A total of nine Democrats have filed to run for the Tennessee State House of Representatives in Williamson County, challenging incumbent Republicans Sam Whitson, Glen Casada and Brandon Ogles for their seats in the State Capital.
Among those running this election is Williamson County Democratic Party chair Kries White, who is challenging Whitson for his seat representing Tennessee’s 65th District.
Other Democratic hopefuls running for Whitson’s seat include Mike Lawson and Jenn Foley. Running for Casada’s seat representing District 63 are Elizabeth Madeira and husband and wife John and Karen Kindle Fite. Running for Ogles seat representing District 61 are Sam Bledsoe, Terrill McDaniel and Jatin Shah.
White, who has served as the Williamson County Democratic Party chair for just over a year, previously ran an unsuccessful bid for Williamson County Commission in 2018. Nevertheless, White said he was ready to jump back into public service, wanting to help address what he considered to be a grave economic disparity experienced across the state.
“Rural hospital closures are unconscionable, the fact that we don't have widespread access to health care is embarrassing, [and] there are some voter suppression efforts that are troubling,” White said. “I feel like we're spending way too much time on social issues or silly issues, like whether to pass a resolution commending Rush Limbaugh as opposed to trying to deal with real world issues.”
White also spoke out strongly against the state’s school voucher program, a program that channels tax dollars into private and homeschool programs that would otherwise go toward public schools.
“To Whitson's credit, he voted against [the school voucher program], and I appreciate that,” White said. “Ogles and Casada, as well as Governor Lee, were big proponents of it, and that's just not acceptable. I think it's the death nail for public education. You have people that are paid money to send their kids to schools that are not diverse, [and] in the present bill you would also pay money for homeschooling.”
Lastly, White also spoke out against Tennessee’s right-to-work laws, which are laws that prohibit union membership as being a determining factor in whether or not an individual gets or keeps a job by prohibiting union security agreements.
“I think both unions - and trade guilds before them - were a big part of what enabled the birth of a middle class, and when we have a strong middle class, we have a strong economy and a strong basis for progress as a country,” White said. “I'm very much pro-union. Can you find anecdotal evidence of union bosses that act like corporate fat cats? Yes, but the fact that they act like corporate fat cats should be more an indictment of the fat cats than of unions on a broad-scale basis.”
The nine Democratic hopefuls will be narrowed down to three in August during the state Democratic primary. The general election is scheduled for Nov. 3.