Story by Lillian Chapman | Contributing Writer
Five Rutherford Country Democratic candidates gathered this week for a forum to discuss their policy positions and answer questions about their solutions for local issues. Here is what they said going into this year’s midterm elections.
Kelly Northcut, Senate District 13
Kelly Northcut wants to represent the people of Murfreesboro, insisting that listening to the people’s voice is her main focus. In order to improve Tennessee, Northcut stressed the importance of changing the majority in the Senate.
“What we do have a problem with is ballot access,” Northcut said in response to how voting is held in Rutherford.
She also made known her stance known on abortion, in the context of Tennessee’s recently activated “trigger ban.” Northcutt also said she wanted to protect citizens’ right to privacy.
“We should be able to determine our own decision on abortion, marriage, and whether we have kids,” Northcutt said.
Laura Bohling, House District 34
Laura Bohling is also passionate about voting rights. She encouraged Democrats to vote to break the majority of Republicans in the Senate and House of Representatives.
In response to the questions about Tennessee education, Bohling said she wants more funding to go to education. “We have the money in the budget, it’s just not being used where it should be,” she said.
She agreed with Northcutt’s stance on privacy rights and expanded on it.
“We have to get the government out of our hospital rooms, out of our bedrooms, out of our churches,” Bohling said.
Jeff Crum, House District 13
Jeff Crum pushed for younger voters to go to the polls, believing the key to making change lies with the next generation. Off of that, he joined Bohling’s enthusiasm for more education funding.
“I want to do everything I can for the youth, for our students, because they are the future,” Crum said.
He also weighed in on abortion, saying that he held Christian beliefs, but also believes that people deserve the right to choose.
Bill Levine, House District 37
Bill Levine, an Middle Tennessee State University professor who has worked with Rutherford County Democrats on communications and publicity, said defunding public education is a major problem. He also called the Divisive Concepts bill, signed by Gov. Bill Lee into law in April, a “censorship of education by whitewashing American history and, really, like a point of making ignorance bliss.”
Levine was most concerned about legislators passing laws that they do not understand and said he fears that women are being put at risk by abortion restriction laws.
“Most the time abortions are for the health of the mother,” he said.
Matt Ferry, House District 48
The candidates also discussed homelessness and decreasing the landfills in Rutherford County.
“It does not cost an exorbitant amount of money to house the homeless,” said Matt Ferry, former chair of the Rutherford County Democratic Party. “It’s ridiculous that we are not doing that right now.”
Ferry was also concerned about Middle Point Landfill in North Rutherford County. Ferry has an interest in creating designated areas for recycling and composting in Rutherford County to combat landfill pollution.
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