Wednesday, in a press release from the Joda Thongnopnua campaign, the Democratic candidate for Tennessee’s 30th State House District, called for a range of debates and forums to be held in advance of the November 6th general election for the most competitive state legislative race in Hamilton County and invited his opponent, Esther Helton, to participate.
Thongnopnua highlighted the importance of public discourse and pledged to accept as many debate and forum invitations that he could in an effort to make himself accessible to the residents of District 30. He noted the range of important issues facing the next State Representative for the district, including funding local public schools and expanding Medicaid throughout Tennessee.
“When voters go to the polls, they’ll be making a pretty big decision when they choose their next State Representative. This person will vote on a range of issues like whether or not to raise the minimum wage, to expand Medicaid to over 280,000 working families or not, and will have a vote on whether or not our local school system gets the funding it needs to thrive,” Thongnopnua said. “We can’t afford to skip a discussion about the very real differences my opponent and I have on the issues and our visions for Tennessee.”
In addition to calling for a series of debates and forums, Thongnopnua noted that he has reached out to his opponent directly to coordinate schedules to ensure voters across the district have access to a discussion close to their neighborhood and focused on the local issues that most impact them.
“When you run for office, you’re applying for a job. And these forums and debates are part of the interview process—voters expect us to show up. That’s exactly what I intend to do,” Thongnopnua pledged. “I’ve reached out to Ms. Helton and invited her to join me in this commitment and look forward to discussing the issues with her.”
Thongnopnua indicated that he is looking forward to the discussions and expects a diverse range of community stakeholders, neighborhood associations, and resident groups to host the forums and debates.
The campaign has one forum scheduled for UTC on September 24. Campaign staff said they are working with organizers on a second debate that would take place at East Hamilton High School sometime during the week of October 22.
Tennessee’s 30th State House District includes the East Lake, Missionary Ridge, East Ridge, Brainerd, East Brainerd, Concord, Apison, and Collegedale communities.