Election Day Approaches: Who Stands for What? Vote Informed!

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Election Day (Nov. 6) rapidly approaches as several important government seats are up for grabs. As Bill Haslam reaches his term limit as governor, a competitive race is taking place for his role, as well as Senator Bob Corker’s vacant seat in the Senate due to his retirement.

This race is particularly vital in the 2018 election as the Democratic party needs only two seats in order to achieve majority in the Senate, and Democrat Phil Bredesen, while generally thought to be an underdog, holds a notable chance of defeating Republican Marsha Blackburn. Polls currently predict a Blackburn victory, but the current political environment of the nation is likely to keep Bredesen close in the race.

Marsha Blackburn is a Tea Party Republican and resolutely conservative. Loyal to the right-wing, she runs on a doctrine based on immigration reform, renewable resources, pro-life values, protection of the Second Amendment, and reduced federal spending. Blackburn has held a reputation as a defender of anti-tax since her command over a grassroots campaign to defeat a proposed state income tax in Tennessee. She advocates for an efficient federal government accountable to its citizens.

Her opponent Phil Bredesen is commonly described as a moderate Democrat and is known to stand in the middle of the political spectrum through his fiscally conservative yet socially liberal politics. Bredesen’s campaign focuses on avoiding the often troublesome partisanship of Congress through his willingness to work across the aisle. Bredesen runs on a doctrine based on improving the economy, health-care, and education. The former governor criticized the Republican Party’s 2017 tax cuts stating they provided only “crumbs” to the middle class. As far as health-care goes, Bredesen opposed the Affordable Care Act but admits many citizens rely on it, opting for reforms over repealing the act.

Additionally, as Bill Haslam reaches his term limit, the race for the governor’s seat this election is left between Republican Bill Lee and Democrat Karl Dean. Lee sustains a strong lead over Dean in polling.

Bill Lee runs a campaign based on his rural upbringing, conservative traditions, and businessman background. The candidate holds no political history and carries an appeal to the common man. A few of Lee’s values include an increase in vocational education, public-private partnerships, and a free market that fosters competition. Notably, Bill Lee believes arming teachers is a cost-effective way of protecting Tennessee students.

On the opposite side of the ticket, Karl Dean runs his campaign on a doctrine of investing in public education, while also expanding infrastructure, vocational training, and business recruitment to create jobs in Tennessee. The former mayor also plans to reform healthcare through a focus on medicaid expansion, an increase in the production of rural hospitals, and protection of the environment.

It is important that people thoroughly understand the beliefs of those who run to represent them in the government. Eligible students are encouraged to vote and make informed decisions when doing so. Make your voice heard!