Photo by Alexander Willis
BY ALEXANDER WILLIS
In a few weeks, Republican Mark Green will be a freshman in a U.S. House of Representatives that has a new majority: Democrats.
Green, an Army doctor and healthcare executive, said he will be willing to reach across the aisle and find common ground with the Democrat-run Congress, and that his history in the Tennessee Senate proves as much.
“The trick is to find those areas of agreement,” Green said. “I want our streams to be clean, I want to protect our forest lands, so that’s an area where we could probably work together with Democrats. We have absolutely a huge infrastructure need in the country; our Air Force, our waterways… this is something that we could all reach consensus on and get done together. So I will absolutely look for those areas of commonality.”
Green beat Justin Kanew, his opponent in the race to represent Tennessee’s 7th District by 32,136 votes.
Green received 66,969 votes, with Kanew receiving 34,833. While the difference is substantial, Kanew received nearly 34 percent of the total vote – a dramatic increase from the 2014 midterm elections, in which Democrat Daniel Cramer received only 23 percent of the total vote when running for the same seat.
The seat in the U.S. House representing Tennessee’s 7th District was vacated by U.S. Senator-elect Marsha Blackburn, who held that seat since 2003.
Kanew said his hope for Green as a congressman is that he will be more willing to cooperate with Democrats and shy away from hyper-partisanship — something Kanew had highly criticized during his campaign.
“I hope that he makes an effort to work across the aisle,” Kanew said. “I think that what we need right now is not extremism and hyper-partisanship, we need bridge builders. I said that to him on the phone, and he assured me that he would try to be one of those, and I’d like to take him at his word.”
Still, Green said on election night that he had a mandate.
“It is clear that the people of this district have spoken,” Green said during an emotional victory speech Tuesday night. “We’re sick and tired of wasteful spending, over-regulation, [and] the loss of personal freedom. We’re sick of threats from abroad because our military is so weakened, and we’re disgusted with the attacks on the first amendment and the second amendment at home. No one will outwork me, and no one will listen more than I will — I promise that.”
Green, a veteran of the Iraq War, served as an infantry officer in the Army before requesting to be sent to medical school. Following his graduation from Boonshoft School of Medicine in Ohio, Green was selected to serve as a flight surgeon, where he would later go on to participate in Operation Red Dawn, the military operation responsible for the capture of Saddam Hussein.
Green later founded and served as CEO of Align MD, a healthcare staffing company, before ultimately being elected to serve in the Tennessee Senate.
Green will take office in the U.S. House of Representatives at 12 p.m. on January 3, 2019.