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Born and raised on a farm southwest of Red Oak, Joey Norris graduated from Red Oak High School in 2008.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from Iowa State University. While at Iowa State, Norris founded an engineering firm called Dream Forge LLC, an invention and product development company that helps entrepreneurs and small businesses realize their potential by bringing their ideas to life.. He later brought the company back to Red Oak.
Norris has served as chair of the Montgomery County Democrats since 2017.
First off, thank you for the opportunity to address the folks of Ringgold County.
When doing my “Every Community, Every Voice” Tour, I stopped in Mt. Ayr, Diagonal, Tingley, Ellston, Redding, Blockton, and your Taylor neighbor Clearfield. I think it is important to make myself available to folks with questions and concerns. Thank you for your hospitality!
Priority #1: Broadband. High-speed internet isn’t a silver bullet, we can’t build it and guarantee folks will flock to our rural communities, but it will be a critical piece of infrastructure for the next generation. I’m an engineer by profession and believe we need every possible tool in our toolbox to address our rural decline, and broadband is one of those tools. I have proven leadership on this issue as I lead the charge in Montgomery County to get us on track to be the first county in the state to have dedicated fiber-optics to every home and business in the county. Our Montgomery County Development Corporation honored me with the “Excellence in Leadership Award” for my work on our fiber project. We have more work to do, but we can incentivize our local telecoms across Senate District 12 to see similar success as we have proven in Montgomery County.
Priority #2: Rural Hospitals. Our hospitals are often our largest employers in the community and they play a critical role in our local economies as well as our healthcare. CEO Gordon Winkler assures me it is not as devastating to the Ringgold County Hospital, but most of our rural hospitals are being eroded by the MCO-run privatization of Medicaid. I’ve talked with our hospital administrators and what I’ve learned is concerning. Money is being sent out of state to companies actively slowing down and gouging our citizens for healthcare services. Privatization has been more expensive, less timely, and has resulted in less coverage. Mark Costello voted for this change. Caring for our less fortunate, by and large elderly, population will never be profitable, but the last four years have proven that the State did a much better job than the Managed Care Organizations (MCOs). We must immediately return to a state-managed Medicaid program.
Priority #3: Leadership. We’ve seen over 20 years of population decline. We’re seeing our schools close and consolidate. We’re seeing our tax base evaporate. What we’re doing clearly isn’t working. Our rural communities cannot afford to perpetuate our absent leadership. I’ve called all of our superintendents in the district, Costello has not called a single one. I’ve called all of our Public Health Administrators, Costello has not called a single one. I’ve called all of our Economic Developers, Costello has not called a single one. We need to know where we are in order to understand where we need to go, and that understanding takes conversation, and it takes leadership.
The folks of Ringgold County have the opportunity to put people over politics and vote out an empty-suit, absent republican and support an active, community-involved democrat. We need change, now.