MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - This election cycle has been anything but normal with record-breaking turn-out in the midst of a pandemic.
Also, two fairly unknown candidates vying for Senator Lamar Alexander’s seat in the U.S. Senate.
“Our campaign is going really, really well. I think voters are responding to our message about jobs, our economy and American freedom greater than ever before,” said Republican nominee Bill Hagerty.
Hagerty is a businessman that was recently appointed to the White House Economic taskforce.
“We have so many counties in our state that do not have ERs or even hospitals and so a lot of people are concerned about healthcare. They’re concerned about education. They’re concerned about conservation,” said Democratic nominee Marquita Bradshaw.
Hagerty and Bradshaw have two very different approaches when it comes to COVID-19, arguably the biggest issue facing Tennessee.
“We need a plan that includes healthcare for all. Everyone can go to the doctor without being afraid of having a big bill. No matter who you are right now you need to have health care to be able to get to the other side of COVID,” said Bradshaw.
There have been over 250,000 cases of the novel coronavirus in Tennessee with a 11.4% positivity rate and an anticipated wave of new cases that could send more Tennesseeans to local hospitals and face a new financial hardship.
“Certainly I don’t want to see another person get COVID-19. We need to put this pandemic behind us, but we have to do it in a way to keep our economy moving forward. These states that shut down completely are holding our numbers down,” said Hagerty.
The U.S. unemployment rate is 7.9%. Tennessee’s unemployment rate is 6.3%.
Hagerty points to Tennessee being one of the last states to shut down and one of the first to re-open as a testament to why the volunteer state is doing so much better. Hagerty and Bradshaw also have different opinions on how to help get Tennessee’s economy growing.
Bradshaw wants more government, offering additional wrap-around services to small businesses to help them get on their feet. Hagerty wants less government with things like regulatory reform, such as shortening the permitting timeline for big infrastructure projects to help kickstart the economy.
West Tennesseeans having to make a big decision about who to represent them in Washington, D.C.
“I certainly hope to earn their vote, a businessman, someone who understands jobs and the economy, a father, a Christian, an eagle scout. I want to earn every vote in Tennessee whether a democrat, independent or republican," said Hagerty.
“I’m still doing what I do, going out and meeting voters where they are and getting them involved and excited about this election and getting ready to make history as the first African American United States senator of the great state of Tennessee," said Bradshaw.