Know who you are voting for today: The candidates and their platforms

Midterm elections have begun for national, state and city positions. While political ads have been running for months, some voters may still not feel confident about what the candidates’ stances are on issues that affect them. What follows is a brief crash course on the names that will appear on your ballot today.

Tennessee’s own governor is up for election this year, with two candidates securing the majority of public interest: Republican Bill Lee and Democrat Karl Dean. Dean is running on a platform dedicated to expanding Medicaid and improving state-wide education by “increasing teacher pay, investing in high quality, early childhood education, expanding afterschool program opportunities and ensuring all school districts get the resources they need,” according to his website.

Lee, his opponent, is running on a platform of people-oriented change.

“Instead of growing more government programs, let’s return to our founders’ vision of ‘we the people,’ a government run by citizens with a vested interest and connection to the community, not career politicians who have made politics their way of life,” his website says.

With an open seat in the U.S. Senate after Bob Corker’s absence, Marsha Blackburn vies for the spot as a Republican, and Democrat Phil Bredesen is campaigning against her.

Bredesen’s platform focuses on lowering the cost of health care and increasing the standards of education in America, and his website says his “bipartisan style has garnered widespread support among Democrats and Republicans looking for thoughtful leadership.”

Blackburn is running on a platform dedicated to defending the country’s borders, combating the opioid epidemic and cutting taxes for those who need them. Her website says she is “a conservative with a record of accomplishment. She gets things done […].”

For the House of Representatives, one seat is up for election in Elizabethton, with Democrat Marty Olson and Republican Phil Roe campaigning against each other for it.

Johnson City native Marty Olson said he decided to run for Congress based on his views on healthcare.

His website says “As a physician, I feel bound to support access to health care for all people. So when the House voted to summarily cut millions of people from access to healthcare, I not only felt this was thoughtless and cruel, but it flew in the face of everything I stand for.”

Republican Phil Roe’s website describes his stances on a variety of topics, including enforcement of current immigration laws, defending the Second Amendment and the replacement of Obamacare with “patient-centered health reforms that will improve access to care, lower costs, and improve quality.”

For the immediate local elections, five candidates vie for four open positions for city councilmen, including Richard M. Barker, William E. “Bill” Carter, Wesley Frazier, Michael Simerly and Richard Tester.

Elizabethton’s School Board has two open positions in this year’s election, with Tyler Fleming, Danny O’Quinn, Susan Peters and Eddie Pless campaigning to fill them. The Star recently published a Q&A with each of the four in its weekend edition on November 4. Readers can also find the Q&A online.

For Johnson City readers, two city commissioner positions are open with five candidates to fill them, including David Adams, Jenny Brock, Jeff Clark, William “Bud” Hill Jr. and John Hunter.

An unexpired term position on the Johnson City school board is open for election, and Kenneth Herb Greenlee and Paula Treece campaign to fill the spot.

Further details on how and where to vote can be found on Tennessee’s website and on their mobile app.

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