Kiran Sreepada of College Grove disagrees with U.S. Rep. Mark Green (R-Clarksville) on almost everything.
“I don't know Mark Green,” Sreepada said. “I’ve never met him. I have no personal problem with him. My problem is not with the incumbent as a person; it's with all the policies he supports.”
Sreepada filed earlier this month to run as a Democrat for the 7th Congressional District seat currently held by Green. The sprawling district includes Williamson County and much of the state in between Nashville and Memphis.
Sreepada, who moved to the area in 2018, is a PhD candidate at the University of Maryland focusing on public policy and already holds a master’s degree from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas. He spent more than two years at the federal Government Accountability Office followed by more than two years at accounting and advisory firm Grant Thornton.
It will be an uphill battle in the district, which Republicans have held for decades. Green first won the seat in 2018 with more than two-thirds of the vote, but Sreepada pointed out that Democrat Justin Kanew performed better in 2018 than many of his predecessors. (Sreepada has tapped Kanew’s campaign manager, Ben Jones, to lead his effort.)
“We have to continue that momentum with getting out new voters,” Sreepada said.
In seeking to detail policy differences with Green, he promised a positive campaign. The former federal policy aide listed trade, health care and executive oversight as areas in which he differs from Green, whom he described as “at one extreme of his party.”
“I’ve got to hope that the fringe is a smaller and less impactful percentage than the percentage that is reasonable, normal, hardworking people that just want to get things done,” he said.
Like Kanew, Sreepada is new to the area. He and his family moved to Williamson County in part because of his wife’s family ties to the area. While allowing that some voters may be skeptical of such a newcomer seeking to represent the district, Sreepada argued that his active choice to make the area home spoke to his dedication to it. Plus, he said, if he was solely seeking political power, he wouldn’t have chosen the reliably red 7th congressional district.
“We're not here because I read the political tea leaves, and if I did I wouldn't have come to this district,” he said. “We're here for our own personal reasons and everything else followed.”