State house candidates give one final talk before Election Day


State house candidates give one final talk before Election Day

By EMILY R. WEST

Marking one week away from the election, the state house candidates gathered for their final public say on Tuesday morning.

WAKM 950 AM and the Williamson Herald has sponsored Coffee and Conversations nearly every week prior to the election.

Here’s what each candidate had to say to voters Tuesday morning: 

Glen Casada

Falling back on his experience in the legislature, District 63 incumbent Glen Casada said he would best represent the values of Williamson County.

“We are excelling in education, but we are pro Second Amendment, pro life. So those are values that those in Williamson County hold.” 

He has served in the state legislature since 2001. He is running for re-election. In 2007 and again in 2012, Casada was elected chairman of the House Republican Caucus.

Primarily, Casada defines himself as a pro-business, low-tax legislator, usually expressing that he wants to limit government as much as possible.

In his conversation Tuesday morning, he hit on that topic, explaining he had helped cut taxes throughout the years.

It’s my outlook on governance to trust Tennesseans with their own money,” Casada said. “We have cut regulations, and the economy is booming. We have been voted the most well-managed state in the union. Things are really booming.”

He also touched on the presidential election, expressing support for Republican nominee Donald Trump.

“I think he is the better of the two,” he said. “Both have been unfair to women. Hillary has suppressed allegations of rape against her husband. He wants to stop illegal immigration, and she advocates for open borders.”

Courtenay Rogers 

Giving voters a choice, Democrat Courtenay Rogers stands as the only challenger to Glen Casada in the general election during the past decade.

Rogers – a Navy veteran and mother to a Moore Elementary third-grader – has said from the beginning education would stay her top issue.

She didn’t stray from that message Tuesday morning, exploring the topic of funding and what needs to happen to fully fund public schools. But she focused more on the differences between her and her opponent.

“I look at things of the perspective of being a human being and not just from the people who write me a big check,” she said. “It’s definitely a clear difference this year. The difference between Williamson county five years ago and today is mind boggling. People – when they hear the word conservative – they don’t even know what that means anymore.” 

Rogers went on to say most issues in the legislature shouldn’t become partisan, and that if elected, she wouldn’t treat the seat that way.

“I think too many people are worried about an R or a D next to their name,” she said.  “I am sick of the partisan politics and many of us are. We have fighting and inner fighting among these Republicans elected right now, and they are so focused on doing the partisan thing and not the right thing.”

Holly McCall 

The candidate who has repeatedly classified herself as a “transit nerd” didn’t deviate from that message Tuesday.

McCall – who has pitched multiple ideas for paying for infrastructure and roads – continued to discuss that at length during her time on air.

There are nine or 10 different funding mechanisms we can look at,” she said. “It’s everything from toll roads to tax increment financing districts to user fees. But I am not suggesting any of those would be the silver bullet.”

She also touched on how she could use her ability has a member of the Democratic party to better give the legislature a balance. She said the scandal that led to Rep. Jeremy Durham’s expulsion from the legislature was not a key factor in her decision to run.

“Sam is a good man and he is no way personally like our predecessor, but he does seem to have a lot of the same positions,” McCall said. “I think I talk a lot about being less partisan. I got into this because of issues, not because our predecessor’s personal life. We need someone who can get up there and push back a little bit.”

Sam Whitson

For District 65 candidate Sam Whitson, the political newcomer focused primarily on why his character would make him a good fit for the seat.

A community leader and volunteer, Whitson leads the effort for the city of Franklin’s Battlefield Commission. He also devotes part of his time to Franklin’s Charge, which raises money to help facilitate the purchase of battlefield land.

I can work with different groups for the good of our community and our people,” he said. 

Prior to retiring in Franklin with parents, children and grandchildren, Whitson lastly served in the military as a U.S. Army colonel after working his way up in his 25 years of service.

“We moved 13 times in 25 years,” he said. “I was one of those fortunate people who knew what the wanted to do early in life. Being out serving our country, I was blessed every day I was in the Army.” 

During the primary, he largely stayed out of the political crossfire, saying he left any discussions of Durham out of his campaigning. Durham was expelled from the legislature in September for inappropriate behavior. He noted that in his time in the military, he court marshaled some for sexual misconduct and wasn’t afraid to hold people responsible.

He noted that his five grandchildren were his special interests and why he would he would remain dedicated to Williamson County Schools. He also said transportation would stay up high on his list of issues needing attention in his district from Franklin to Fairview.

Here’s where you can early vote:
BRENTWOOD

The Brentwood Library
8109 Concord Road Brentwood, TN 37027
9 a.m. to 7 p.m. through Thursday

FAIRVIEW

Fairview Recreation Center
2714 Fairview Boulevard Fairview, TN 37062
9 a.m. to 7 p.m. through Thursday

FRANKLIN

Williamson County Administrative Complex (Election Commission)
1320 West Main Street Franklin, TN 37064
8 a.m. to 7 p.m. through Thursday

The Factory at Franklin (near Liberty Hall)
230 Franklin Road, Franklin, TN 37064
9 a.m. to 7 p.m. through Thursday

Williamson County Ag Expo Center
4215 Long Lane, Franklin, TN 37064
9 a.m. to 7 p.m. through Thursday

NOLENSVILLE

Nolensville Recreation Center
7250 Nolensville Road Nolensville, TN 37135
9 a.m. to 7 p.m. through Thursday

SPRING HILL

Longview Recreation Center
2909 Commonwealth Drive Spring Hill, TN 37174
9 a.m. to 7 p.m. through Thursday.

Polls are open on Election Day from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at your designated Election Day polling place based on your residential address.

Emily West covers the City of Franklin, education and high school football for the Franklin Home Page. Contact her at emily@franklinhomepage.com. Follow her on Twitter via @emwest22. 

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