One of the Republican candidates for Tennessee’s open U.S. Senate seat in 2020 paid a visit to Hartsville last week as part of a tour of al 95 of the state’s counties.
Dr. Manny Sethi came into town on a bright orange bus to promote his campaign for the Senate. While in town, he met with County Mayor Stephen Chambers and other officials, and also spoke with The Vidette about why is seeking elected office.
“It all starts with my parents, who were legal immigrants back in the 1970s,” he said. “They came from India, both became doctors and pulled themselves up by their own bootstraps…
“They came to Cleveland, Ohio, which is where I was born. When I was four, we moved to Coffee County in Tennessee.”
After getting his undergraduate degree at Brown University and his medical degree at Harvard, Sethi came back to the Volunteer State where he founded Healthy Tennessee. The nonprofit organization promotes preventative health care that has treated thousands of patients across the state.
“My dad always told me, ‘It doesn’t matter what’s it your bank account, what matters is the difference you make.’ ”
For the last 10 years, Sethi, has been an orthopedic trauma surgeon at Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville. In addition to his medical practice, he has testified before the U.S. Senate on challenges faced in obtaining and maintaining health insurance and has President Donald Trump to discuss Healthy Tennessee and its impact.
“I think this U.S. Senate seat is a generational opportunity to make a difference,” Sethi said. “The time has come when we don’t need a Washington insider or a Mitt Romney 2.0. We need someone who comes from outside government and cares about everyday folks.”
Sethi said the key issues he wants to focus on as a senator are illegal immigration, health care and the economy.
Last year, Sethi released a three-point plan on immigration that consists of building the border wall across the southern border of the U.S., and returning to a merit-based immigration system and ending birthright citizenship for illegal immigrants.
“Right now people come over — low-skilled immigrants — and they can’t survive and so end up on benefits,” he said. “We need people who make meaningful contributions to society.”
Health care and the opioid crisis are other areas of focus for Sethi’s campaign.
“The problem is the federal government has a one-size-fits-all plan for tackling the opioid crisis,” Sethi said. “We need to empower our local officials, mayors, sheriffs, folks who know more about these issues.”
Sethi said he wants to promote faith-based recovery programs for those facing addictions. He became a Christian after the death of his father and said his own faith guides every decision he makes. He, along with his wife Maya and two children, attends McKendree United Methodist Church in Nashville.
The candidate also said he wants to empower small businesses, which he called “the engine of our economy.
“All these big companies, they’re getting bailed out and CARES Act money… But the folks who aren’t connected, they don’t have that. That’s who I care about; those are my people.”
Sethi believes strongly that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic shows the need to bring manufacturing back to America. He said 70% of gowns, gloves and masks used by medical personnel are made in China, as well as 20 of the most commonly used medications in the U.S.
“All these Washington insiders, career politicians, have sold American jobs down the drain to save a buck,” he said. “It’s not just the healthcare supply chain; it’s so many others that we rely on.
“We need to have a second Industrial Revolution in this country and bring these jobs back here.”
Sethi is promoting himself as the outsider candidate, much like Gov. Bill Lee did in his 2018 campaign. Fifteen Republicans are seeking the party’s nomination to succeed Lamar Alexander, with the biggest name among those being Bill Hagerty, former U.S. Ambassador to Japan and former commissioner of Tennessee’s Department of Economic and Community Development.
“I’m someone who comes from completely outside government and I’ve lived my whole life to help people make a difference,” Sethi said. “I’m not someone who’s bought and paid for by the Republican establishment.
“If people wants someone who carries their rural Tennessee values, who’s a Christian conservative and not an outsider, I think I’m your pick.”
Those interested in learning more about Sethi’s campaign can visit his website at www.drmannyforsenate.com.
Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or firstname.lastname@example.org.