Marsha Blackburn

Republican senatorial candidate Congressman Marsha Blackburn will be in Shelbyville tomorrow for a “Grassroots Breakfast,” along with several GOP state and federal representatives, according to Blackburn campaign officials.

The free breakfast event will take place at 10 Saturday morning at the Bedford County Agriculture Center Building #2, 2119 Midland Road, in Shelbyville.

The purpose of the breakfast is to allow voters to hear from their elected officials and meet with those running for office, such as Blackburn and Iris Rudder, who is running for a seat in Tennessee House District 39.

The morning will see a packed lineup of Republican representatives, including State Sens. Shane Reeves, Joey Hensley and Janice Bowling, State Reps. Rick Tillis and Pat Marsh and U.S. Congressman Scott DesJarlais.

The stop is one in a number of campaign appearances Blackburn is hosting as she vies for the Senate seat left vacant by Bob Corker, who is not seeking another term in office, and will allow voters the chance to speak with Blackburn on a more personal level, she told The News in a phone interview on Tuesday, Oct. 2.

She said she was “excited to be back in Bedford County” this weekend with her friends and colleagues and to hear from voters on the issues.

“They’re going to have a great time meeting with all of their elected officials,” Blackburn said of the breakfast. “We are not that far away from the early vote starting, and people are starting to pay attention to the campaign, and I am going to use this as an opportunity to ask everybody for their vote.”


On the issues

When asked what she felt the most pressing issues were for Tennesseans today, Blackburn said the most frequent messages she and her campaign have received were about jobs and the economy.

“The thing we hear the most about is jobs and the economy and wanting to keep the jobs growth and economic growth in place,” Blackburn said.

The Tennessee economy is “very robust,” she said, adding that the state’s lack of an income tax helps tremendously in promoting job growth and business expansion in the state.

“The fact that we have no state income tax is driving a lot of the [business] relocations to our state,” she said. “That is bringing higher wages and new job opportunities.”

Additionally, Blackburn said, the federal tax cuts Congress passed last year were also of great benefit to Tennesseans.

“The way we’ve been able, with President Trump’s leadership, to reduce taxes at the federal level and to reduce regulation – this is a very robust economy,” she said.

Blackburn said she’s also heard from voters on the issue of federal judges.

“They [the voters] also talk a lot about … having good, Constitutional, federal judges,” she said. “People do not want to see judges that are going to legislate from the bench.”

The last issue Blackburn said she hears about from voters is immigration.

“Immigration is an issue that is not only something looked at as a federal issue,” she said, “it’s looked at as a local issue because of the impact of [international criminal gang] MS-13 and gangs and drugs that are crossing the border.”

Blackburn said she recently sat down with a group of voters concerned about how to assist law enforcement in better policing the movement of fentanyl and heroin on the streets.

“We’re working regularly with local law enforcement, trying to make certain they have the tools that they need to handle these issues,” she said.


Differences in approach

When it comes to tackling these issues, Blackburn said the differences between her opponent, Democrat Phil Bredesen, and herself are stark.

For example, she said keeping the tax cuts passed by Congress was “important.”

“When you’re talking about jobs and the economy and economic growth, what you want to do is keep the tax cuts,” she said. “People in Tennessee know that Phil Bredesen said he would have voted against the tax cuts, and he called them crumbs. I’ve got to tell you, an extra $1,700 a year is not crumbs – it’s real money, and it does make a difference.”

Putting that money back in the hands of Americans was the right thing, she said, because “they can put that money to better use than the federal government can.”

On the issue of border security and immigration, Blackburn again highlighted the differences between herself and Bredesen.

Blackburn, a vocal supporter of Trump’s proposed border wall, said Bredesen calling the wall “political theater” proves he would not adequately protect American security.

“People know that walls work,” she said. “If you doubt that, go talk to the Israelis – they’ll tell you walls do work.”

Moreover, she said, people “want to see a wall on that Southern border.”

Blackburn also said she has been consistently supportive of efforts to get the Affordable Care Act “off the books,” as opposed to Bredesen, who Blackburn says supports a “government-controlled, single-payer system where you would have a 20-percent surcharge on your income every year.”

“There’s some very clear differences in how we would address these issues,” Blackburn said.


If you go

The Grassroots Breakfast begins at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 6, at the Bedford County Agriculture Center Building #2, 2119 Midland Road in Shelbyville.

An RSVP is required for those who want to attend the breakfast, which is free of charge and open to all.

To RSVP, call 615-376-2324 or visit

Erin McCullough may be reached at