Live from Music Row Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – Leahy was joined on the newsmakers line by Tennessee Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dr. Manny Sethi.
During the third hour, Sethi explained how he has been campaigning throughout Tennessee and witnessing people filled with anxiety about the coronavirus yet recognizing that we need to get back to work. Nearing the end of the segment he called for a second industrial revolution in his Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in Tennessee by which would bring back supply chains and medication manufacturing the state.
Leahy: We are joined now by our good friend Dr. Manny Sethi. Candidate for the Republican nomination for the US Senate. Good morning Dr. Manny.
Sethi: Hey Mike. Good morning how are you doing brother? Thanks for having me on.
Leahy: We are delighted as always to have you on. Since last we talked you’ve been spending a lot of time in the emergency room dealing with cases. What has happened from your perspective of note on your campaign over the past couple of weeks?
Sethi: The last two months have been so challenging. I’ve been on the front lines dealing with this at the hospital taking care of patients. In these units, patients were isolated and people were anxious. Thank the Lord we got ahead of this thing and we’re moving forward.
A week and a half ago we announced our 95 county tour. We’ve already been to all 95 counties in the last year and a half. And with my non-profit Health Tennessee we’ve been taking care of patients for the last 10 years all across the state. I’ve been to all 95 counties. We’re going to do it again in the next six weeks. We’ve been traveling for a week, week and a half now all over Tennessee.
Leahy: You’ve been doing that 95 county tour?
Sethi: Oh yeah. We’ve been out there.
Leahy: Which counties have you hit?
Sethi: So we were in Clay and Overton last week. We were in Trousdale. We were in Memphis yesterday. Today we’ll be up in Henry County and we’ll be up in Stuart County. We’re getting all over the state carrying our outsider Conservative outsider message and that’s what people want. They want someone I believe that comes from outside of government and represents their interests and not those of Washington, D.C.
Leahy: What’s the attitude your seeing with people that you’re interacting with all across the state?
Sethi: That’s something that’s surprised me honestly. I think people are still somewhat concerned about the virus and getting it. But the one thing I’m hearing is that everyone is concerned about the economy and about getting America back to work and Tennessee back to work.
This pandemic has really hurt our small businesses across the state. In Tennessee, the engine of growth in our state is small businesses. I think we have a blind spot for this and have to get them going. Get them started. And people are ready. There is definitely anxiety about the coronavirus and that’s not something I expected in places like Clay County where they only had a few cases.
Leahy: That is surprising. Tell us what your plan would be to get the economy coming back as a United States Senator.
Sethi: I think first of all what we need to make sure that any stimulus package that we’re given gets into the right hands. It’s almost like we’re throwing cash out of helicopters of trillions of dollars. We need to make sure it’s given surgically and strategically to get it to the right places like these small businesses.
Right now a lot of small businesses from what I’m hearing are struggling while some of these big companies and big banks are getting money. And I just don’t’ think that’s right. I think we need to continue to lift restrictions and de-regulate and get people back to work.
I just think that all of these restrictions of wearing masks and all this other stuff is hurting places in Tennessee where there have been one or two cases. It’s a real problem and it causes some anxiety and apprehension among customers. It’s slowing down business traffic for even those places that are open.
Leahy: Carol Swain is our in-studio guest here this morning. As we were walking in we were talking about the mask. She said, why do you wear it? I guess it can’t. Maybe it helps.
Swain: Well let me speak up for myself. (Laughter) I wear them in stores. I wear them when I have to but I’m looking at the science that suggests it will weaken our immune systems and that we’re not really protecting ourselves. Maybe some of these protocol guidelines are not really what we should be doing.
Leahy: Where do you stand on the mask thing? Should we wear them or not?
Sethi: I think in places where there more high density of disease and the coronavirus and people who are at risk.
Leahy: Like Davidson County.
Sethi: Yeah like Davidson County. I think if you go to the grocery store and the grocery store is busy I don’t think it’s a bad idea to wear one. If you’re in Clay County or Overton or places where there’s not been a lot of this stuff most places in East Tennessee I think its less important.
