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TN, Special Election, Tennessee House of Representatives , District 29  

DeAngelo Jelks (D) *

Greg Vital (R) *****

Tennessee, Special Election – Tennessee House of Representatives, 29th District

DeAngelo Jelks, Democrat

Greg Vital, Republican

A special election for Tennessee House of Representatives District 29 has been called for September 14, 2021. The seat became vacant after the death of Mike Carter (R) on May 15, 2021.  Both the Democratic primary election (with Jelks as the only candidate) and the Republican primary election (with Vital as the only candidate) will be held on July 27, 2021.

Recommendation: Recommend Greg Vital who is a conservative Republican, wants to keep taxes low, opposes Critical Race Theory, and is 100% pro-life, believing that life is a sacred gift from God.

DeAngelo Jelks (D): Do Not Recommend

            Overall Rating: 16.6%

            Big Government/Small Government Rating: Big 69%; Small 31%

            Christian World View Rating: Christian 7%; Secular 93%


40 years old


Lives in Ooltewah

Works in human resources as a recruiter

Veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom; is currently a Captain in the US Army Reserve

Bachelor of Science, 2004-2007, The University of Georgia

Masters, Business, Entrepreneurship, American Military University, 2016-2018 

Big Government/Small Government 

Budget, Spending, and Taxes          Possible Score 30       Total Score 24

Our state government has a large surplus budget, and I am committed to working so that more state funds are allocated to our public schools, so we can ensure that all Tennessee children receive a quality education. (24)

Business and Consumers                  Possible Score 20       Total Score 12

Economic Opportunity – People who work for a living ought to earn a living. As the cost of living rises, we must ensure that pay does as well. But economic development is not limited to pay increases. As new companies enter East Tennessee at an increasing rate, we must provide Tennesseans with the education and skills necessary to take these job opportunities. Through his career within human resources, DeAngelo has seen the disconnect between job opportunities and talent, and believes that the government has a job to make sure that a skilled workforce attracts job-creating companies to Tennessee. (12)

Conservative                                      Possible Score 30       Total Score 21

Believes the issues affecting Tennesseans are fundamental rights issues that require a “common sense” candidate and a fresh voice aspiring for non-partisan solutions. Will focus on “non-partisan issues” affecting Tennessee residents, including community input and transparency, government cooperation and infrastructure. “The basic needs of people are non-partisan,” Jelks said. “It’s time we focus at every level of government, to work together to invest in all our citizens, ensuring the needs of the majority and the minority.” (21)

Other                                                  Possible Score 20       Total Score 12 

We all want to make sure that our government is working for us: that we all have access to quality health care; that our communities have the infrastructure they need; and that all our children have quality education, ensuring a bright future.  (9)

Education – Every child, no matter where they live, deserves the right to dream. School facilities across our state should receive a fair and equal distribution of state and local funding so every school can provide our children with the tools to turn those dreams into reality. Our state government has a large surplus budget, and DeAngelo will work to see more state funds allocated to our public schools, so we can ensure that each child’s dreams are attainable. (16) 

Infrastructure – As our District grows, so do our infrastructure needs. All of our communities deserve reliable internet access; roads and bridges to get us safely where we need to be; and wastewater treatment to keep our water safe from bacteria and disease.  Some lawmakers claim we can’t afford to repair our infrastructure, while giving huge tax breaks to big business and the wealthy. DeAngelo will support investments to maintain and modernize our infrastructure, improve Tennesseans’ quality of life while creating new jobs and business opportunities. (8)

Health Care – Every Tennessean should have access to high-quality health care. COVID-19 has shown the cracks in our healthcare system that existed prior to the pandemic. Some politicians have failed to invest in our healthcare, so much that Tennessee now leads the nation in hospital closures and bankruptcies, while trailing the country in our resident’s health. We must expand Medicaid so that all Tennesseans can see a doctor. DeAngelo will fight to expand access to care for our residents and ensure that no hard-working Tennessean goes without the life-saving care they deserve. (17)

Our state legislature has refused to expand Medicaid, leaving numerous Tennesseans without access to quality, affordable health care.  We must expand access to care for our residents and ensure that no hard-working Tennessean goes without the life-saving care they deserve. (17)

With an increasing demand for skilled trade and, at the same time, an increased cost of college tuition, it is time we invest in trade schools. We must provide Tennesseans with the education and skills necessary to take new job opportunities. (6)

