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What About Us?

What About Us?

By The TN Holler Podcast Network
What About Us is a discussion about policies that impact rural Tennesseans. We dive into a variety of topics like healthcare, small businesses, employment, education and the environment. Tennessee is 93% rural with over 1.5 million residents, but resources and attention are often directed to urban areas. The rural way of life is valuable and we want to preserve it.

What About Us is part of The TN Holler Podcast Network. Visit to keep up with The Tennessee Holler's relentless coverage that seeks to lift up progressive voices and shine a light on injustices throughout Tennesee.
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Rural Tennessee, Taxed to the Max!
The poor make life good for the wealthy in a regressive tax structure. Tennessee has the worst in the country! Carol Abney, CPA returns to tell us how the American Rescue Plan helps struggling businesses and families in distressed Clay County after Covid. The monied GOP supermajority sends in the suits to tell them what to do. The hospital is still closed.
September 15, 2021
Let’s make it easier to vote! HR-1 with CHRIS HALE
Getting to the polls to exercise our right to vote and participate in Democracy should not be so difficult.  Former Congressional candidate Chris Hale discusses how federal bill HR-1 would make it easier for rural voices to be heard not drowned out by extremists, big contributors and unfairly drawn voting districts.  It is obviously time to standardize to stop the divisions that threaten who we are as Americans and Tennesseans.
August 17, 2021
Poverty & Programs In A Rural County (GRUNDY)
Despite the state's rural initiative in 2018, Tennessee is home to 9 distressed counties where poverty has become persistent and generational. 30 more are at risk. Grundy County in Middle Tennessee in one of them.  Native resident Emily Partin has marshaled resources to improve the lives of children and families by renovating the old Tracy City High School to house multiple support programs. Could this be repeated in other rural counties?
July 14, 2021
TNDP Political Advisor TAMARA BATES
Tamara Bates (political advisor of the TNDP) and Sandy discuss voter suppression that already exists in our state. Other red states try to go as low as Tennessee in stripping the right to vote from citizens. Restrictive photo ID’s, limited absentee balloting, no Sunday voting, no drop boxes, waiting periods and court battles for anything that would make the practice of democracy more convenient for working people, students, young, rural and senior voters. Protecting the voting box means protecting it from you with our conservative GOP majority.
June 10, 2021
More Justice and Peace!
Executive Director of the Cumberland Center for Justice and Peace Lisa Rung talks about her organization's activism and outreach.  They sponsor a variety of activities in rural communities that think globally and act locally... Maybe your group could use some fresh ideas:
May 27, 2021
A Trip to Montgomery
Sandy summarizes her trip to the Equal Justice Initiative’s Legacy Museum and “lynching memorial” and searches for signs of its mission in our state. What About Us? is honored to be a part of the TN Holler Podcast Network.
May 14, 2021
Tennessee Can Do Better for Women
Adrienne Pakis-Gillon knows about women in politics, from the passage of the 19th amendment to her disappointment with the representation of women in our GOP majority legislature. Ladies, can’t we do better for women and children in Tennessee? EPISODE CORRECTION: The correct dollar amount allocated to Tennessee under the American Rescue Plan is $900 million. $346 million is for Child Care Development Fund Flexible Funding and $554 million for Child Care Stabilization Funding. Source — The The White House Fact Sheet: Biden-Harris Administration Announces American Rescue Plan Funding to Rescue the Child Care Industry so the Economy Can Recover. What About Us? is honored to be a part of the TN Holler Podcast Network.
April 23, 2021
What Would Jesus Do?
Elizabeth Madeira, an organizer for the Southern Christian Coalition, discusses recent Tennessee legislation and her views on the intersections between Christian morality and public policy. What About Us? is honored to be a part of the TN Holler Podcast Network.
April 09, 2021
The Importance of Diversity and Inclusion
We need more diversity and inclusion in our national and state discussions. Tullahoma City Alderman Rupa Blackwell joins the show to discuss how she is helping to elevate these issues in her rural community. What About Us? is honored to be a part of the TN Holler Podcast Network.
