A guide to voting in Tennessee

On Nov. 6, America will once again partake in the great democratic ideal and hold a nationwide vote to determine whether or not Republicans will retain their control of the House of Representatives and the Senate. From the Democratic party we’ve heard hopeful talk of a “blue wave” coming to wrest full control of Congress from their Republican adversaries.

If a blue wave should occur, it would most likely mean that Democrats gain control of the Senate, as the Republicans currently only hold a majority by one seat. In the House of Representatives, it will be harder for Democrats to gain control, as there are 235 Republicans to 193 Democrats, meaning they would need to win at least 42 seats to gain control of the entire congress.

Many states are also holding elections for governors, Tennessee included, and these races will also determine a great deal of how states determine policy going forward.

Though Maryville College is home to students from across the country, for the purposes of this article we’ll be examining the candidates for the major races in East Tennessee, which include candidates for governor: Democrat Karl Dean, and Republican Bill Lee, and candidates for Senate: Republican Marsha Blackburn and Democrat Phil Bredesen.

Karl Dean is a former mayor of Nashville running in the Democratic party with a platform centered on education, jobs, and healthcare. Dean’s main thrust with education is the improvement of teacher salaries and ensuring public schools get the funding they need. His points on jobs include improving infrastructure within Tennessee and attracting businesses to the state. As regards healthcare, Dean has pledged to fight the opioid crisis and ensure rural hospitals receive proper funding to prevent their closure.

Bill Lee is a businessman from Franklin, Tennessee that employs over 1200 workers in the state that bring in an annual 215 million dollars for the state. Lee bills himself as a man of faith that will focus on issues important to rural Tennessee, including fighting the opioid crisis and economic development.

As concerns the senate race, Marsha Blackburn is veteran of the House of Representatives, and wants to move to the senate out of a belief that it’s currently broken and needs fixing. She’s a Tennessee native and is running on a platform for strong foreign policy and national defense and a tax cuts at the federal level. Blackburn has also pledged to fight the opioid crisis.

Phil Bredesen is a former governor of Tennessee originally from New Jersey. Bredesen is running his campaign centered on economics, healthcare, and education. As governor, Bredesen helped create 200,000 jobs in the state and brought in 34 billion dollars in business investments.

He hopes to put this experience to use in the senate. He also believes access to healthcare is a paramount issue concerning Tennesseans, and will fight to ensure proper funding is allocated to accomplish this goal. Public education and workforce development are Bredesen’s chief educational platforms.

Though it’s easy to become inundated and grow tired of the constant stream of political ads and controversies, we should take Nov. 7 as a time to remember what’s truly special about our nation and count the blessings we have in our country. To vote is truly a sacred duty as an American citizen, and far too many people around the world pine for the luxury we have in this country.

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