Live from Music Row Wednesday 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. – Official Guest Host Aaron Gulbransen welcomed Tennessee 5th Congressional District candidate Timothy Lee in-studio to talk about why he’s running, his perception of money in campaigning, and his top three issues.
Gulbransen: We have Tennessee 5th Congressional District candidate in tomorrow’s Republican primary, Timothy Lee, a paramedic, spent a lot of time down at Ground Zero after 9/11 helping people out. Welcome again into the studio, Timothy Lee.
Lee: Thanks, Aaron. Great to be here again.
Gulbransen: It’s definitely great to have you in here. I always like to ask everybody this: why are you running for Congress?
Lee: You know, everybody has their own reasons and specifically mine started about two years ago with the shutdowns and COVID, the actions that the government was going through to suppress people’s rights.
All that was was quite concerning. And of course the economy. The difficult-to-find parts and the shipping industry was very, very problematic. And you just see things changing overnight, and it became very discouraging.
So when Jim Cooper decided that he was not going to seek re-election, I saw it as an opportunity to actually have a real citizen for once in our state’s history to represent District 5.
Gulbransen: Makes sense.
Lee: So I threw my hat in the ring.
Gulbransen: So you got frustrated with the way the country was going, is a fair way of saying it, and you saw it as an opportunity to bring what you just said, a citizen-legislator kind of candidate.
Gulbransen: I know, we were talking about this off-air, one of your frustrations, without putting words in your mouth, was the amount of money flying in politics, I would imagine. Because you’ve got all these millions of dollars in attack ads going around and various lobbyists donating to candidates and that sort of thing.
Obviously it colors the perceptions of things, and you’re out there knocking doors every single day talking to people, making phone calls. So let’s talk about your perception of money in politics and how it’s been as a candidate.
Lee: The whole PACs and super PACs and the – I’m sure they’re going to come up with a new terminology in a couple years about people who donate even more money.
Lee: Absolutely. But the PAC money that’s coming into these campaigns is quite ridiculous. And for the candidates to deny that they know anything about it is even more ludicrous, because you have [Lee] Beaman starting a PAC and you have Debra Maggart starting a PAC supporting candidates.
You have Morgan Ortagus who joined Winstead’s campaign that had a PAC supporting her to get back on the ballot, backing Winstead. So these attack ads know exactly what they’re doing.
But it’s just typical politicians. and that’s the problem. The money that’s coming in does not allow the average person if you’re, if you work in a grocery store, or an office, you have no chance to ever get into politics.
And that is what our country was designed to do. That is what our founders wanted for our country, is to have some citizen government. And it has disqualified every one of you, and I, from participating in the public voting and to run for office!
It’s quite sickening how these top – you know, and I’m using air quotes here – three candidates, because more than three have … lied to you. But it’s something, you shouldn’t expect anything less from them.
Gulbransen: Would you say it’s fair to say that for you as a candidate it’s far more important to spend your time talking to the voters and the citizens of the district than asking for thousands of dollars from some super PAC or something like that? That’s kind of a softball question. (Laughter)
Lee: I know, and yes it is, because – well you know, me being a paramedic I see things that these top three people have never seen in their lives. They do not understand the average person or what we go through.
Do you really think that they care about how much money it costs to fill up their vehicles? No. No. If you can dump $500,000 into your campaign, the gas price of $100 to fill your tank up is not a concern.
So let’s be realistic, and it’s insulting to us average people. But yes, getting to speak with people … and I’ll sit there and I’ll talk to people for, you know, 15 to 20 minutes, because they are the most important person to me at that time when I’m sitting there and talking to them.
And I remember them. I spoke with a lady and I called her up just a few days ago just to check up on her. She lost her husband several months ago and it’s, that’s the type of person I am. I care about people and I know that we can do better. And so that’s what’s important to me.
Gulbransen: We’re talking with Timothy Lee and we still have some time so I’m not rushing you off. I always like to make sure I ask this well before the end of the interview. What’s the best place to find you? Website and all of that.
Lee: The website is lee4congress.com. I’m very active on Facebook. I am one of the few candidates that I know of that will actually respond to you. And if you say something, I do not hold back. I will tell you what I really think. So don’t ask a question you don’t expect an answer to.
Gulbransen: Now I’ve seen you in a number of forums. You definitely don’t hold back. What one, two, or three things you would want to accomplish if you were elected?
Lee: These are very boring issues to voters and to the politicians and everything, but Fentanyl is a problem, mental health, and protecting those who protect us. Those are my three top issues along with health care.
Those are all very near and dear to my heart and I will fight you up and down the aisle over those issues because that’s how passionate I am about them. So don’t come at me with some BS because I will go full-out on you on it.
Listen to the interview:
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