Live from Music Row, Monday 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. – host Leahy welcomed Congressman John Rose (R-TN-06) in the studio to discuss his district and how the economy has been on a rapid decline in the past two years while Tennessee has remained steady.
Leahy: Now for the very first time, Congressman John Rose, from the 6th Congressional District. Good morning, Congressman Rose.
Rose: Good morning, Michael Patrick. Thank you for having me on The Tennessee Star Report this morning.
Leahy: This is the first time you’ve been in the studio, and we’re delighted to have you here. And now your 6th Congressional District includes parts of Davidson County.
Rose: That’s right.
Leahy: As well as parts of Wilson County. Most of Wilson County, I think.
Rose: No, about a third.
Leahy: Only a third.
Rose: Not all of Wilson County in the current district, but the new district about a third.
Leahy: It’s hard to keep track.
Rose: It is.
Leahy: And then Davidson County and then a number of other counties to the east of Davidson County.
Rose: Sure. In total part or all of 19 counties reaching all the way to the Campbell County line. I’ve got about two thirds of Scott County over in East Tennessee.
Leahy: Oh, my goodness. That’s quite a district.
Rose: It is. So the east bank of the Cumberland River to the Campbell County line.
Leahy: So is this your week to go and visit various folks in the district?
Rose: Well, so we’ve actually been home most of October. We kind of passed the continuing resolution, which the House did, obviously on a partisan basis. I voted against it and then left town to campaign. And I think the Democrats were ready to get out of town.
I think they know what’s coming on November 8th. They’re hoping maybe a little last-minute campaigning could turn that around.
Leahy: Yes, it’s hard to imagine, because here we are, one week and one day from midterm elections. I call November the 8th the nadir of our constitutional republic – the low point – and then it begins to climb back.
RealClearPolitics’ average of polls currently projects that Republicans will pick up 15 to 48 seats, average 31. That would give them a pretty significant majority if that happens – is that what you’re seeing out there?
Rose: It is. I actually think it could be very much at the upper end of that range, maybe just a scootch above that.
Leahy: Why do you feel that? What are you seeing out there when you talk to people?
Rose: I think it is just hard to imagine as I think back over – I’m 57; in my 57 years, it’s hard to imagine a time when we’ve seen bad policies in such a short period of time lead to such clear bad outcomes.
And I think the American people are wise to that. I think they see that. I think they see high inflation. I think they see the economic troubles that we have. I think they see the border crisis that we have, and the rising crime rates across this country.
Leahy: I’m getting depressed listening to all these problems as you speak. (Rose chuckles) But, yes, you’re right. It’s hard to imagine how America has gone on such a decline in the past two years.
Rose: It really is. And particularly if you contrast it to where we were under President Trump just prior to the arrival of the COVID pandemic. If you go back to January 2020, I would argue we were experiencing the best economy certainly in my lifetime.
But I think there’s an argument that it was the best economy in the history of the country. And certainly, we were seeing that in lots of tangible ways. So we were seeing the lowest unemployment in a long period of time, the lowest unemployment ever for minorities and women, and youth.
The first real wage growth, again, in January 2020. The first real wage growth in two decades for Americans. Blue-collar, working Americans. President Trump had delivered on the promise to grow the American economy at three to four percent a year.
And we were reaping the rewards of that. Of course, COVID came along. The immediate reaction was to shut down the economy.
Thankfully, here in Tennessee, I think we realized ahead of the nation that was the wrong approach, and we stood the economy in Tennessee back up. There’s a reason why Tennessee was one of only seven states to see its economy grow in that COVID year.
Leahy: By the way, I moved to Tennessee – I’m originally from upstate New York and I was living in California for several years. And I moved to Tennessee in 1991. It’s the second-best thing I’ve ever done in my life.
The first best thing I ever did was marry a girl from Texas. And we both moved here together in 1991. And I love Tennessee.
Rose: It’s a great state.
Leahy: It’s a great state. How could anybody not love Tennessee?
Rose: You’re exactly right. And to be in the lowest debt state in the country, the lowest tax state in the country, with the fastest-growing economy, I think it’s a real testament to our values here in Tennessee.
Listen to today’s show highlights, including this interview:
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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “John Rose” by Congressman John Rose. Background Photo “Tennessee Capitol” by Gatorfan252525. CC BY-SA 4.0.