Critical Race Theory – American history is a resource we can learn from. It’s not a closet of skeletons to hide, or a pool of shame to wallow in. We don’t need to legislate American history. We just need to teach it accurately and objectively. Americans, we can look at our history critically, without believing we are personally to blame. (11)

Christian World View

Abortion                                             Possible Score 40       Total Score 4

Family Values                                    Possible Score 30       Total Score 3 

Legalization of Cannabis – “I don’t use it, but I never saw a reason for it to be illegal.” (3)

Marriage                                            Possible Score 30       Total Score 0

Post on his Facebook Page – “#loveislove” (0)   

Greg Vital (R): Recommend  

            Overall Rating: 79.2%

Big Government/Small Government Rating: Big 16%; Small 84%

            Christian World View Rating: Christian 76%; Secular 24% 


Married with two children

Lives in Georgetown

1996 – Present – Chairman, president and co-founder of Morning Pointe Senior Living and Independent HealthCare properties. He serves on the First Horizon Bank Board and is board chairman for The Land Trust for Tennessee.

In 2012, Vital, a former Collegedale city commissioner who now lives in Georgetown, battled fellow Republican Todd Gardenhire of Chattanooga in a costly, tight and brutal GOP primary battle in Senate District 10. Gardenhire emerged as victor, winning 50.1% of the vote and then coasting to victory during the general election in the majority Republican district.

Bachelor of Science, Business Administration, Southern Adventist University 

Big Government/Small Government 

Budget, Spending, and Taxes          Possible Score 30       Total Score 3 

Is committed to the conservative principles that make Tennessee a national leader in fiscal stewardship. (3)

Cutting Taxes and Eliminating Regulations – Tennessee is among the least taxed states in America, and Greg will fight to make sure it stays that way. As a businessman, Greg knows that the key to economic success and increased opportunities for Tennesseans is keeping taxes low. Starting with just a plan and the last paycheck from his former employer, Greg built a successful first-class senior care company because of Tennessee’s business-friendly policies. He supports the responsible work of our state leaders to pass fiscally conservative budgets and eliminate burdensome regulations that hold Tennesseans and businesses back. In the General Assembly, Greg will continue to work for lower taxes so that large and small businesses can grow and create more opportunities for Tennesseans, and our economy can continue to strengthen. (3)  

Business and Consumers                  Possible Score 20       Total Score 4 

Jobs – One issue on everyone’s mind is, “What about the jobs? “With the new economic corridor running down I-75, there are more opportunities than ever, but it isn’t simply an issue of creating business. We also have to be dedicated to getting our people in those businesses. This means leveraging our resources to grow responsibly. It also means presenting our local people with chances to train and be educated for the jobs that are available. The idea that the thriving businesses in our communities will hire local workers cannot be taken for granted, and Greg has the experience necessary to provide an infrastructure that will create real, lasting jobs. The belief in hard work and free-enterprise are core values for Greg. Everyone deserves the chance to work an honest job for an honest wage. Greg understands that and has been dedicated to providing these kinds of jobs for years. As Senator, Greg will put that experience to work for the entire 10th District. (5)

Champions property rights and opposes the abusive use of eminent domain. (3)

Growing our Economy – Tennessee is a national economic leader, and Chattanooga plays a critical role in strengthening our economy. Greg knows that Hamilton County is an excellent place to create jobs and grow a business because he’s done it here. Greg co-founded Morning Pointe Senior Living 25 years ago, which now operates more than 35 care centers across five Mid-South states, employing more than 900 people across Tennessee – 400 in Hamilton County – with its headquarters in Ooltewah, in the heart District 29. He is committed to continuing Tennessee’s economic success by preserving and improving the business-friendly policies that create jobs and bring companies to our state. That means eliminating costly and burdensome regulations so that our businesses can expand and enshrining the right to work in Tennessee’s Constitution. Additionally, as a strong proponent for community colleges and vocational education programs, Greg will continue his and Governor Lee’s efforts to expand workforce development programs in Tennessee. Our community colleges and vocational education programs are vital to ensuring Tennessee’s workforce is prepared for 21st Century jobs. Greg will also use his business experience in the General Assembly to push for a fiscally conservative budget that gets the government out of the way, allows small businesses to thrive, strengthens our workforce and creates new opportunities for all Tennesseans to succeed. (3) 

Conservative                                      Possible Score 30       Total Score 5 

Is a conservative Republican (3)