March 26, 2021
Dental Care for the Uninsured
Bruce Baird DDS joins to talk about the patients he volunteers to care for twice a month in Beersheba Springs, Tennessee. Dental care is a basic need that all people have a right to - this is yet another area where Tennessee could do a better job for its citizens. Check out and support the Beersheba Springs Medical Clinic What About Us? is honored to be a part of the TN Holler Podcast Network.
March 12, 2021
Rosa Parks and Tennessee
For Black History Month and in honor of Rosa Parks' birthday (February 4th!), we take a look at her life, including the importance the Highlander Folk School in Monteagle, Tennessee had on her life and activism. Another connection Parks had to Tennessee were the words spoken by then-Senator Frist as she was lying in state in the US Capitol Rotunda. What About Us? is honored to be a part of the TN Holler Podcast Network.
February 26, 2021
Food Insecurity in Tennessee and the Nation
"Why can't we feed everyone? This is the United States!" You’ve donated or received food assistance during the pandemic, will the need ever end? In this two-part episode, you'll hear from a local community group that uses unused food portions to feed people in their area, and from the Tennessee Justice Center, which defines and discusses the reasons for food insecurity. What can we do to alleviate it now and eliminate it post-pandemic?  Guests: Rick Wright, Director of Dining Services University of the South Rev. David Goodpaster, Director of Otey Memorial Parish's Community Action Committee Signe Anderson Director of Nutritional Advocacy at Tennessee Justice Center What About Us? is honored to be a part of the TN Holler Podcast Network.
February 12, 2021
South Africa and the US: Similarities in Epidemic Response
How are the responses to AIDS in South Africa and COVID in the US similar and how do we stop denialism before it kills us? Renee Schatteman, Associate Professor of Postcolonial and World Literature at Georgia State University, joins the show to talk about what we can learn from South Africa's mistakes during the AIDS epidemic and their successes in their response to COVID. Cultural considerations come to the podcast! We apologize for a few audio issues in this episode but hope you enjoy the substantive content. Read Renee's article here What About Us? is honored to be a part of the TN Holler Podcast Network.
January 29, 2021
How Small Farmers Have Handled the Pandemic
Jess Wilson joins again to talk about local food farming programs during the Covid pandemic as well as issues our farmers continue to face as they try to bring income and work equality to a rural industry. Jess' Business:  In Town Organics and Summer Fields National Young Farmers Coalition What About Us? is honored to be a part of the TN Holler Podcast Network.
January 15, 2021
The Many Facets of Voter Suppression
Perceived problems with the 2020 election are historical but many things like government IDs, long lines, limited hours, closed polling places, intimidation and misinformation have been chipping away at our ability and willingness to vote for years.  We the people will need to overcome voter fraud in all its forms or risk losing our right to self-govern. What About Us? is honored to be a part of the TN Holler Podcast Network.
December 18, 2020
The Science Behind the Coronavirus Vaccine
Dr. John Palisano, former Professor at the University of the South, joins again to talk about the Coronavirus and why it has proven to be so deadly, but also about the amazing science and technology that will bring us vaccines in the next few weeks.  How do vaccines work and why it is so important to get one? Effective and safe - welcome back science, we missed you! What About Us? is honored to be a part of the TN Holler Podcast Network.
December 14, 2020
Rural TN is RED!
All of our great Rural Caucus candidates were defeated.  TNDP Rural Caucus Chair Anne Quillen tells us why Democrats struggle to win in Tennessee.  In reality, we all have many similarities in our ideas and dreams of a good life but when misinformation and divisiveness rule no one will be able to achieve them.  We discuss how Democrats can better get their message to more voters and create a better Tennessee. What About Us? is honored to be a part of the TN Holler Podcast Network.
November 27, 2020
REBROADCAST: A More Democratic System with Dr. Andrea Hatcher
This is a rebroadcast of the  August 27, 2020 episode of with Dr. Andrea Hatcher.  This election we DO have a clear winner in both the electoral college and popular vote but it hasn’t always been the case. Donald Trump would never have been President if not for the antiquated and un-Democratic Electoral College. Dr. Hatcher also proposes that spreading misinformation about a candidate or election is a form of fraud. What About Us? is honored to be a part of the TN Holler Podcast Network.
November 13, 2020
A Confederate General's Descendant on Reckoning with Monuments
We hear "Erasing history" and "destroying our heritage” but what does one family member raised in the South and great-grandson of a revered Confederate General think about the removal of a monument from the public square? Louis Rice joins to discuss. What About Us? is honored to be a part of The TN Holler Podcast Network.
