First Gubernatorial Debate Held Outside Metropolitan Area
by Scott Arnold
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A televised gubernatorial debate has never happened outside a major metropolitan area, but in one week, a first-of-it's kind gubernatorial debate will be held in Cookeville.
The reason for the change is to make sure the candidates know about the needs of small town Tennessee.
We spoke with several voters in Nashville and Columbia and asked them what was the most important issue facing Tennessee this election year. The majority of folks chose the economy and unemployment as the major concern. It turns out our very unscientific study mirrored what other polls have discovered.
"I think that is the most important thing in Tennessee right now, nothing else matters if people can't pay for anything, said Susan Olivas from Nashville.
So it's no wonder in the Governor's race, everyone wants to know if the candidates can bring jobs to Tennessee. But in more rural areas, a call for a more specific campaign pledge: the next Governor needs to bring more jobs to smaller towns.
Unemployment rates are typically higher in rural counties in Tennessee. In Maury County, the number is around 15 percent. One big reason for the increase, when large manufacturing plants pull out of town, thousands are left without a job, and many with few options.
It's believed job seekers in rural areas have fewer options than those in the city.
"Most people I know drive to Franklin and Nashville area to find a job," Jamie Fogg told us.
Because this dynamic exists, a one-size fits all solution may not work. A problem some believe could be helped if small businesses in rural areas received more aid to keep them open, and keep people off the unemployment line. And remember-- you can be a part of that debate.
Tuesday is the final day to submit written or YouTube questions for the debate. The debate will air on NewsChannel 5 on September 14 at 7 p.m.