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Reader seeks 1st Congressional candidate debate

To the Editor:
While most people are preoccupied with who should be elected president in the upcoming election, I urge voters to consider carefully who should replace Phil Roe as East Tennessee’s representative to the House of Representatives. This is a very important decision as whoever is elected will likely hold the office for quite a while. Jimmy Quillen represented the First District of Tennessee more than 30 years. Yet, do you even know who is running? What do we know about the candidates’ positions on important issues like affordable health care, the pandemic, livable wages in our area, gun rights, and policy protecting our air and water, support for veterans, and more? It is enough to base your vote on party affiliation alone? Which is more important, supporting Trump first and foremost or finding solutions to complex problems, even it it means both parties working together?
The candidates are Blair Walsingham and Diana Harshbarger but we know little about either one of them.
I challenge the newspapers, television stations, colleges and others in our area who care about informed voting to sponsor a debate between Blair Walsingham and Diana Harshbarger. A debate is the best way for voters to compare the candidates and decide who would do a better job representing the people of East Tennessee.
I challenge my fellow citizens of East Tennessee to inform the candidates that we need them to appear together and debate. No vote should be taken for granted.
The election is rapidly approaching but there is still time for at least one debate. Voters, let’s do what we can as individuals to contact the candidates and the local press to make this happen.

Sincerely yours,
Judy Simms