November 06, 2020
Opening Our Perspectives with Jenn Foley, Candidate for HD65
We conclude our interviews with Tennessee state candidates with Dr. Jenn Foley running for House District 65. She summarizes issues and concerns expressed by constituents across the state and the need for relief from the GOP super-majority agenda.  We need more discussion, representation and balance, along with less arrogance and paternalism. Please go out and vote for a better Tennessee for all Tennesseans. What About Us? is honored to be a part of The TN Holler Podcast Network.
October 23, 2020
What About Us and Government Transparency?
Elizabeth Madiera, House Candidate for District 63, discusses the murkiness surrounding the passage of the voucher bill under her opponent Glen Casada’s “leadership”. It’s unpopular, unconstitutional, under investigation by the FBI, and unseated him as leader of the house. We need the General Assembly to be out of the Republican supermajority, better balanced, and more transparent to achieve better legislation. What About Us? is honored to be a part of The TN Holler Podcast Network.
October 16, 2020
What About Broadband?
Robyn Deck, candidate for Tennessee's State House District 25, needs better broadband service. It is vital for rural health services, business, and education. So why do so many other things take priority in the General Assembly? Robyn has a plan and we need a change. How about we elect some people with new ideas willing to do the work for rural priorities? What About Us? is honored to be a part of the TN Holler Podcast Network.
October 09, 2020
Who Does "Right to Work" Really Serve? with Mariah Phillips
Mariah Phillips, candidate for State House Rep in District 37, joins Sandy to talk about what it means to be a “Right to Work” state.  They both urge caution as the General Assembly considers chiseling the law into the Tennessee State Constitution. Unions get a bad rap and low wages have bought many jobs to Tennessee but what are the long-term consequences of handing our future to big corporations? Hasn’t the pandemic uncovered many inequalities in worker’s safety and security? What might this mean for our future? What About Us? is honored to be a part of the TN Holler Podcast Network.
October 02, 2020
What About Medical Marijuana in Tennessee?
Candidate Jarvus Turnley for State House District 66 and I talk about legalizing medical marijuana.  A Vanderbilt study reports that 80% of Tennesseans support it and 33 states already do but the GOP General Assembly balks. We also review CBD and THC as well as efforts to decriminalize marijuana possession and criminal justice reform. What About Us? is honored to be a part of the TN Holler Podcast Network.
September 25, 2020
How a Former Railway is Helping Ecotourism in Rural Tennessee
Executive Director of the Mountain Goat Trail Alliance Patrick Dean discusses the amazing success of this multi-use former rail bed.  Currently stretching across the Cumberland plateau from Sewanee to Tracy City, it is a perfect example of ecotourism. It conserves the natural environment also has improved the welfare of local people. What About Us? is honored to be a part of the TN Holler Podcast Network.
September 18, 2020
Rural Democrats with Anne Ferrell Quillen
Anne Ferrell Quillen is the President of the recently formed and awesome TNDP rural caucus.  Although rural areas are represented by elected officials, they don’t seem to have us in mind when they vote with the GOP supermajority. Expanding Medicaid for rural hospitals, funding for public schools and infrastructure, and developing economic opportunities for our businesses, communities and way of life are all essential issues for rural Tennessee. We do make up 93% of the state. Let’s elect some homegrown candidates to make some change. What About Us? is honored to be a part of the TN Holler Podcast Network.
September 11, 2020
The Electoral College with Dr. Andrea Hatcher
Who chooses the President, the people, or the Electoral College?  “It’s complicated,” says my guest Dr. Andrea Hatcher, professor of politics and pre-law at The University of the South.  The founders would be surprised that we are still using this system despite its flaws and threat to democracy.  Would the popular vote be a more equitable way?  How could this be changed? Please vote. What About Us? is honored to be a part of the TN Holler Podcast Network.
August 27, 2020
Distressed Rural Counties with Carol Abney
Carol Abney, candidate for TN House District 38, knows about distressed counties and closed rural hospitals. Fentress and 3 other TN counties were removed from the bottom 10% of economic performers across the country but 2 more in this district remain on the list.  A licensed CPA, Carol discusses the tax burdens, limited resources, inaccessible medical care, and lack of job opportunities that keep rural residents distressed.  The TN Rural Initiative provides" window dressing” when real financial support from the state government is needed. What About Us? is honored to be a part of the TN Holler Podcast Network.
