The Tennessean editorial board asked candidates for the August 4 state and federal primary in Tennessee to answer our questionnaire. Find biographical information and their answers to 10 questions. Early voting began on July 15.

Biographical information

  • Last name: Randal Cooper
  • Age (at time of August 4 election): 51
  • Neighborhood, town and/or city: Nashville
  • Education: Georgia Technology
  • Work history: Mechanical engineer
  • Family: Married to Laura, father of Philip, 5 years old

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Ten questions about your candidacy

What office are you looking for? (Include district):

6th Congressional District (Democrat)

Why are you running for this office?

When the Tennessee Legislature divided Nashville into three different districts in an attempt to win an additional congressional seat, I realized that no one was showing up who represented true progressive values. I want to make this country a better place for my son to live, where he will be safe in school and not burdened with massive public debt from Republican tax giveaways, where he will have freedom of speech and can make a good living to support his family, and most importantly, that he will continue to live in an America that is a democracy.

What makes you qualified for this position and better qualified than your opponent(s)? (Please specify if unopposed, but feel free to respond)

As an engineer, my job is to identify and fix problems, not to reimburse big donors. While that makes me a bad politician, it does mean that when I’m in power I can focus on making things better instead of trying to pay political favors. It also means that I can listen to the voters in my constituency and vote in their interest, rather than in the interest of a big company or a pressure group.

How can you have the greatest impact on your community through this position?

A member of Congress has a responsibility to act with honesty and integrity, to set an example of how an honorable person should behave. The biggest impact someone in this position can have is showing the difference between being powerful and being good. There are a lot of powerful people in Washington, and a lot of people want to be powerful. There are very few who want to be good.

If you are elected (or re-elected), what are your 2 to 3 priorities for your new (or next) mandate?

Limiting ourselves to two or three priorities is a luxury when there is so much to settle, but we must guarantee free and fair elections, guarantee the right of everyone to make their own decisions about their own body and protect workers in their guaranteeing affordable health care and decent wages. We also have to fight inflation, which is the result of decades of loose federal monetary policy combined with a highly regressive tax structure – basically giving money to big business and then letting them take profits without putting it back into the system that allowed these excessive profits in the first place.

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What do you hear most from voters about what they want you to accomplish, if elected?

Voters in my constituency are angry with Republicans and the Supreme Court for stripping them of their constitutional right to abortion, and those same Republicans plan to strip them of even more rights: birth control, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion. We see the Supreme Court, time and time again, rule against free and fair elections and the people’s right to choose their government. way. The people I talk to want this fixed, and I aim to do whatever I can to fix it.

What else do you want voters to know about you to help them make an informed decision on Election Day?

Tennessee’s Sixth District hasn’t always been dominated by far-right Republicans. It was the district that sent Al Gore to Congress – even after he was gerrymander for the 1982 election. Notwithstanding the past twelve years, the 6th District has a history of sending savvy candidates from both parties to represent them. , and I believe they will do so again, if they make the right choice. My parents (both teachers) raised me to do the right thing even when it wasn’t popular, and to try to set a good example for others.

Tell us about a mentor or guide who made a difference in your life and what wisdom would you share with the community?

When I was in college, I befriended Eugene Walter, who was often described as a “Renaissance man” because of his storied career – Air Force cryptographer, writer, interviewer, actor. He taught me to always be open to new possibilities, to not live in fear of the unknown and to always be curious.

Will you commit to being civil in how you present yourself and how you interact with opponents and others? (Our definition of civility is being a good, active, honest and respectable citizen)


A fun question: What are one or two attractions (restaurants, parks, places, etc.) that visitors cannot miss if they come to your community?

I live in East Nashville and our attractions are well documented in publications ranging from the Tennessean to the New York Times – The Basement East, East Side Bowl, Tomato Art Fest. But there are wonderful places all around the 6th Ward, from Stardust Drive-In in Watertown to Fall Creek Falls State Park. The 6th arrondissement covers a wide range of geographies and viewpoints, but there are plenty of great places for everyone to share.

Call Opinion and Engagement Director David Plazas at (615) 259-8063, email him at [email protected] or tweet him at @davidplazas.