Former state Rep. Chris Newton shared his experiences in politics with the Kiwanis Club of Cleveland at a recent weekly luncheon.
He stated money and politics have corroded public confidence in the business and in the people’s work.
He pointed to the Kiwanians as some of the people who can change the path of politics in Tennessee and America.
The people he referred to in general were informed voters who take their time to cast their ballots.
“The power lies in the people ultimately, that silent majority is still out here. They work everyday, pay their taxes and do everything they are supposed to do,” he said. “They raise their families [and are] good, productive citizens of their community.”
He called for the everyday person to rise up. Newton said he could not understand why any individual would not exercise “the one fundamental freedom we have left.” He reminded the club members no one could tell them how to vote.
Newton referred to the congressional race between incumbent U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais and his challenger state Sen. Jim Tracy.
He said the two are going back and forth on provisional ballots with low turnouts. Newton asked the Kiwanians to think about anyone they know in the voting district. Some residents may not have voted.
Newton stated the availability to vote afforded through the early-vote days and election day gives everyone plenty of time to vote.
He asked the club members to think about the millions of dollars spent between the two campaigns and compare it to how many people actually showed up to vote.
“Literally 10 percent or less of that population select someone to go represent you in Washington, D.C.,” Newton said. “We’ve got to get off our behinds people. People need to vote. People need to register to vote regardless of who you vote for.”
He reminded Kiwanians politicians are not supposed to represent themselves. They are not meant to represent a political party. Politicians voted into office are supposed to represent the men and women who voted them into office regardless of party affiliation.
Newton took a moment to stress the importance of representatives really understanding what they are passing. He said political parties and special interest groups might try to sway a politician’s vote. Newton said the politician in question needs to remember who they represent.
The voters in turn must make their voice heard.
“Get out there and exercise that right,” Newton said. “Too many men and women shed their blood on foreign soil to preserve, protect and defend that right we have in this country.”