John Oates of Hall and Oates performs in Spring Hill in support of congressional candidate Justin Kanew

John Oates of Hall and Oates performs in Spring Hill in support of congressional candidate Justin Kanew

PHOTO: Guitarist Todd Sharp (Left) and musician John Oates (Right) performing during the Justin Kanew fundraiser in Spring Hill Thursday // Photo by Alexander Willis


John Oates, of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame duo Hall and Oates, performed live at the UAW Hall in Spring Hill Thursday during a fundraising event for Democratic congressional candidate Justin Kanew.

PHOTO: Justin Kanew and his daughter on stage // Photo by Alexander Willis

Kanew is running for the U.S. House of Representatives representing Tennessee’s seventh congressional district against Republican Mark Green. The District 7 seat has been held by Marsha Blackburn since 2003, now vacated due to her campaign for U.S. Senate.

The fundraising event saw well over 100 attendees, and also featured the performances of Walter Egan, best known for his single “Magnet and Steel” from 1978, country musician Bill Lloyd, sister and music duo The Sisters Mann, and guitarist Todd Sharp, who has performed with Hall and Oates, Eric Clapton, Fleetwood Mac and more.

A.J. Holmes, the Democratic congressional candidate for District 64, also spoke at the event, praising Kanew’s campaign. District 64 encompasses Maury County, whereas District 7 encompasses Williamson County.

“I’m running because I saw an abhorrent lack of accessibility and accountability in our elected officials … I wanted to do something about it in Maury County,” Holmes said. “I’m running a common sense campaign focused on issues that affect working people, because for far too long, the middle class and below just keep getting pushed down.”

After a brief speech from Holmes, Kanew took center stage to much enthusiasm from the audience. Kanew’s young daughter followed him on stage, tugging at his pant legs.

“It’s actually perfect that she’s joining me right now, because people ask me, what’s my why,” Kanew said as his daughter stood by his side. “This is my why right here.”

One major idea Kanew has campaigned on is of health care being a right, not a privilege. Kanew has spoken in favor of expanding Medicaid, as well as accessible Medicare for all Tennesseans.

Kanew described to the audience an event where he had visited a Remote Area Medical event in Columbia. Remote Area Medical is a nonprofit organization that sets up remote medical facilities to provide free medical care to underserved and uninsured people.

“We went down there at 5 a.m. on a Saturday morning and there were about 250 families sleeping in that parking lot to see a doctor, because they couldn’t see a doctor any other way,” Kanew said. “Right here in our backyard, right here in the richest country in the world.”

Kanew stressed the idea that health coverage should be a nonpartisan issue, and said he would be willing to reach across the aisle and cooperate with Republicans.

“When I went around to everybody in that line and said I’m running for Congress, and I think you should be able to see a doctor, they didn’t say are you a Democrat or are you a Republican, they just said thank you,” Kanew said. “That’s exactly what this should be about – it should be about helping people, regardless of what letter is next to your name.”

Photo by Alexander Willis

“I genuinely believe the real dividing line in this country is not between Democrats and Republicans, it’s between special interests and the people,” Kanew said. “I think a big part of the reason that we can’t accomplish a lot of the things we all want to accomplish, is because of the special interests.”

Before the end of the night, Oates and Sharp performed a number of songs and were well received by the crowd.

“When we win in 20 days, the work will have only just begun,” Kanew said. “And we will continue to work this hard when we get into office on behalf of everybody in this district. I am not here to fight for healthcare for Democrats, and better wages for Democrats, and equal rights for Democrats. I’m here to fight for everybody in this district, and in this state.”

Early voting began on Wednesday, and will continue through November 1. For voting locations in Williamson County and further details, click here.

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