Portland Sun: Mackler speaks in Gallatin

By Bonnie Fussell

Feb. 6, 2020

Democratic candidate for the U. S. Senate James Mackler spoke in Gallatin last week regarding the danger of dark money being funneled into Tennessee to fund campaigns as a result of the Citizens United court ruling 10 years ago. In that ruling, the court held the free speech clause prohibits the government from restricting independent expenditures by corporations to campaigns.

Mackler said he has refused to accept money for his campaign from corporations and is running a grassroots campaign. Last week on the anniversary of the ruling, End Citizens United endorsed Mackler’s campaign. 

He told the group that it was sad to see the corrupting influence of money on democracy every single day and that decision opened the flood gates and has allowed our various individual voices to be flooded by corporate cash.

In addition, he said that we would never get meaningful reform on issues like gun violence until we get dark money out of politics

Mackler is from Chattanooga, served with the 101 Airborne Division in Clarksville, and practiced law in Nashville. As he runs for senate all over the state, he noted that it is apparent Tennesseans are hard-working industrious people who would make better lives for their children if given the chance.

“We’ve lost more real hospitals per person than any other state. The opioid epidemic is ravaging our communities with no national solution. People aren’t even talking about it anymore and this trade war hurts Tennessee more than any other state and the continued economic uncertainty just makes that worse,” Mackler said. 

Mackler left a law practice and joined the military after the 911 attack. He obtained an age waiver to allow him to learn to fly a Black Hawk helicopter during the Iraq War. He came back from Iraq and served as a Judge Advocate General (JAG) and tried military sexual assault cases which he describes as a hideous crime that continues to plague the military today. He continues to serve in the Tennessee National Guard. 

After he left the military, he began working for the Mine Safety and Health Administration because there are mining companies that are putting profits ahead of people and need to be held accountable.

He closed by saying, “I say all this because I stepped up to serve after one crisis when our country was attacked feeling that our country was in crisis, and I feel that same way today. Our country is again in crisis. I again feel that sense of duty and I’m leaving my law practice behind and running for the U. S. Senate.”

Mackler describes himself as a different kind of candidate – an outsider, veteran, and man of faith. He said he and his wife want to raise their children in a country that is governed by courage, where a hard day’s work earns a living wage, where public education is a pathway to opportunity, where access to health care is a right, where women’s health care is a right, and where we are all free to live, love, speak, and pray as we choose. He encouraged people to see freedom of speech as an opportunity to speak up when our government lets us down. 

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