Phil Bredesen talks Russia summit, opioid crisis in Q&A with the Home Page


Phil Bredesen talks Russia summit, opioid crisis in Q&A with the Home Page

Photo Courtesy of Bredesen for Senate

BY ALEXANDER WILLIS

Ahead of the midterm elections on November 6, the Home Page recently spoke with the two candidates for the U.S. Senate representing Tennessee, Republican Marsha Blackburn and Democrat Phil Bredesen.

Polling data shows that the two candidates are close, and with Democrats only needing two seats to take majority in the Senate, this race has drawn national attention.

Phil Bredesen served as the 48th Governor of Tennessee from 2003-2011, and has seen huge success in the business world, acting as a chairman for a solar energy plant developer.

Bredesen said he believes the government is losing its ability to move forward and find common ground. He has referred to himself as the “adult in the room,” saying he will vote on each issue on a non-partisan basis.

Bredesen said the public is tired of “hyper-partisanship,” adding that he plans to support President Trump when he believes he’s right, and oppose him when he believes he’s wrong.

“If the people of Tennessee will elect me and send me up there, I’m working for them,” Bredesen said. “I’m not working for the Democratic Party, and I’m not working against the Republican Party. With Trump, if he’s right about something, I need to be there behind him. If he’s wrong about something, I need to fight. I’d say the same about a Democratic President.”

One issue very important to Bredesen is the opioid crisis the United States is currently suffering from. More than 115 Americans die every day from opioid overdoses according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

“I have people talk to me a lot about this opioid crisis,” Bredesen said. “It’s gotten to the point now where we have more deaths from opioid overdoses than we do from automobile accidents in Tennessee. I think we owe it to people to stop the flow out the front end of these opioids, and obviously try to help somebody who’s inadvertently gotten caught up [in it].”

Bredesen also said he believes doctors bear some responsibility in fighting the opioid crisis.

“I think we have to put some responsibility on the manufacturers of these drugs,” Bredesen said. “They’ve been promoting them as safe, so I think they bear some responsibility for overstating the benefits.”

Passed in December of 2018, the GOP tax bill introduced a number of changes, including the removal of the individual mandate from the Affordable Care Act.

Also known as Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act included an individual mandate that required Americans to buy insurance, or pay a fine. The intended goal being that even healthy people would be encouraged to purchase health insurance, lowering premiums across the board.

Bredesen said while he didn’t think Obamacare was “a particularly good way to achieve that end,” he understood the rationale behind it.

On removing the individual mandate, Bredesen said undercutting the viability of Obamacare without having a replacement is “irresponsible.”

Regarding President Trump’s pick for Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh, Bredesen said he’d like to see how the situation develops.

Photo courtesy of Bredesen for Senate

“I would not vote for a person based on their party affiliation,” Bredesen said. “If he’s got the skills to be a good jurist, and I’m satisfied with his temperament and ethics, then I have no trouble being for him.”

President Trump has drawn criticism for his handling of the July 16 Russia – U.S. Summit, with critics arguing the President was “too soft” on Russian President Vladimir Putin amidst continued investigations of Russian interference during the 2016 election.

Bredesen said he believes the American people “ought to put their faith in our agencies and trust their assessment of this.”

“I have great confidence and belief in the Federal Government’s agencies and the Intelligence agency,” Bredesen said. “I certainly believe – and I think any American should – the stuff they come up with much more than what the former KGB official – now president of Russia – says about that kind of thing.”

Democratic Socialist Alexandria Cortez won the Democratic primary for New York’s 14th Congressional District on June 26 in what has been called an “upset” by some. Bredesen said he doesn’t believe this win is indicative of any radical shift within the Democratic Party.

“There’s been those kinds of upsets before,” Bredesen said. “It sounds to me like they had a candidate who was very passionate and ran a good campaign. I don’t think it portends any massive move to the left of the democratic party or anything like that.”

Midterm elections will be held on Tuesday, November 6. For voting locations and details click here.

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