August 20, 2020
Why All Democrats Support Medicaid Expansion with Sheila Younglove
Senate Candidate District 16, Sheila Younglove, joins us again to answer the question: Why Medicaid Expansion is supported by every Democrat running for state office. It is because it is outrageous that affordable health care for thousands of Tennesseans has barely been discussed in the General Assembly since Governor Haslam’s Insure Tennessee was rejected in committee in 2014. With the pandemic, an estimated 750,000 Tennesseans could become uninsured! It is unlikely that the 3rd legislative session will even consider adopting Medicaid Expansion as have 38 states.  We really need some change in our state government. Vote wisely. What About Us? is honored to be a part of the TN Holler Podcast Network.
August 14, 2020
Our Schools Reopening Amidst a Pandemic with Civil Miller-Watkins
Civil Miller-Watkins is running for State Senate District 26  and joins me to discuss TN’s plan for students to return to school amid a pandemic. She is a mother of 8, a current school board member, and is very familiar with homeschooling and virtual learning. The lack of state plans for managing COVID19 and school reopening as well as a lack of broadband in all rural areas makes learning more difficult in Tennessee.
August 07, 2020
Unity and A High School Mascot
Franklin High School’s mascot is a colonel and if you wonder if he is a Confederate - the school colors of blue and grey, fight song “Dixie” and the depiction of the bars and stars of the battle flag on the school seal make it obvious. Their mascot is a rebel against the United States to maintain slavery and a rebel against an order to desegregate schools, so no wonder African-American students and alumnae have asked for decades to have these symbols of oppression and exclusion removed. Guest Shanae Williams knows her history, and so do the hearts of community members who have signed a petition for change ( How will they fare with the county school board and conservative residents in this time of sustained desire to end to systemic racism in all its forms? What About Us? is honored to be a part of the TN Holler Podcast Network.
July 31, 2020
How About Our History?
What if we studied a truer version of history, with all its failed and bloody battles, gruesome beatings, lynching, slavery and theft of land from Native Americans? Would we be a better nation, a better people?  Dr. John Willis, professor of Southern History at the University of the South tells a true story of what residents of a rural Tennessee town experienced in the lawless conditions late in the Civil War.
July 23, 2020
What About Our Teachers and Schools?
The TN budget was cut by $1 billion in June due to reduced revenue from the COVID 19 and financial crises.  The rainy day fund and Gov Lee's pet voucher program are  "safe" but public school teachers and schoolchildren were kicked to the side of the curb. But public school teachers and children were kicked to the side of the road again. State Senate candidate for District 14 Chase Clemons discusses how rural Tennessee values for quality education are not shared by our representatives in the General Assembly.
July 08, 2020
Women and Mothers in Tennessee
Candidate for State Senate District 16 Sheila Younglove talks about how TN policies affect the lives of mothers and women in the state. From unspent federal dollars for temporary assistance, high rates of gun violence against women, refusal to expand Medicaid, or even post-partum benefits, the health and safety of women is not a priority for our legislators.
June 29, 2020
What About Us and COVID19?
Dr. Susan Andrews, Medical Director of Beersheba Springs Medical Clinic in underserved Grundy County laments the sluggish national and state responses to the Covid 19 and economic crises. The least Tennesseans can do is wear a mask, social distance and avoid gatherings. Why can’t many even do that?
June 25, 2020
Confederate Symbols, What Do They Mean Now?
A Black American died under a policeman's knee on May 25 and the country said "enough".  Will we as rural Tennesseans say enough as well?  For over 150 years, the uplifting of symbols and leaders of a lost Civil War defined the South but now we have to choose how we define our future.
June 19, 2020
Are We Pro-Life?
Are we anti-abortion, pro-choice, or pro-life? It's an issue we have debated, fought over with cruelty and violence, and divided ourselves over at least since Roe vs. Wade in 1973.  Why, when we all agree that life is precious? What does it truly mean to be pro-life?
May 15, 2020
How About Refugees?
