Air Force veteran Chris Rowe announces congressional bid

The 2020 elections are just a year and a half away, and potential candidates around the country are preparing their campaigns for the road ahead. For East Tennessee, yesterday was their turn.

Air Force veteran and East Tennessee native Chris Rowe spoke at Sycamore Shoals State Park yesterday to announce his campaign to run for the U.S. House of Representatives in Tennessee’s first district.

Rowe said he is facing steep odds: the first district has not had a Democrat in the seat in roughly a century.

He said his vision for America came from a visit to his parents a few years ago.

“When I saw my dad, it was like I was looking at a different man,” Rowe said.

He said recent illness and the inability to afford the medical assistance he needed had damaged his ability to live. It took Rowe’s entire family to keep his dad afloat. After that, he said it was time to make a difference.

“It’s only through my entire family coming together to support him that he isn’t homeless today,” Rowe said in a press release. “I will not sit idly by as another family suffers such injustice.”

Rowe outlined three major points around which to focus his campaign: health care, the environment and education.

He said he is a supporter of universal health care.

“We are one of the few developed countries without universal health care,” Rowe said. “The health care system in this country is rigged to bleed people dry.”

In terms of education, he said the lack of funding in school systems is a critical mistake, and he said vouchers for private and/or religious schools are not the answer.

“We have children growing up in underfunded school systems, then going on to college and taking on $40,000 or more in debts as they struggle to get just the most basic of qualifications to be competitive in the job market,” he said in the release. “It is insane and unsustainable.”

Beyond his three points, however, Rowe said none of his goals are reachable unless America works together to achieve them.

“We hear a lot about making America great and putting America first,” Rowe said. “I have not seen a lot of that. […] The government’s first duty should be to the people. We all need to roll up our sleeves and do the work that needs to be done.”

He said this servant role is what the people need to make progress.

“The more we elect people who care, the more we really start making America great.”

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