As the November presidential election draws nearer, an area candidate for national office spoke about the importance of voting and people having safe access to the polls.
Meg Gorman is running on the Democratic ticket against U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN) for the U.S. House of Representatives seat in District 3.
She spoke with The Daily Post-Athenian recently to discuss various issues taking place in the country leading up to the November election.
Gorman said the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed some concerns for her regarding the upcoming election.
“Having this pandemic hit when it did really was eye-opening for a lot of people,” she said. “It showed us where our current system is failing us.”
However, she added, there are ways to overcome those obstacles.
“This is an opportunity to come together as Americans, cast our votes and fight for a stronger country,” she noted. “That means a country and government that is going to work for the people instead of just for the people in power.”
She emphasized topics including “working families being able to make ends meet,” “people having the resources they need” and “children being able to receive quality education regardless of their zip code” as important as November approaches.
“All of these things will be on the line this fall,” she said. “It’s really big.”
She also expressed concerns over changes being made — that have since been halted until after the election — to the United States Postal Service (USPS).
“Having mailboxes removed, having mail sorting machines removed, there are big concerns there,” she said.
Gorman noted that vote by mail is a good option for people with the coronavirus looming over the election season.
“It has been there, it has been active, it has been great for those states,” she said. “I would love to see other states be able to do that as well. It is absolutely essential that people are able to vote … without putting themselves at risk.”
While the removal of mail sorting machines and little-used mailboxes has been ongoing for several years — prior to the current Trump administration in many cases — Gorman said the pandemic has changed things.
“It is different now, especially considering we have many Americans, especially veterans, who are reliant on their medications coming by mail and coming in a timely manner,” she said. “That is one of the most concerning pieces of this for me.”
Gorman said that, during a time when being out in public can increase risk, doing things like voting and receiving items by mail should be encouraged.
“What we’re seeing with the post office is completely inappropriate,” she said. “There should not be removal of sorting machines or drop boxes. That should not be happening, especially when we’re looking at the country in a pandemic.”
She explained that, instead of moving machines out, the focus should be on “rejuvenating our post office.”
“There are certain functions our post office can take on similar to what we’ve seen in other countries,” she said, citing basic banking and small loan services as examples. “We need to bolster the current services to make them more efficient and effective.”
As for voting by mail, Gorman said expanding it should be considered.
“Long term, there are other states that have been using vote by mail and it has gone smoothly for them,” she said. “This is a good opportunity for us to recognize this is a strong system, this works and this can work in various states.”
Gorman also gave her thoughts on the presidential portion of the November election, which pits current President Donald Trump against former vice president and Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
“I think we have someone in office right now who is doing damage to our democracy and who is doing damage to our country and it is under the guise of helping the little guy,” she said. “Between him and some of the legislation that has been written, many of those that claim to help small businesses and claim to help working class people actually don’t. Corporations are paying massive amounts of money to lobby and get legislation written in their favor.”
She argued that there is an easy way to tell that legislation that has been passed during Trump’s administration hasn’t been helping the working class and small businesses as claimed.
“If that was the case, we wouldn’t see massive corporations and industry giants supporting that legislation,” she said.
Gorman argued that change in Washington, D.C. is important right now.
“I really want to see change in the country’s leadership,” she said. “Right now, it is lacking and it’s really doing a great deal of damage to our country. I look forward to having somebody in office who treats people with kindness, who treats people with respect and who will work hard for the people of this country.”