The Rotary Club of Cleveland heard from one such candidate on Tuesday — 10th District Tennessee Senatorial Democratic candidate Andraé McGary.
The new district encompasses the communities of McDonald, Black Fox, Blue Springs, Waterville, Valley View, Charleston and the school districts for Oak Grove and Michigan Avenue Elementary Schools, in addition to East Ridge, Ooltewah and Collegedale in Hamilton County
He said many have asked him why he would run for office in a predominately Republican district. McGary said it was because of faith.
“Faith in God and faith in this country,” he said. “I believe we are Americans and we can solve our problems.”
He said political parties are not a key to solving problems.
“It’s my opinion that the fastest growing party in this country is not the Democratic Party. The fastest growing party in this country is not the Republican Party. … It’s the ‘I don’t really care party,’” McGary said. “Government is so broken on a national level … meanwhile the average person sits back and says to him or herself ‘Does it really matter?’”
The average person also does not have a concrete answer as to what needs to change.
“The average person has lost faith in the political process,” McGary said.
Fixing government needs to begin by starting a dialogue that focuses on moving forward and concentrating on the issues at hand, rather than dividing people over political parties, according to McGary. He said politicians of different parties need to begin talking with each other for any real progress to be made.
“What’s best for this country should not be Republican or Democrat. It should be American,” McGary said.
He said a good idea should be considered no matter who proposes it.
“We can fix this country,” McGary said.
He said fixing problems, such as unemployment “is not fundamentally Republican or Democrat.”
McGary’s involvement in politics began at his wife’s continual suggestion. His first political office was president of a neighborhood association.
He ran for Chattanooga City Council and won at the age of 28.
Serving in the Chattanooga City Council, McGary said he enjoys the atmosphere that is created when an emphasis is not put on what political party members of the Council hold to. McGary said most people know which party a councilman is a part of, but it does not have to be declared to run for the office. He said this creates a more collaborative atmosphere.
10th State Senatorial District Map: