By Adam James
Another Republican jumped off of the Trump Train as the 2020 election season started to warm up. In a sign that the state of Tennessee is more in play than the cynics believe, Congressman Phil Roe has decided now is the time to retire from the House of Representatives. Tennesseans of all stripes hate corruption and while breaking through the Trump propaganda machine is difficult, Democrat Chris Rowe has risen to meet the challenge and announced his candidacy for TN’s 1st Congressional district and he sat down to talk about it with Majority 60.
“Tennessee is my home,” Rowe told me. “We deserve so much better than what we have.”
Rowe is a typical product of the Volunteer State. He comes from modest means, brought up to be kind to others and to love his country. As the country was about to face the most damaging economic crisis in modern history, Rowe was joining the Air Force. With the country in two of what would become the longest wars in American history, Rowe wanted to serve which he did faithfully until he was honorably discharged in 2014. Rowe explained why it was important as a veteran to step up to an uphill climb for a Democrat in a state that voted heavily Republican in 2018 in the midst of historic Democratic wins across most of the country, “Tennessee is one of the most veteran-heavy states in the union, and nobody understands the issues veterans face in today’s America like another veteran.”
Rowe knows how important it is for veterans and other rural Tennessee voters to be able to find good paying jobs to take care of their families. After serving in the military Rowe worked in the field of information technology and was blown away when he heard his congressman refer to net neutrality as a solution looking for a problem.
“So much of our representation in Congress right now is either deliberately misleading or woefully misinformed as to how current technology works, and it serves as a serious detriment to their constituents.” Rowe explained that net neutrality is just one isolated example of the knowledge deficit in Congress, “Whether deliberately malicious or simply ignorant, the effect of the net neutrality repeal on Tennesseeans remains the same; we pay more for services over the internet because of the policy’s repeal.”
It’s not just the Information Highway where Republicans are lost: it’s in the healthcare industry. Healthcare is one of the most important issues to every American and Republicans just don’t seem to comprehend or care that cost and access are the main points of pressure and the two places where government can step in to provide stability. It’s one of the driving factors for Chris Rowe to put himself out there to run for office.
Rowe explained, “My personal wake-up call came with a visit home from work, when I found my father barely able to stand due to medical issues, but still working full time to support the family and keep them safe.” Rowe understands the need and is ready to do something about it. “I don’t believe anyone should be forced to live like that, in the kind of pain that he did.”
While it’s clear that only one political party is interested in addressing the healthcare issue, I asked Rowe if he thought that there was anything that he could work on with Republicans in Congress and his answer surprised me, “One policy in which my colleagues on the other side of the aisle may be willing to work with me, it would be gun safety legislation.”
Rowe’s banking on his red state credibility here and his belief that semi-automatic weapons shouldn’t be banned, “I still believe it’s our responsibility to preserve the safety of our constituents within the bounds of the second amendment.” Rowe said. “That means expanding background checks to all gun sales including private ones. It means enforcing responsible gun ownership by making sure our [concealed carry permit] holders are appropriately trained to be responsible in exercising their right to carry. It means making sure that people are prepared and informed to use their rights without infringing upon others’ rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I’d like to think our Republican colleagues could at least agree that both sides of that constitutional coin are worth balancing out.”
Chris Rowe is running for Congress in Tennessee’s 1st congressional district which is located in East Tennessee. You can learn more about him at his website and follow him on Twitter @ChrisForTN1