it elects the Secretary of State, Comptroller, and Treasurer?


Would you support or oppose an amendment to the state Constitution that allows the Governor to appoint the state’s Attorney General and Reporter subject to confirmation by the Legislature, as now happens with the appointment of the state’s Supreme Court Justices?


Would you support or oppose legislation, like Insure Tennessee proposed by Governor Haslam in 2015, that would expand Medicaid coverage in Tennessee beyond the Medicaid-eligible population?


Do you support or oppose the decision by the state’s Department of Health to disregard the state’s current adoption laws and allow a child’s original birth certificate to show that the child has two mothers simply because one of the women is married to the child’s biological mother?


Would you support or oppose a bill that would prohibit the state or local governmental entities from either giving preference to or discriminating against a business entity in awarding of grants or contracts based on whether the business has made sexual orientation or gender identity a protected status under its personnel policies, assuming that either of such statuses is not otherwise required by federal law?


Would you support or oppose legislation to award all of Tennessee’s Electors in a presidential election to the Party of the candidate who wins the national popular vote?


Do you support or oppose legalizing horse racing tracks in Tennessee at which bets can be placed on races?


There is a school of thought that the Constitution is a “living” document, meaning its various provisions are evolving and should be interpreted in the context of contemporary societal mores. Would you support or oppose a nominee to the Tennessee Supreme Court if there is credible evidence that the nominee believes the state or federal Constitution should be viewed or interpreted as a “living” document?


Would you support or oppose legislation to ensure that an adoption agency with a sincerely held belief that marriage is only one man and one woman would not lose its state license to make adoption placements if it only placed children in homes into which the marriage was of one man and one woman?



Explain your view of state government’s role in relation to economic growth and/or job creation.

I believe state government's role in economic development is to foster an environment conducive to economic growth. This is accomplished through keeping taxes and regulations at a minimum. Furthermore, the state must maintain partnerships with local economic development authorities to ensure that industries considering Tennessee are able to find a home that best meets their needs.

What are your thoughts about a parent of a child in a low performing public school being provided a voucher equal to the amount of the state’s per-student expenditure that would be applied toward the child’s private school tuition?

As a Ronald Reagan conservative, I am not opposed to the idea of vouchers or competition, but I believe those conservative principles should be applied universally. My biggest frustration with the voucher argument is that all too often the proponents of vouchers are also the proponents of more top-down regulations on local public schools. A centralized bureaucracy in Nashville is no better than one in Washington. And quite frankly, I believe the top-down model is the reason so many of school systems are struggling. If we trust private schools to develop their own curricula and teaching methods, we should allow that same freedom to local boards of education if they choose to have it. At that point, when the competition is free and fair, I'm fine with looking at vouchers.

What is one of the most satisfying things you have ever done or accomplished and what made it so satisfying to you?

While it is difficult for me to pinpoint one thing, I can say that the various mission trips I have participated in with my church have been some of the most fulfilling events in my life. My most recent trips have been to Omaha, Nebraska, and Jasper, Florida. On both trips we helped older, established churches that had gone through rough times attempt to grow and reach their communities once again. We helped establish Bible school programs and performed vital capital improvements on their buildings. The fact that these trips were domestic missions made them even more special to me. I know that the ultimate answer to the problems facing our nation is Christ. A strong church is paramount to the success of this great experiment of liberty. As our founders knew, democracy can only work if it is implemented by a moral, Godly people. Helping these churches get back on their feet and preparing their buildings to house their new members gave me great hope that they would be small catalysts in perhaps a future great revival.

What personal qualities or experiences do you think will best serve you in your role as a state legislator?

I grew up working in my family's grocery store in Englewood, Tennessee (a town of less than 1,500). I believe the years I spent bagging groceries for the people of our town had a profound impact on my life. Beyond teaching me the value of hard work, running a family business teaches you to take pride in that work. The quality of service you provide to your customers directly reflects upon your family and your family's name. Growing up in the grocery store also taught me the value of small government. I saw first-hand what was possible when people are empowered to pursue their dreams. Calvin Coolidge often said our nation is a place where free men and women are the "masters of their own destinies," and I experienced that freedom on a daily basis.

These experiences have made me a passionate conservative. I want to be a defender and an advocate of individual liberty. I hope to enact legislation that limits government overreach and empowers citizens to strive for success. And just as importantly, I hope to be a voice of reason in defeating bad legislation.

What bill that passed in the last General Assembly would you have voted against and why, or what bill that was not passed in the last General Assembly do you wish had passed and why?

I honestly struggle with Tennessee's silence on the issue of transgender bathrooms and locker rooms, especially in our schools. While North Carolina took a beating in the press for its "bathroom bill," the states surrounding it said nothing on the issue. This is not something that should be controversial. Women and men are biologically different. Gender is not an idea. It is a scientific reality. During last year's session, yet another piece of legislation died regarding the issue. That bill would have allowed the Tennessee Attorney General to legally represent any local education agency or employee if they designate public bathrooms “for use based only on ones biological sex." I believe this is a bill the Family Action Council supported and one I would have liked to have seen pass as well.