Limited Government – Greg believes in limited government. The purpose of the government is to make it possible for hardworking Americans to achieve their dreams, not to over-regulate and spend taxpayer money irresponsibly. Greg understands this because he has seen first hand, the American Dream. As Senator, Greg would work to give this same chance to everyone who wants to succeed. As a business man, Greg understands that low taxes and a sound fiscal policy will result in more jobs and an improved economy for the state of Tennessee. The most effective government is the one that is closest to the people, and Greg is listening. (4) 

Vial has contributed to:

  • Douglas Lanborn (R) for Congress (6)
  • Bill Haslam (R) (twice) (9)
  • Mark Green (R) for Congress (4)
  • Bob Corker (R) (twice) (10)
  • Randy Boyd (R) for Governor (three times) (9)
  • Beth Harwell (R) (6)
  • Timothy A. Gobble (R) (6)
  • Scott Desjarlais (R) (twice) (3)
  • Republican Party of Tennessee (6)
  • National Republican Congressional Committee (twice) (6)

House Republicans have been knocking doors in the district on Vital’s behalf. (4) 

Other                                                  Possible Score 20       Total Score 4 

Education – No one denies that education is important. The future of our great state is directly tied to the children going through our school systems. Children deserve the best teachers and our educators and education systems deserve our absolute support. But at the end of the day, it’s not what we spend on education, but how we prepare students for jobs that matters. The issue is not one of money, but one of efficiency. While Tennessee boasts an 85% graduation rate, only 15% of High School graduates pass the 4 Core and ACT. This means a shortage of workers that are prepared for post education and jobs. Times are hard on every funded program, and the need to figure out how to get the job done in our schools is at the top of the list. As your Senator, Greg would provide the needed vision to help our schools, not to simply raise more money, but to graduate more students that are prepared to become Tennessee’s next great citizens. (1)

Health Care/Senior Issues -The entire country is talking about health care issues, and no one understands these crucial issues more than Greg Vital. In 1996, Greg founded Morning Pointe Assisted Living to care for seniors suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Greg saw a real need he could fill in the aging population, and in filling that need, he started a company that has brought over 850 new jobs into the industry. As the national debate on health care heats up, District 10 needs a Senator who can truly understand the issues and address them in a real way. Greg not only has a real knowledge of the health care system, but he has the heart and passion to serve those in need. (6)

Guns and the 2nd Amendment – Greg received his first gun at age 14. Since then, he has owned shotguns, rifles and handguns. He enjoys shooting, and believes that the right to own guns should be enjoyed by any eligible, responsible citizen in the state of Tennessee. With Greg Vital as Senator, your 2nd Amendment rights will be protected. Period. (3)

Resource Conservation – Tennessee is blessed with many natural resources. As a conservative, Greg knows that important watersheds like the Hiwassee and Tennessee River need to be protected. This is a quality of life issue, and throughout his career, Greg has done all he can to promote economic growth while at the same time being mindful of protecting farmlands and other resources that are crucial to the Tennessee Valley. As Senator, Greg would take his experience and work to capitalize on our growing industry while respecting and preserving the natural resources that make Tennessee unique and vibrant. (4)

Preserving the Second Amendment – Our Founding Fathers were clear when they wrote the Constitution – especially when it comes to the Second Amendment. Greg believes it is vital that we preserve the Second Amendment. He applauded the General Assembly’s work to make Tennessee a Second Amendment sanctuary state. Greg also supported the General Assembly’s work to allow Tennessee to join the 18 other states allowing constitutional carry. As your Representative, Greg will always defend the Second Amendment and the rights of law-abiding Tennesseans to protect themselves. (3)

Maintaining Tennessee’s Lands – Greg is passionate about Tennessee’s great outdoors and open spaces. This passion has led him to be the current chairman of the Land Trust for Tennessee and former chairman of the National Parks Conservation Association. Greg protected his 300-acre farm in Georgetown – including the well-known Vital Buffalo Farm – in 2006 as part of the Land Trust for Tennessee’s first conservation easement in Southeast Tennessee. In 2019, he protected additional land when he and his neighbors partnered to conserve 114-acres of farmland in the Harrison community. In the General Assembly, Greg will continue to champion property rights and oppose the abusive use of eminent domain. Greg will always work to keep our land and open spaces pristine for generations to come. (4)

Keeping Elections Fair – Greg knows we must protect the integrity of our electoral system and stop voting irregularities. The right to vote and lawfully participate in the democratic process is one of our most sacred rights as American citizens. Greg is committed to protecting our elections so that all Tennesseans are confident in our electoral process and results. Greg will continue working to secure our electoral process in the General Assembly and ensure that all Tennessee elections are free and fair. (3)

