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Xavier Smith: State matters just as much

Xavier Smith • Updated Sep 13, 2017 at 1:00 PM

One of the biggest political misconceptions I witness is the belief that local and state elections don’t matter as much as national elections. 

I know some people will gripe and argue that it’s not true, but it’s obvious from attendance in city council and county commission meetings, along with the lack of discussion on local issues in most cases, that the belief rings true. 

However, Tuesday served as an opportunity for people who may not feel as up to speed or involved with local and state elections to take that first step toward political awareness. 

I attended the 2018 Gubernational Round-Robin at Vanderbilt University. The Tennessee Business Roundtable presented the event, which brought together Tennessee governor candidates to share their thoughts on issues facing the state and their plans if elected the leader of the state. 

Candidates spent separate time with the audience rather than making an appearance on the same state at the same time, which, in my opinion, made a huge difference. 

Candidates included Karl Dean, Randy Boyd, Bill Lee, Mae Beavers, Beth Harwell, Craig Fitzhugh and Diane Black, who was unable to attend, but recorded a video for the event. 

The candidates answered questions on education, fiscal stability, workforce demands and healthcare, along with other questions asked from audience members. 

I liked the format because, unlike most political events where candidates have the opportunity to speak, there was not an opportunity for candidates to attack or debate another candidate’s stance. It was simply about the candidate and their thoughts and plans on the future of Tennessee. 

The seven candidates want to become governor, which should be a more important political position for Tennesseans than the position in Washington, D.C. When it comes to issues that affect Tennesseans everyday – groceries, gas, etc. – the next governor’s ideology about how to manage/provide/change those aspects are critical. 

On a more local level, Gov. Bill Haslam has set the dates for the special election created by Beavers’ resignation in the state Senate. Primaries will be Nov. 7, with the General Election set for Dec. 19. 

The Republican and Democrat primaries Nov. 7 will determine the party nominees that will appear on the General Election ballot. The winner of the Dec. 19 General Election will serve the remainder of the unexpired state Senate term, which ends in 2018.

State senators and representatives are the elected district leaders that (are supposed to) advocate on behalf of their constituents in Nashville. These representatives are extremely important to the lifestyle and quality of life of Tennessee districts and counties. 

I say all of that to urge residents to become more aware about the political changes taking place within the state and county. It’s imperative for all of us to raise our level of awareness on issues facing our state, their impact on our personal lives and the position of candidates and other leaders on those issues. 

Xavier Smith is a staff writer for The Democrat. Email him at xsmith@lebanondemocrat.com and follow him on Twitter @wilsonnewswritr.

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