Most candidates are able to give several reasons to make a run for office, but the independent candidate for U.S. senator from Tennessee boils it down to one, blunt sentence.
“You can only yell back at the radio and television so much before you realize no one is listening to you, you’re not being heard and you’re not being represented,” said Joshua James, who recently stopped in Cleveland as he walked across the state in support of his candidacy.
James, 33, who is from Murfreesboro, is employed with UPS. He is married with two young children.
He said the incumbent, U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, has been in office “for most of my life.”
“Especially now with him as a senator, I have not heard his voice or his name, and I’m really into politics,” James said. “If he was standing in a room, until I took this venture on, I wouldn’t have known who he was.”
He said Tennessee has 11 elected representatives in Washington, D.C., “and very few of us know their names and even less know what they look like.”
“But, we know who other senators from other states are because they stand up and are heard,” James said. “I want my voice to be heard. I’m one of millions in this state who are not being heard or represented.”
He said the U.S. Senate is supposed to protect states’ sovereignty from an overbearing federal government.
“Who does not now think the federal government is overreaching?” he asked.
He said the first three words of the Constitution, “We the people,” qualify him to fill the office.
“All of us our qualified,” James said. “The Constitution sets fourth the basic guidelines, but we’re all qualified. It’s not about making a career. It’s about being represented and being heard.”
James, who calls himself “a conservative independent,” said he would work “in every way to defund and remove Obamacare off the books.”
“In the first time in my adult life, I don’t have insurance,” he said. “It’s because corporate America is changing their ways so they don’t get hit with the bills that are coming in 2016 and 2018.”
He said there is no easy fix for the country’s health care, “but I know how to find smart people who can figure it out,” James said.
James asks why “we bought something from Canada, when we have the world’s leaders from here.”
He said during his journeys the issue he has heard most about is jobs.
“The best way is to get out of the way and remove regulations,” James said. “We need to start reducing the tax burden on the corporations. There are so many taxes and codes on startups, it’s like a ‘gotcha’ because you didn’t know where to start.”
On the subject of the federal government giving incentives to businesses, James said the government “should not do anything that the personal and private sectors can do.”
“Let the states do it. Let the counties do it. Let your huge towns and cities do it,” he said.
James said when it comes to securing the nation’s borders, he has suggested building a wall. (A series of barriers for that purpose has been constructed along the border with Mexico.)
“I mentioned that to someone and they said that those trying to get in would just dig tunnels,” he said. “I responded by suggesting that at least they would have to have an effort.”
He said the process of immigration needs to be reformed from what he says are models of the 1950s and 1960s.
“Modern technology is making things so much faster. We could reform our process so it wouldn’t take a certain number of months to get one person who wants to move here through the process,” James said.
As for those illegal immigrants current in the country, James said they should be required to “file paperwork like everyone else has to, and don’t jump line.”
James said in the foreign policy area, the world has suffered because of a lack of American leadership.
“We have allowed an unstable area to be made more unstable and it will create such havoc in the world. We will face so many fronts and won’t be able to hang on,” he said.
He said there needs to be “a much better diplomacy and not just a ‘tit-for-tat’ and hope we get what was promised.”
“The whole time it’s obvious to anybody who is really paying attention [these entities] are just stringing us along. They are using our money to fund their stuff,” he said.
James said America should “quit continuously bailing them out.”