Black, from Hendersonville, said three people had a great influence on her as a girl. Those were her father and mother, who taught her to “never give up, work hard and always be true to your Christian values.”
The third person who greatly influenced her was a high school counselor who showed her that it was possible for her to go to college even though her family was poor.
Black became a nurse and also became a businesswoman and educator. She said she first got involved in government when she was working as an emergency room nurse.
“I saw what was happening under TennCare, how we were spending too much money and not giving people quality care,” Black said.
She was elected to the Tennessee House of Representatives at the time when Gov. Don Sundquist was working to get a state income tax passed.
State Sen. Rusty Crowe, who represents Carter County, joined with Black in discussing those difficult days, which ended with Sundquist’s income tax proposal defeated. She said that has shown to be a very good result for the city, which is now enjoying prosperity.
Black later joined Crowe in the Tennessee Senate. In 2010, she was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. She became the only Tennessee representative to serve as chairwoman of the House Budget Committee.
During Monday’s meeting, she told the Carter Countians that she would begin her administration with three main goals. Those include: fighting the opioid problem, helping rural areas and ensuring an educated workforce for Tennessee.
Black said her nurse’s background and problems in her husband’s family has made her realize the importance of solving the opioid problem.
She said there are three steps to take in solving the problem. She said the first is the preventive leg, with such measures as providing good education.
The second is to make sure law enforcement has the powers to combat opioid challenges. The third is a recovery program for those who are trying to recover their lives after being addicted.
Black also listed three areas that need to be improved to keep the rural areas economically viable. She said those include fast Internet service, good roads and education.
The last item on Black’s list is an educated work force. She said a renewed emphasis must be placed in the high schools to teach career and technical education.