Senate Midterm Elections: What to expect? What to Do?

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Of the various midterm elections affecting Tennesseans this November, perhaps none have become as contentious or gained more national notoriety as the race for Senate.

Even with the registration process over for the November election, registered voters might not know how to cast their vote in the Senate.

It is important to be informed when casting your ballot in any election whether it is the presidential election or even the midterms.

What is important about the Senate exactly? The Senate is sometimes considered more powerful than the United States’ House of Representatives. The Senate has the power to review bills and treaties, propose legislation, and provide a judgment on the president’s administration such as the cabinet and supreme court justice appointment.

Tennessee’s two candidates for Senate are the former Republican Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, who wants to “get things done” as well as “fight for Tennessee families every day,” and former Democratic governor Phil Bredesen, running on his slogan of “tested and trusted.”

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bredesen_facebook_share.pngEducation:

Marsha Blackburn: From Blackburn’s campaign website, she stands by the experience and knowledge of teachers; going along with this she believes funding should be put towards the teachers in the school rather than principals or administrators.

Phil Bredesen: For Phil dealing with education is not a taboo subject for him. When he was governor, he made education his top priority and wanted to improve childhood education as well as expand teacher pay.

Health Care:

Marsha Blackburn: Blackburn has said she is against the Affordable Healthcare Act enacted under the Obama administration. She wants a privatized patient-centered system so that families and doctors can make their own healthcare decisions.

Phil Bredesen: Bredesen wants to expand long-term care options such as Medicare and Medicaid as well as offer programs to those in the state who are uninsured, and just wants to “work towards common sense solutions,” as described on his campaign website.

Gun Rights:

Marsha Blackburn: Blackburn believes in the second amendment, the right to bear arms, as the most important freedom in the United States. She wants to enact laws to prevent tragedies and support a citizen’s right to protect him or her self.

Phil Bredesen: Bredesen believes in universal background checks and stricter gun laws to ensure citizen safety. In relation to mass shootings, Bredesen believes mental health plays a strong role in the actions of the mass shooters committing the crimes.

Economy/Jobs:

Marsha Blackburn: Blackburn strongly believes in cutting government spending and is concerned with the national debt and its effects on future generations. She wants taxpayers to be able to keep their money and reduce taxes. To couple with this, her plan is to create more jobs to gain more money in the economy and promote free-market economies.

Phil Bredesen: Bredesen has experience as a governor and worked with many car makers to expand TN’s automotive industry and created 200,000 new jobs. As he campaigns for the Senate, he wants Tennessee and America to continue to prosper. As well as the national tax cuts, Bredesen says in an NPR interview, “Who can be against tax cuts” however he thinks the House of Representatives, “Needs to find a way to pay for them.”

Opioid Crisis:

Marsha Blackburn: Blackburn wants to support the prevention, treatment, and recovery programs that prove effective in combating the opioid epidemic. She helped in passing the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act and the 21st Century Cures Act to provide stricter consequences and better rehab programs to work against the epidemic.

Phil Bredesen: Bredesen wants to create legislation to provide the DEA with the power to combat the opioid crisis. He wants the DEA to be able to regulate distribution to work against the opioid epidemic.

Marijuana:

Marsha Blackburn: Blackburn’s press secretary said in a follow-up question after her debate on September 25, that Blackburn was open to the legalization of medical marijuana. She still openly believes that increased drug use leads to increased crimes, deaths and, violence but is open to the medical cannabis being legalized.

Phil Bredesen: On the issue, Bredesen provided less information and has said when questioned, that he needs more research and time to make an educated stance. He said he wants to move marijuana from a schedule I to a schedule II drug so that more research can be conducted and we “see what the actual dangers of marijuana are.”

Environment:

Marsha Blackburn: In past legislation proposals Marsha Blackburn voted against actions such as cash for clunkers, protecting free and roaming horses, and raising AMTRAK funding. However here efforts are for reasons; she believes that a major issue for Tennessee is the “pay more, drive less” action and believes the price for gas and energy sources should be lowered.

Phil Bredesen: Bredesen believes in moving to renewable energy such as putting money towards solar energy. As well as energy efforts he also wants to preserve land, and provide money to restore clear-cut lands.

Sexual Assault/ #MeToo Movement:

Marsha Blackburn: Regarding the recent appointment of Judge Kavanaugh, Blackburn openly supported him saying he was well qualified for the position. Blackburn believes in women coming forward about their sexual assault cases, but have their names become public as well as end the rumored sexual assault “hush fund.”

Phil Bredesen: Bredesen believes in encouraging women to step forward to give their stories on sexual assault. He thinks that these women who come forward should not be plastered on the front page for their identities to be seen by the nation. However, he also publicly stated that he would have voted “yes” to confirm Judge Kavanaugh had he been a senator at the time.

LGBTQ+ Rights:

Marsha Blackburn: When asked in the July 11, debate earlier in the summer, Blackburn was questioned on if “businesses should be allowed to withhold their services to same-sex couples? Why or why not?” Blackburn answered, “People of faith should be free to practice their beliefs as guaranteed by our Constitution.”

Phil Bredesen: When Bredesen was asked the same question, he responded, “No, and I think most business owners feel the same.” He believes that anyone has a right to receive goods and services regardless of religion, sex, race, or sexual orientation.

Abortion:

Marsha Blackburn: From past proposed legislation, Blackburn has demonstrated her stance on abortion. She believes in the restriction of abortions given to mothers except for cases in which the life of the mother is at risk.

Phil Bredesen: Bredesen has a longstanding opinion of supporting women’s reproductive rights, according to his campaign. When asked about Planned Parenthood, he has also said, “I’m fine with that [funding],” Bredesen replies. “It’s the funding…for the non-abortion services exists today and I have no problem with that whatsoever.”

Although both candidates have clear stances on the issue they both discussed that abortion would not be a key issue in the Senate race this year.

Find more information about Marsha Blackburn at https://www.marshablackburn.com/home/

Find more information about Phil Bredesen at https://www.bredesen.com/



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