In March, Marquita Bradshaw brought her campaign for U.S. Senate to Cumberland County for a meeting with Crossville Indivisible group.
Bradshaw is running for Sen. Lamar Alexander’s seat on the Democratic ticket and seeks support for her campaign.
Bradshaw is native of Memphis.
Bradshaw said, “Leadership starts with listening and boots on the ground.”
She is traveling to all 95 counties in Tennessee to get in touch with voters, hear their concerns and discuss the future of Tennessee.
Bradshaw said she has extensive experience in the environmental justice movement, and advocates for human rights. She grew up in South Memphis, is an alumna of University of Memphis and takes pride in being a single working-class mother.
Bradshaw said she is a volunteer project director for Defense Depot Memphis, Concerned Citizens Committee. She is one of the 11 founding members of Youth Terminating Pollution. As a project director, Bradshaw said she fights for her childhood community, raises awareness and fights for justice for contamination from the Memphis Defense Depot Superfund site. The superfund site is a chemical and biological warfare landfill.
“I have a history for volunteering for what’s right. We didn’t just sit back and complain. We got involved. This goes beyond just voting. This is a personal journey for me to engage in the process and stand up for what’s right and listen to the people of Tennessee,” Bradshaw said. “We have an opportunity right now to take our democracy back.”
Bradshaw said she championed many community causes in Memphis and throughout Tennessee and has worked as an organizer at local, state and national levels, including work with the Mid-South Peace & Justice Center, Sierra Club, Stand for Children, Tennesseans for Fair Taxation and the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations.
She said her career and service have spanned labor, environment, education reform, tax reform, trade policy and social justice work with the Tennessee African American Environmental Justice Network.
“I’m running as a first-time candidate for the United States Senate because I care about what happens in my community, and I care what happens to people in Tennessee. I have engaged with people around voting, advocacy and policy throughout my career. Many of these times we were reacting and responding to federal policies, especially when interacting with federal agencies around the clean-up process. I’m running for Senate because it seems that is where everything gets hung up and delayed. I want to be the one to help get things done,” Bradshaw said.
She said she’s passionate about all communities across Tennessee being healthy and safe for living, learning, working, worshiping and recreating.
“We have an opportunity to build a greater legacy. Working together, we can address the truth of what Tennesseans are experiencing,” Bradshaw said.
She said there are several areas that need to be addressed for the people of Tennessee.
She said she would work hard to develop policies that transition away from pollution for the environment that creates jobs.
“We can improve national security when we transition to cleaner technologies of energy and implement a plan to rapidly phase and scale up renewable sources of energy. A recycling and reuse supply chain can be strengthening to the economy and create jobs. Zero waste is possible by having complete life-cycle plans for products and a plan to decrease and eventually eliminate waste, Bradshaw said.
She said she wants to strengthen public education Pre-K through 12 that prepares students to be successful in higher education settings, in the workforce and as entrepreneurs.
“We can create policies to make higher education debt a practice of the past,” she said.
Bradshaw said she’d like to work toward building an economy that works for working families.
“We need to make health care patient-centered, accessible and affordable with adequate facilities in urban and rural areas,” she said.
“We need a criminal justice system that utilizes restorative justice principles that treats people with addiction with mental health services,” Bradshaw said. “After people serve their time, their voting rights should be restored and be able to re-enter the workforce.”
She said it’s imperative for “officials to be accessible to the people and to do what they say.”
Bradshaw said she would concentrate on the opioid crisis, health care issues, maintaining clean water and renewable energy choices.
The Tennessee state primary is Aug. 6, and the general election is Nov. 3.