Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) is the incumbent representative in Tennessee’s 7th District. During her time in office, she has not inspired much loyalty from her constituents.
From regularly voting against women’s rights to lying about her constituents when they question her, citizens of this district have felt unheard for 16 years. Many feel that it is time to make a change. Luckily, there’s a new guy in town who is determined to do just that.
This past Thursday, Tennessee citizens packed the room in Franklin, Tennessee to capacity during the Williamson County Democratic Party’s meeting to hear Justin Kanew’s first speech as candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives. A resident of nearby College Grove with his wife and daughter for just over a year now, Kanew decided to run in order to ensure his daughter grows up in a country where she can feel heard.
“My little girl is my whole world, and I’m scared of the direction we’re heading in and the way we’re going to leave this place for her,” Kanew said. “I’d been on Twitter for a long time complaining about it, and at a certain point, I thought, well, are you going to do something about it or not?”
He’s not only concerned about his daughter’s voice, but those of everyone else as well. Kanew has pledged not to take special interest money, and is determined to be “the most accessible candidate yet.”
Incumbent Marsha Blackburn lives in the high-security Brentwood Governor’s Club and refuses to meet with constituents, and yet Kanew was handing out his personal phone number and email address to the citizens who showed up on Thursday, encouraging them to contact him with any questions, concerns, ideas – or even to invite him over for dinner.
“I’m not for sale. I’ll listen to anybody! They don’t need to pay me for that. If they can convince me that their way of looking at things helps the most people, helps the most Middle Tennesseans, helps the most Americans, great! They don’t have to pay for that privilege.”
This is in stark contrast to Blackburn, who regularly accepts money from the Koch Brothers, and is most likely to be seen attending or hosting events that only high-dollar donors can afford, instead of town halls with her constituents.
Despite the clear excitement around a serious challenger to Marsha Law, there was some skepticism around whether this campaign would be able to build the momentum it needs to succeed. Kanew himself admitted it would be an uphill race – but that’s not something he’s a stranger to, having been a contestant in both 2009 and 2011 on The Amazing Race.
“One of the things that I learned on [The Amazing Race], and that I will carry with me throughout THIS race, is that everywhere you go, people are people… Deep down, we all want the same thing. That’s part of what I’m going to try to do, which [The Amazing Race] does, is erase lines.”
When asked if he means he’d like to erase party lines as well, Kanew enthusiastically agreed.
“We need to focus on the real battle we’re fighting, which is that the people are not being represented by our government, and the people need to take our government back. I don’t mean the Democrats, and I don’t mean the Republicans, I mean the people. I’m running as a Democrat, but really in the end, I’m running for people, and the ‘D’ is for decency more than anything else.”
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