Refugee policy from the US to a rural Tennessee county government.
April 15, 2020
How Will Coronavirus Affect Us?
What is a virus, why is hand washing so important, and aren't vaccines dangerous too?  You've heard what to do to prevent coronavirus but why? Dr. John Palisano is a biologist with experience in studying viruses and will give us the science and history of viruses and tell us what we can do to protect ourselves.
March 27, 2020
How About Us and Clean Water?
Dr. Jon Evans, Botanist at the University of the South reminds us that we need to know about science in order to demand legislation that reflects our values-like clean water. The Clean Water Act of 1972 and other environmental policies are rapidly being rolled back. Is a dirty planet what we want?
March 15, 2020
Rural Health Care, Hospitals and the Medicaid Block Grant
Rural Tennesseans want accessible, affordable, quality health care. They want their hospitals to stop closing. Governor Lee and the legislature answer, not with Medicaid Expansion, a proven commodity for over 30 states but an untested Medicaid Block Grant. Not only is its legality questioned but not a single hospital or uninsured individual would be saved.
March 03, 2020
What About Our Farmers?
Jesse Wilson is a traditional farmer in that she has animals and grows food. Our farmers are aging, young farmers face incredible challenges. What will our rural communities look like if large corporate farms prevailed?
March 01, 2020
Welcome to Season 2 of "What About Us?"
We begin Season 2 of "What about us?" A  discussion of policies that impact rural Tennesseans with interviews, discussion, and personal stories on a variety of topics such as health care accessibility, small businesses, employment, education, and the environment. We hope you'll join us, be on the lookout for the first episode of Season 2, coming soon!
February 19, 2020
Recap of Season 1 - "What About Us?"
A recap of the podcast's first season.
December 31, 2019
How About the GREEN NEW DEAL?
Lauren Newman with a degree in environmental sustainability and chemistry debunks hysteria about the New Green Deal. It is not a policy or legislation but a resolution for what America needs to do to avoid a climate disaster. Get on it, future generations depend on it.
December 17, 2019
Stop the Block! Tennessee Proposes Experiment on our Most Vulnerable!
How to stop the Tennessee's Medicaid Block Grant Proposal.
December 09, 2019
How About Guns and Rural Tennessee?
Gun violence in Tennessee is increasing annually with tragic results for women, children and teens with domestic abuse, unintentional shootings and suicide.
December 04, 2019
Rural Tennessee and the 2nd Amendment
A discussion of the history of the 2nd Amendment and federal gun legislation.
November 20, 2019
What about us, WE THE PEOPLE?
The Constitution and what it says about executive power, Congress and Impeachment.
November 03, 2019
What about Tennessee taxes, no income tax but highest sales tax in the country! AND What about the national deficit?
High sales tax, no income tax, income inequality and the national debt are topics for discussion with CPA Lenda Sherrell.
October 24, 2019
Tennessee requests a Medicaid Block Grant? What about us?
The issues with Tennessee's proposed Medicaid Block Grant are outlined and action suggested.
October 08, 2019
What About Our Rural Health Care Providers?
Dr. Amy Evans discusses the challenges of providing primary care in rural TN.
September 26, 2019
Would a national health program like Medicare for All help with our rural health care crises?
Dr. Carol Paris, past president of Physicians for a National Health Program and future rural resident tells us that health care for all is possible. Many countries have done this for decades but current leaders tell us that we just can’t. Become a believer.
September 12, 2019
Why Are Our Rural Hospitals Closing?
Randall Rice from the TN Health Care Campaigns outlines the reasons for rural hospital closures and what we must do about it.
August 29, 2019
What About School Vouchers?
Legislation regarding school vouchers appears to benefit only 2 urban counties in Tennessee.
August 15, 2019
Federal Healthcare Plans and Rural Tennesseans
A comparison of Medicaid, Medicaid Expansion and the Medicaid Block Grant and their potential to provide affordable, accessible health care to rural areas in Tennessee.
August 01, 2019
How has the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act affected small businesses in rural Tennessee?
A discussion of several national and state policies that affect rural small businesses.
July 19, 2019
What about us?
Introduction to podcast, What about us?
July 05, 2019
News Sources in Rural Tennessee
Where do rural Tennesseans get their news?
July 05, 2019