MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Marquita Bradshaw became the first African American woman to win a statewide primary in Tennessee, when she won the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate.
Now with the November election a little less than three months away, Bradshaw is setting her sights on making it to Capitol Hill.
“We got a lot more work to do,” Bradshaw said. “So right now, I am calm and focused on flipping the U.S. Senate seat for the people.”
Bradshaw is trying to win the seat of retiring U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander. In the November election, she will face off against Republican Bill Hagerty. She said she plans on winning that election by doing what she did in the primaries, hearing the concerns of the voters.
“We were connected with people by listening to them,” Bradshaw said. “What were the most important issues, the most important federal issues affecting their lives. Issues like better-paying jobs, healthcare, and the environment.”
Bradshaw, who is a home health care worker, says she has been active in environmental issues through the Sierra Club. But, she said being a life-long Memphian and growing up near a Superfund site, at the old Defense Depot on Airways Boulevard, gave her a first-hand view on environmental causes.
“I grew up down the street from a National Priority Super Fund Site, one of the dirtiest in the U.S,” Bradshaw said. “You can’t separate what happened in the environment from people’s health. It will affect your health. It will affect your children’s children health. Because the chemicals change (the) genetic structure and you carry those chemicals even if you move away, and so we have to do something as a nation.”
Bradshaw says the Senate was not passing environmentally safe policies. She says some of the policies were passed through the house but ended up failing when it reached the US Senate, which is why she decided to run.
Despite being the first African American woman to win a statewide primary in Tennessee, Bradshaw says her focus is making it to the nation’s capital.
“It’s supposed to be a momentous occasion for sure but looks how far we have come since the inception of our country,” Bradshaw said. “I am embarrassed that we are just getting to this point. We have to do better.”
Bradshaw says she hopes her election is a first step in the right direction.