Congressional candidates Mark Green, Odessa Kelly on economy, abortion, health care

CLARKSVILLE, TN (CLARKSVILLE NOW) — Early voting begins this week for the Nov. 8 election, which includes the US Congress District 7 race for Montgomery County.

Clarksville Now screens candidates to see where they stand on the issues.

US House, Dist. 7

Mark Green is a physician, businessman, combat veteran, and former Senator. During his years of service he was a flight surgeon assigned to the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment.

Odessa Kelly is the co-founder and CEO of Stand Up Nashville. She graduated from Tennessee State University and earned a master’s degree in public service from Cumberland University.

Question: What is your position on economic recovery solutions?

Mark green: The booming economy – including politics in recent years – proves that tax cuts and the dismantling of the regulatory state lead to prosperity. The government must first and foremost get out of the way. Small businesses are America’s economic engine and should be freed from onerous regulations. Regulations cost the economy up to $2 trillion annually, affecting productivity across all industries. As a state senator, I led the fight to get rid of the Hall Income Tax, making our state one of only two states to ever get rid of an income tax of any kind.

Odessa Kelly: We must ensure that our approach to economic recovery from the pandemic prioritizes working families. That means making sure giant corporations and the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share of taxes to strengthen our communities and level the playing field. That means fighting for antitrust laws that fight anti-competitive mergers and shatter the corporate monopolies that are driving inflation and raking in billions at our expense. And that means raising the federal minimum wage, which has been stagnant for over a decade. We can close the racial and gender pay gap, support working Tennesseans, and boost the economy by finally raising the minimum wage to $15.

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Question: What is your position on access to abortion, particularly in cases of rape or incest?

Green: As a doctor, I know firsthand that life begins at conception and it is our moral responsibility as human beings to protect the most vulnerable among us. As one of only seven countries in the world to allow voluntary abortions after 20 weeks – joined by North Korea – passing the Painful Unborn Child Protection Act should be an easy first step. I was proud to support the bill. The Supreme Court has righted one of the greatest wrongs in our nation’s history with the Dobbs decision, and we must continue our fight to protect life in every state.

Kelly: Tennessee has one of the toughest abortion bans in the nation, with no exceptions for rape or incest. It is a disgrace and a total violation of our fundamental rights. As a mother of two, I will always fight for a woman’s right to vote – and that choice is hers and hers alone. When I’m in Congress I will fight tooth and nail to abolish the filibuster and Roe v. Wade to stop Republicans attempting to enact a federal ban on abortion.

Question: What is your position on expanding access to health care for low-income families?

Green: We need to fix America’s healthcare system. As a former CEO of healthcare, I know we need to cut red tape and stop government stalling the system to improve access. I introduced the Medicaid Improvement and State Flexibility Act, which allows states to conduct a patient-centered and patient-controlled pilot program for Medicaid patients, similar to what I passed as a state senator. I also introduced two bipartisan bills in Congress to repeal obscure rules that are killing our rural hospitals. Consumer-centric healthcare shifts control of choice, decision-making and payment to patients and their providers.

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Kelly: We have the most expensive healthcare system in the world, but millions of Americans are still forced to miss doctor appointments and ration life-saving drugs because of our for-profit healthcare system. It’s time for America to catch up with the rest of the developed world and enact a universal health care system that removes the barriers preventing those most in need from accessing healthcare — that’s why I’m a staunch supporter of Medicare for All. We can no longer tie health insurance to employment status and allow big drug companies and private health insurers to profit from our suffering.

Question: Is there another topic you would like to address?

Green: Newly released data shows inflation shot up to 8.2% in September. This includes a 13% increase in food costs and a 19.8% increase in energy costs. This hurts hard-working families in Tennessee. Spending in Washington has sent our economy into freefall. With the holidays approaching, families are struggling to host Thanksgiving dinner and shop for Christmas gifts for their kids. Every time Democrats get their hands on an industry, prices skyrocket. Just look at the health premiums since the Court of Auditors came into force. And we need to get the government out of the way.

Kelly: We need to drastically reduce the cost of prescription drugs by allowing the government to manufacture drugs. Right now we have pharmaceutical monopolies that allow big pharma to charge patients and providers exorbitant prices for life-saving drugs. Congress needs to step in and make sure these companies face real competition that will drive prescription drug prices down for everyone.

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Clarksville Now was unable to reach Steven Hooper.

For more

Early voting is 19 Oct-Nov. 3 at the Office of the Electoral Commission, 350 Pageant Lane, and 24 Oct-Nov. 3 at Clarksville Regional Airport, 200A Outlaw Field Road.

Voting on Election Day, November 8, will take place from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the neighborhood constituencies.

You must show your driver’s license or other state or federal photo ID.

Visit the Montgomery County Election Commission website for more information.

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