On Friday, I stood on the side of Hixson Pike with a few volunteers waving at cars traveling to work. From 7-8:30 a.m. we must have seen 2,000 cars. Maybe more.
As a candidate, 90 minutes without distractions is rare. And welcomed. Those 2,000 passing cars were driven by the people who are the fabric of our community. Watching them pass was a joy. Some drove Honda Civics and some drove F-150s. A couple of ladies were still putting their makeup on. A lot of them honked and a few shared an emphatic thumbs down. But they are all people with a unique story, and a perspective shaped from that story.
The political lesson is that they didn’t all drive red cars or blue cars. They didn’t all have an Obama sticker or a NRA sticker. I’m sure they weren’t on their way to work to argue politics. Odds are one of the only things most of them have in common is that they have lost faith in both political parties in our country.
Those in politics operate in a bubble. A world defined by often punitive party lines and narrow ideological thinking. It creates an unhealthy divide between the real world and the political class. Having grown up around politics, I’m aware of the bubble and mostly immune to it.
That’s why I’m the only primary Congressional candidate in the country who won’t back down from my belief that we’ve got to work together, Republicans and Democrats, to fix our very dysfunctional government. Because of that, I’ve been accused of being a RINO (Republican in name only) or worse. But that’s absurd. I’m for less government at the federal level, I think Obamacare needs to be replaced, I advocate the FairTax plan and I’m conservative on social issues.
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, a TEA Party hero, has recently forged a productive legislative partnership with New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, a young progressive Democrat. Are Rand Paul’s conservative credentials now weak because he seeks to work across the aisle on issues such as prison reform? Of course not. Much like our own Senator Bob Corker, Paul is simply proving that he doesn’t want to waste his time in Washington mired in a finger pointing contest.
That sophomoric finger pointing in our nation’s capital is what drove me to make a second run for Congress at 27 years old. As recently as last week, House Republicans continue to redefine immaturity by their inability to work with each other, let alone the minority party. For those still holding my age against me, please look no further than the embarrassing behavior of our very “seasoned” Congress. Next, please come and visit Lamp Post Group where many of us in our twenties quite ably run growing companies that will put Chattanooga on the map for a generation to come.
I cringe at the thought that Thursday’s primary will be a referendum on the age of a candidate. Or a candidate’s father. Or anything equally irrelevant.
Our nation’s Congress, a proud institution, is at its lowest point in history. Our congressman is one of its least productive members. Worse yet, the entire basis of his re-election campaign are negative attacks that nearly every media outlet in Tennessee has deemed “dishonest.“
He has brought the finger pointing of Washington back home. Because his four years in office have been underwhelming, he has chosen to run against me rather than run for anything.
On Thursday, I am hopeful for a referendum on the status quo in Washington. A referendum on negative politics. And a referendum on one’s ability to work alongside those with whom you disagree for the benefit of this awesome country.
I would be honored to have your vote in the Republican primary.