Leahy: Should it be voluntary or mandatory?
Sethi: I just think any health decision in our country needs to be voluntary. I don’t think the government or anybody else needs to be pushing this down our throats. I just don’t think that’s right. I just believe in patient-centered medicine and patient-centered choice. And that’s very important.
And one thing I wanted to return too which kind of brings all of this together. About a week and a half ago our campaign released this plan called PPE in Tennessee. I was out in West Tennessee yesterday talking about this. Basically 70% of our masks and 20% of our medications, these are things you and I have talked about before are made in China.
We’ve been relying on the Chinese Communist Government. God forbid a second wave comes, we need to be ready. What that means is that we need to bring that healthcare supply chain back to our country. Specifically in Tennessee there are so many economic opportunity zones. Places in West Tennessee. For example a mega-site. Unemployment is so high.
I believe that we can bring this manufacturing back here to Tennessee. I spoke with some business leaders yesterday and I think it would just be perfect. WWII we stepped up to the plate as volunteers with the Manhattan-style project. I believe we could do that once again and drop our unemployment and utilize so many of these economic opportunity zones.
Leahy: Carol Swain has a question for you Manny.
Swain: I just wanted to comment that in Nashville the COVID infection zones are confined to a couple of zip codes. And so it doesn’t make sense to me that they would quarantine the whole population rather than just quarantining the people that are sick.
Leahy: What do you say about that Dr. Manny?
Sethi: I don’t think anybody realized the vast implications of shutting down the American economy and what it would do. We’ve been arguing and I was on Fox News a month ago talking about vertical containment. Meaning we can’t shut everything down.
We need to protect those patients who are at risk. And so Dr. Swain, you’re mentioning that and opening up the economy. Every day that we close the economy right now and our GDP suffers that’s 10 days it’s going to take to recover. I was speaking with a well-known economist who said that if we through June and we continue like this every day we shut down the economy is 20 days to recover per day.
This has such a downstream effect. Our GDP ratio is climbing. We just can’t sustain this as a country. Our national debt is through the roof. And so the best end to this is to get America back to work. No government stimulus plan and replace the power in the private sector.
Swain: I agree 100% with you and I hope that anyone who wants to represent Tennessee would share those sentiments because we have been too dependent on China. That’s been quite unfortunate. I’ve been talking about it for the past two years so I’m glad that other people have picked it up and it is an issue for the President and the nation now.
Leahy: Dr. Manny, when you get into Washington if you are elected, what would be first your first action steps.
Sethi: Sure. Let me come back to one thing that Dr. Swain mentioned and I think this is very important. Dr. Swain you are talking about China and our reliance. Tennessee is one of the top states in the country that’s reliant on Chinese imports. We should all look at how that happened and understand that because that’s very very important. We have to end our reliance.
Here in Tennessee we are among the most reliant on that supply chain. So Mike, to come back to your question about what I would do and it’s really changed since this pandemic. The first thing we need to do is end our economic reliance on the Communist Chinese Government.
And I think that more generally what this pandemic has shown us is that for the longest time these Washington insiders and elites have been talking about the great things that happened with globalism and it’s so great and how we are all connected. And we shift all of our jobs and supply chains to China. No problem.
That’s great. Our world is interconnected. The economies are interconnected. But look at what happened with this pandemic. We are entrusting our economy with our enemy with our national security and medications we can’t get here. Gowns, scrubs, masks, supply chains, and our other products.
The first thing I’m going to do if I’m a U.S. Senator is to bring those jobs back here in what I call the Second Industrial Revolution. We have to. We need to have tax credits and exemptions and pay for these companies to get back here and deregulate. Explain to me this, why is there more red tape on a mask made in America versus a mask made in China?
Leahy: A very good point Dr. Manny Sethi. A very very informative interview. Will you come back as the campaign continues?
Sethi: Absolutely brother.
Listen to the full third hour here:
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