Time to Learn

The most recent demonstration of the perils of party-line politics is over. The U.S. Senate has narrowly confirmed Judge Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. It is time to reflect on what we have learned and move on.

Numerous women in our district have approached me to express their sadness and sometimes anger about the news reports on the Senate proceedings. I have been moved by the depth and sincerity of their concern. No matter where people stood on the nomination, we have all been reminded of the troubling and completely unacceptable fact that sexual assault remains a pervasive problem. Such crimes have direct and often lifelong negative impacts on the people who experience them, and they indirectly harm all of us even if we have not personally been victims. Certainly, all sides of the political spectrum can agree that we must do better.  

Senatorial candidate and former governor Phil Bredesen recently made a statement on the Kavanaugh situation that I feel was politically motivated.  

In the aftermath of the Bredesen statement and the Senate’s embarrassing dog-and-pony show, I would like to take this opportunity to emphasize the independence of the Olsen for Congress campaign. My campaign has neither connection nor agreements with the Bredesen campaign or any of its affiliates.  Similarly, I have received no support, resources, or even encouragement from the Democratic National Committee.  My campaign is a homegrown East Tennessee movement, and because of local grass-roots support, we have had dramatic success compared to those who came before me.

 We need policy-making based on principles, not on polls that merely sample the prevailing political winds. Of course, legislators must reach out and listen to constituents. But after listening, legislators must weigh what they have heard and be willing to reach deep into their own hearts and use the courage of their convictions to make decisions that are in the best interests of those whom they represent. I appreciate the kindness of thousands of East Tennesseans who have shaken my hand, welcomed me into their homes, businesses, and communities, and allowed me to earn their trust. I know that we can do better as a region and a nation.