Boatner speaks

John Boatner, a Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives from the 8th Congressional District, speaks during Tuesday night’s meeting of the Henry County Democratic Party at the Greystone in Paris. Boatner is from eastern Shelby County.

The Henry County Democratic Party heard updates from a Congressional candidate and the son of a gubernatorial candidate during its Tuesday night meeting at the Greystone.

John Boatner, a Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives for the 8th Congressional District, which includes Henry County and all of West Tennessee except for Memphis, let those attending know that he sticks to party ideals.

“I’m an advocate for social justice, and I fight social injustice,” Boatner said.

His background is as a social worker, and he has worked at various Memphis-area hospitals. He lives in eastern Shelby County.

“My job (as a social worker) is to listen to people, to help people and to advocate for people,” Boatner said, noting the similarities between that job and being in government.

“I want to hear from you all, anytime,” he said. “David Kustoff (the Republican who is the current Congressman from the 8th District) hasn’t had one town hall meeting since he’s been in office. His version of a town hall meeting is speaking to a Rotary club or speaking to a Chamber of Commerce or something like that. I want everyone to be included.”

Among the issues he discussed was the absence of high-speed Internet availability in some parts of West Tennessee.

“I was driving through Carroll County and saw a sign along the highway that said ‘High-speed Internet: Yes,’” he said. “This is 2018, and we still have counties in rural West Tennessee that don’t have high-speed Internet. I promise I would do my best to do something about that.”

Also speaking at the meeting was Rascoe Dean, son of Karl Dean, the former Nashville mayor who is running for governor.

Karl Dean was mayor of Nashville from 2007-2015. His son pointed out that during that time, the Metro Nashville School System increased from 33rd in the state in teacher pay to third.

“Education is a high priority for my father, and so is health care,” Rascoe Dean said.

He said the failure by the state to adopt Medicaid expansion has hurt citizens here and resulted in millions of dollars in Tennesseans’ taxpayer dollars going to Washington instead of helping people here.

On the issue of jobs, he said “Nashville has the third-lowest unemployment rate among major cities in the country, but that hasn’t spread to rural areas. My father wants to do something about that.”

Dean said his father’s campaign has raised $4 million so far, and that “in all of our polling, we are right there with all these different Republican candidates.”

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