First District congressional primary is important contest

Published 3:37 pm Tuesday, July 14, 2020

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With the Tennessee Primary Election contest just days away, we can be sure of one thing, come August 6 there will be more losers than winners.
At last count there were 16 candidates seeking the First Congressional District Republican nomination — the first step in winning the seat being vacated by Phil Roe, who is retiring. Television is being bombarded by advertisements by the candidates. Among the leaders are John Clark, former Kingsport mayor; State Senator Rusty Crowe of Johnson City; former Johnson City mayor Steven Darden; Kingsport pharmacist Diana Harshbarger; Tennessee legislator Timothy Hill; and a Tennessee doctor, Josh Gapp. All tout their support for Donald Trump and as being “Trump people.”
Needless to say, Carter County and the First Congressional District are Trump Country, although the president’s coattail doesn’t seem to be as long in other parts of the country.
The race in recent days is becoming highly competitive…with leaders in the race not only touting support for Trump, but being pro-gun supporters, religious conservatives, people with business know-how and government experience, and some have touched on the racial divide, particularly the riots and protests which have marked the summer of 2020.
Tennessee as a whole is a Republican state, and the First District has always been Republican leaning. On the map, it is a red state. Is this good or bad?
One of the huge problems in Congress is that so many lawmakers come from politically lopsided districts. The lawmakers feel no need to reach across the aisle and seek reasonable agreements on the big issues.
This country is in a great divide as well as in a mess. Whoever goes to Washington in November will not have an easy job. We’re a nation that has health concerns, and we, no doubt, will still be grappling with COVID-19. Racial divides will continue to be an issue as will re-building the economy and the national debt. Also, we still will be dealing with the issue of educating the nation’s children during a pandemic that has left schools closed, perhaps more virtual learning, and how to make sure our children are not left behind.
The next congressman as well as dealing with national issues, that loom large, must still keep an eye on issues at home, which are just as important to the people who live here as are the nation’s issues. He or she must stay in touch with the people of this district and represent the people back home, not just be a politician who goes to Washington to continue his or her career and their interests or the interest of the Republican party. We need a congressman in Washington, not a politician. They must keep in mind, they are there to represent the people of this district — not lobbyists.
Thursday, August 6, is an important day. In fact, you might say it is “primary” important.
It’s a day that compels us as citizens to take part in our democratic process.
We do that by finding our way to our local polling place at some point between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. and casting our ballot.
This is an important election. In fact, we would make the argument that the elected positions up for grabs in the August primary in many ways have a greater effect on our everyday lives than the president.

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