Educating Tennessee’s Future – For Tennessee to remain successful for years to come, we must ensure that our students receive the best education possible. Greg is committed to making sure our schools have the teachers, funds and resources they need to build up the next generation of Tennesseans. He supports the General Assembly’s school choice initiatives because no parent should be forced to send their child to a failing school. He also supported the General Assembly’s effort to ban Critical Race Theory (CRT) from being taught in our schools. Our children should be given the tools they need to create opportunities and achieve the American dream, not taught Democratic propaganda. Additionally, Greg is committed to the education required to succeed in business. In the General Assembly, Greg will continue his long commitment to ensure our community colleges and vocational education programs have the resources they need to prepare Tennessee’s workforce for future jobs. An exceptional workforce is critical to ensuring Tennessee remains a national economic leader. (4)

Supporting our Law Enforcement – Our law enforcement officers risk their lives every day to keep our communities safe. Greg has the most profound appreciation and respect for their sacrifice to protect Tennesseans and our families. As your Representative, Greg will do everything in his power to support our law enforcement officers and keep fighting to ensure they have the resources needed to do their jobs safely. He will strongly oppose any initiatives seeking to defund the police. Greg is committed to standing firmly in support of those on the thin blue line. (1)

Supporting our Veterans and Military Leaders – The brave men and women serving in the American Armed Forces risk their lives to protect freedom here and abroad, and they deserve all of our support. As the son of a World War II veteran, who fought in seven major invasions in the Pacific theatre, Greg understands that freedom isn’t free. That’s why he continues to help our local American heroes as a board member for the National Medal of Honor Heritage Center in Chattanooga. In the General Assembly, Greg will do everything within his power to support our active-duty military members, veterans and their families. We must ensure that our American heroes are well-equipped and have all the resources they need to successfully complete their missions and return to civilian life. (4)

Maintaining our Infrastructure – Our roads, bridges and waterways are vital to Tennessee’s economy. Hamilton County, especially, is a transportation hub – our infrastructure must be up-to-date and compatible with the technology driving businesses today and in years to come. In order for Hamilton County to compete with the rest of an increasingly digital world, we must ensure that all of our residents have access to quality broadband internet services. Greg knows that broadband access can make or break the success of communities, and he will continue to fight to ensure more access is available so that they can be successful. Greg will also continue to ensure our roadways and waterways are fixed and repaired in the General Assembly. (9)

Fixing our Immigration System – Due to failed policies and lack of leadership, there is a humanitarian crisis at our southern border which has allowed violent criminals like MS-13 gang members, sex offenders, drug traffickers, human traffickers and terrorists into the country. Now, every town in America has become a border town. To help solve this crisis, Greg believes we must continue to build the wall at our southern border and enforce our immigration laws to the fullest extent. He supports the General Assembly and Governor Bill Lee’s efforts to keep our communities safe and will continue their efforts as your Representative. Greg is committed to doing everything within his power to help fix our broken immigration system and keep our communities safe. (3)   

Christian World View

Abortion                                             Possible Score 40       Total Score 29

2021 Position – Protecting the Right to Life – Greg is 100 percent pro-life and is committed to being a voice for our most vulnerable – the unborn. Greg knows that a child is the most precious gift given by God. He is committed to fighting so that all Tennesseans – born and unborn – are valued and have a chance to live and grow. He was proud of the General Assembly and Governor Bill Lee’s work to get the heartbeat bill signed into law. In the General Assembly, Greg will be a strong voice for the voiceless because he knows that all life is sacred and God-given. (38)

In his 2012 race for the Tennessee House, Vital declined to return a candidate survey to Tennessee Right to Life and was quoted as being “uncertain” in his views on the protection of human life. (20) 

Family Values                                    Possible Score 30       Total Score 27 

Ending Human Trafficking – According to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, 94 girls are trafficked in Tennessee on an average weekend. That is especially prevalent in Chattanooga with the connection of so many highways and roadways. Greg believes that human trafficking is one of the most heinous and cowardly crimes to commit. The General Assembly and Governor Lee have taken significant steps to end human trafficking, but more must be done. In office, Greg will work with our local shelters and non-profits to ensure they have the resources they need to help those in need, and he will fight to end human trafficking in Tennessee. (27) 

Marriage                                            Possible Score 30       Total Score 20