Carol Abney is a Democrat running for a state house seat in Tennessee’s 38th district. In an election year with the incompetence and corruption of Donald Trump on the ballot, Tennessee Democrats still face an uphill battle with most Republicans endorsing the wanna-be despot. At Majority 60, we feel it’s important to talk to and about Democrats in so-called red states running to restore integrity to government, protect democracy and defend complete access to healthcare for all Americans. Abney is one of those candidates.
Abney is devoted to improving living conditions for her potential constituents in the 38th house district. Abney is a Certified Public Accountant in Celina who knows how to stretch a dollar. Her family owns and operates a small business and has for over thirty years.
We asked her about some of the main issues on the minds of Tennessee voters. The biggest issue by far and it was long before over 150,000 Tennesseans tested positive for COVID and more than 1,200 mothers, daughters, sons and fathers lost their lives to the virus, “In a district of five counties, there is only one hospital that has been stable for the entirety of the last two years. We have two hospitals in this district owned by a shady businessman who shuttered one hospital and left the other on life support.” Abney explained.
“Thankfully, the hospital in my home county just reopened under new ownership after I shamed the previous owners into selling when they were ready to just shut down and let the building rot.” The biggest fights in healthcare in the Republican-controlled state have been fueled by Opioid crisis which in turn was fueled, in part, by the actions of Senator Marsha Blackburn when she was in the House. Hospital capacity is the time of COVID and of course the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act that Donald Trump is actively trying to erase have been the other big fights.
“Not expanding Medicaid has made it incredibly hard for hospitals trying to stay open. We’re missing out on billions of dollars because our State Legislature would rather spend time trying to keep [1st Grand Wizard of the KKK] Nathan Bedford Forrest’s statue in the lobby [of the state capital] and fighting other ridiculous culture wars when they need to be fighting for ALL Tennesseans. We need affordable, accessible health care. I will work with anybody, Republican or Democrat, who will help pass Medicaid expansion and bring in funds to save our hospitals.”
In the middle of the global pandemic, the priority of Republicans in the state legislature and Governor Bill Lee was instead focused on ending the constitutionally protected right of women’s autonomy. Dead of night legislation passed on June 19, voted through by mostly older White males, placed new restrictions on abortion access that will place new burdens on women across the state, especially poor women and women of color.
We asked Abney for her thoughts on the subject. “I believe it’s wrong to come between a woman and her doctor. The term ‘pro-life’ is just the most divisive phrase I’ve ever heard,” said Abney. “Of course I’m for everybody to have a wonderful life. But I also know that women are capable of making the right decisions for themselves when in consultation with a doctor. I trust women.”
Abney went on to explain, “Reproductive rights are guaranteed in the law and should stay that way. I’m also a big proponent of helping women before, during, and after a pregnancy. If a woman has a child, I want her kids to have access to affordable health care and daycare. I want her to make a living wage. A huge reason women make those difficult decisions are economic. I want to focus on making it easier and more affordable to have children. That’s something all Tennesseans want to see.”
Abney’s answer to the typical disadvantage Democrats face in Tennessee is to fight for the truth. “When you have a propaganda station that spews fear and misinformation, it makes it harder to get your message out for sure. My difference is I don’t speak like a politician. I won’t spin a tale for you; I’m going to tell you how it is. I don’t sugar coat things. I tell the truth.” Abney said, “I talk about what’s going on here and leave the culture wars for the pundits. I think everyone should be treated equally and have a fair shot at a decent living, a good education, and affordable, accessible health care. I focus on what my folks in this district are crying out for. I spend my time talking about the things that matter to our everyday lives and meet people where they are. The best way to combat a lie is with the truth. That’s what I do and how I am running this campaign.”