What We are Thankful For

November 25, 2015 10:11AM


Justin Owen, CEO

I am thankful for Tennesseans who are willing to make their voices heard on issues important to them. This past year, many Tennesseans stood with Beacon in support of freedom, both for themselves, as well as others they don’t even know. Amanda Wilcox fought for her own life, and every step of the way advocated for all Tennesseans to have the right to try experimental medicine despite the FDA telling them they can’t. You can read more about her story in Lindsay’s entry below. Marshall Shanks and Marilyn Johnson continue to fight for thousands of Tennessee children to have the same school choice opportunities as Marshall. Despite being given the gift of school choice 12 years ago, Marshall and Marilyn are still giving back so that others can receive the education they deserve. Tennesseans experience more freedom because those like Amanda, Marshall, and Marilyn stand up and speak out, and they don’t get paid to do it. We should all be thankful for their dedication.


Lindsay Boyd, Director of Policy

I am thankful that Tennesseans across our state who face the unimaginable fears of losing a father, mother, sibling, child, or friend to a terminal condition might extend the time they can spend with their loved one thanks to the passage of the Phil Timp-Amanda Wilcox Right to Try Act. Phil and Amanda’s stories are powerful bookends to the challenges that many face when diagnosed with a Stage IV condition: Phil tragically lost his battle with ALS as he pushed for expanded access to experimental treatments still working their way through the FDA approval process, while Amanda overcame the odds to beat back the most advanced stage of colon cancer this year, get engaged and married, and serve as an example of the immeasurable value that an ability to simply hope can have in someone’s life. Fortunately, patients across Tennessee like Phil and Amanda will no longer be prevented from seeking access to treatments still pending FDA approval that could make a meaningful difference in their lives and those who love them.


Mark Cunningham, Director of Communications

On this Thanksgiving, I am thankful for the supporters of Insure Tennessee. This may seem particularly odd coming from someone who adamantly opposed the program, but their hearts were in the right place even though they had the wrong policy prescription. Let me reiterate that while they had the incorrect answer to a serious problem, groups and people like the Tennessee Justice Center, Chamber of Commerce, and Governor Haslam supported the bill because they truly care about the uninsured. But instead of looking backwards at a plan that failed, we hope that supporters of Insure Tennessee will work with us to find real solutions that focus more on care and less on mere coverage, such as Direct Primary Care and the repeal of Certificate of Need laws.


Braden Boucek, Director of Litigation

I’m thankful that the “desire to make it” can’t be crushed. After another whole year of more annoying laws that only make it harder on people to get ahead, somehow Tennessee entrepreneurs, from Fred Smith to Rick Ross, continue to knock it out. Whether it’s making Tennessee whiskey (and calling it that), opening up another Wing Stop, or washing people’s freaking hair, our state and local governments work way too hard to make it difficult for us to just earn a living. The state of Tennessee should pay attention to following quote and stop getting in the way.

“Ambition is priceless. It’s something that’s in your veins. And I put that on my name.”

-Rick Ross


Sam Cosby, Director of Development

I am thankful for the hundreds of financial supporters who prioritize sound, free market principles in their charitable giving. There are many nonprofit organizations worth supporting, and so it is exciting to see an ever-increasing number of people sharing Beacon’s vision for an economically free Tennessee. It is only because of our generous donors that Beacon can effectively empower Tennesseans to reclaim control of their lives, so that they can freely pursue their version of the American Dream.