BY ALEXANDER WILLIS
Ahead of the midterm elections on November 6, the Home Page spoke with the two candidates running for the U.S. Senate representing Tennessee, Republican Marsha Blackburn and Democrat Phil Bredesen.
The two candidates are close according to polling data, and with Democrats only needing two seats to take majority in the Senate, this race has drawn national attention.
Marsha Blackburn has served on the House of Representatives representing Tennessee’s 7th congressional district since 2003, and announced her run for Senate in October 2017.
Blackburn said she believes the American people are frustrated by the current U.S. Senate, and that what Tennesseans want to see is a secure border, more tax cuts, and an end to chain migration, sanctuary city policies, and the visa lottery system.
“The senate is dysfunctional,” Blackburn said. “They are not getting the job done, they’re a source of frustration for the American people, and I am going there to be a force for positive, conservative change.”
The GOP tax bill that was passed in December of 2017 saw the federal corporate income tax drop from 35 to 21 percent, and most American’s income tax drop by 3 to 4 percent.
Critics have argued that because the corporate tax cuts are permanent, while most of the individual tax cuts are set to expire in 2025, corporations will be the major beneficiaries of the bill. Proponents say the corporate tax cuts put the United States more in line with other nations competitively.
Blackburn spoke highly of the tax bill, saying Tennesseans would like to see the cuts taken further.
“Those have worked very well in Tennessee,” Blackburn said of the tax cuts. “[Tennesseans] want to see more tax cuts. My opponent, Phil Bredesen, has said that he would have voted no on the tax cuts, and he called them crumbs. That is not something that [Tennesseans] agree with. They want to keep the tax cuts, and they want to see tax cuts 2.0.”
In addition to numerous tax cuts, the bill also saw the removal of the individual mandate on the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
Blackburn said she was in favor of the removal of the individual mandate, saying many people couldn’t afford to buy an Obamacare compliant plan.
“We had 160,000 Tennessee families that were forced to pay the penalty,” Blackburn said. “They had to write the IRS a check and pay a penalty because they could not afford to buy the Obamacare insurance. The thing that is so bad about that, 100,000 of those families had joint-household incomes of $50,000 or less, and they’re being forced to pay a penalty because they couldn’t afford to buy something.”
“This is the reason that we removed that mandate, and it is the reason in 2019 it is going to be gone,” she said, “because people want to buy an insurance product they can afford, and that is going to meet their needs.”
Blackburn was also in favor of President Trump’s pick for Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh, calling him a “solid pick.”
“I think that he deserves to be on the Supreme Court,” Blackburn said. “He is an outstanding jurist, he has a good reputation, is highly regarded by other jurists, and he will be a good addition.”
Blackburn was more critical of President Trump’s handling of the U.S. – Russia Summit, in which critics argued the President was “too soft” on Russian President Vladimir Putin amidst continued investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Blackburn said she “would like to have seen the President be more forceful.”
“I’m one of those that would have liked to see him be more forceful,” Blackburn said. “Putin is not our friend – we all know that.”
Alexandria Cortez is a Democratic Socialist from New York who recently won the Democratic Primary in New York’s 14th Congressional District. Some have described it as a major upset.
Blackburn called the rise in popularity of socialism amongst millennials as an “unfortunate trend,” and says she thinks the trend “is a reason of why so many young people are moving toward the Republican Party.”
“I think it’s unfortunate that [Cortez] won that race in New York,” Blackburn said. “We all read about millennials that are attracted to socialism, and do not understand the importance of having the freedoms and the rights that we all enjoy. It is a frightening thought to think about the acceptance of socialism as something that would be preferred.”
Blackburn described the ongoing opioid crisis in the United States as “a heartbreaking scourge,” and said it needs to be fixed.
“It is heartbreaking,” Blackburn said. “It affects everybody, every family, every group of friends… this is just something that is so pervasive in our society. We need to fix this. We need to do everything we can to end this opioid epidemic.”
Midterm elections will be held on Tuesday, November 6. For voting locations and details click here.