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The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Vanderbilt College Republicans host U.S. Congressman Mark Green

Green shared his thoughts on inflation, social issues and foreign policy ahead of the upcoming midterm elections.
Laura Vaughan
Mark Green’s opening remarks to Vanderbilt College Republicans, captured on September 8, 2022. (Hustler Multimedia/Laura Vaughan)

Vanderbilt College Republicans (VCR) hosted U.S. Congressman Mark Green (R) on campus on Sept. 8. With roughly 50 students in attendance, the event featured remarks from Green about his policy positions ahead of the upcoming midterm elections on Nov. 8, along with a Q&A period.

Green is seeking re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives in Tennessee’s 7th Congressional District and is challenged by Democrat Odessa Kelly. With recent redistricting changes, Vanderbilt and large parts of Nashville now reside in Tennessee’s 7th District. 

Vanderbilt students are currently represented by longtime Representative Jim Cooper (D), who will be retiring from Congress after the upcoming election. Nashville has not been represented by a Republican in Congress since 1875. VCR President and senior Shane Mumma said the possibility of Green winning in November especially delights him because of this history.

“I strongly believe in the conservative principles of freedom, limited government, free expression and adherence to the Constitution, so I’m excited to have a representative for Vanderbilt that shares those values,” Mumma said.

Green began the event by describing his upbringing in a poor household and the events that led him to pursue careers in the armed forces, medicine, business and politics. He spoke about how his political focus has shifted to the current economic state of the U.S., especially inflation. He indirectly pointed to the recently-passed Inflation Reduction Act and the climate and energy provisions within it as a source of a worsened economy. 

“[The price of] everything goes up when you attack the energy sector, and what happens with the increased price? Decreased supply of goods, increasing the money in the market,” Green said. “We have record inflation.”

Green also spoke about how he feels that the U.S. should control immigration through its southern border.

“We can talk about how most of those folks want a job. They’re trying to escape corruption. They want to work. But it’s allowing and facilitating the drug cartels to do human trafficking and bring drugs into the United States,” Green said. 

During the Q&A portion of the event, attendees asked questions about abortion access and voting rights issues in Tennessee. Green made it clear that he supports pro-life legislation and that the Tennessee voting system is a “system of integrity.” 

Green went on to answer questions about critical race theory, quoting Martin Luther King Jr. when saying he wishes for a “colorless society.” 

“Slavery [was] unbelievably horrible. The fact that we allowed that in our country is terrible,” Green said. “The problem I have with the critical race theory is that it teaches racism as a mechanism to undo racism.” 

Green was also asked a question about his support for Donald Trump after the National Archives recently found classified documents at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. 

“There are things there that will keep me from supporting him,” Green said.“I’m not gonna hypothesize about what’s there. I’m not gonna go through a list of it.” 

First-year Sam Schulman began a question referring to Green as a “fascist.” Green then responded to the accusation before moving on to other questions. 

“I believe in democracy. In fact, I was willing to die so you could have your right to vote,” Green said. 

Mumma said he disapproved of the disruption. 

“This student’s utter disrespect was beneath the Congressman’s office and against the university’s values of free speech,” Mumma said. “We are always open to free discussion, but shouting insults at the other side and being disrespectful is never okay.”

Schulman stood by his comment after the event, continuing to call Green a fascist.

“He’s willing to compromise democracy for the cult of Donald Trump, all while spewing racist and harmful rhetoric about the degeneracy of the nation brought on by immigrants and the supposed Communist Democrats,” Schulman said. “I have no problem pointing out the obvious because that’s quite literally the least I could do. As long as these extremely dangerous people are invited to campus, I’ll be there to remind them, and everyone in attendance, of how dangerous they are.”

Green was also asked about policies and initiatives he wants to implement if elected to office. He spoke about the Medicaid Improvement and State Flexibility Act he proposed in 2019. It would give patients a swipe card with $1,500 that would allow them to pay their physicians and pharmacies immediately. The money remaining at the end of the year would become part of their earned income credit.

“It actually incentivizes people not to spend and only use healthcare when they need it,” Green said. 

A recurring topic during the event was the relationship between the U.S. and China. One student asked Green to describe his proposals for “moving American businesses to America.” Green explained that when China started dominating the manufacturing business, Latin America developed a greater dependence on China. Green said he wrote a slate of bills intended to break both the U.S.’ and Latin America’s dependence on China. For example, the Bring American Companies Home Act aims to pay for the cost of moving businesses to the U.S. and Latin America using “China tariff money,” per Green. 

“You can be a lighthouse all day and shine on the rocks,” Green said. “I wanna be the ship’s captain.” 

Green closed the event by answering a question related to climate change. He discussed the Green Interchange, an idea he proposed in the state of Tennessee to reduce carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. The nonprofit works to plant trees at the interchange of highways, where trees are usually mowed down. 

“I’m a very conservative Republican, but I want to plant trees,” Green said.

Mumma said he wants VCR to host more events like this one to foster the free flow of ideas on campus.

“We welcome with open arms people from across the political spectrum,” Mumma said. “We have people who identify as Democrats who come to nearly all our meetings for instance, as we are the most active political club at Vanderbilt thanks to our weekly meetings and huge member-base.”

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About the Contributors
Matthew Shipley
Matthew Shipley, Former Senior Staff Writer
Matthew Shipley (‘25) is from Hendersonville, Tenn., and is majoring in economics, mathematics and political science and minoring in data science. He enjoys closely following the U.S. Supreme Court, playing basketball and being involved in his faith community. He can be reached at [email protected].
Tasfia Alam
Tasfia Alam, Multimedia Copy Editor
Tasfia Alam (‘25) is from Los Angeles and is majoring in neuroscience and political science in the College of Arts and Science. When not writing for The Hustler, she can be found obsessing over a new book, trying to expand her music taste or taking pictures of pretty sunsets. You can reach her at [email protected]
Laura Vaughan
Laura Vaughan, Senior Staff Photographer
Laura Vaughan (‘25) is a student in the College of Arts and Science studying mathematics and economics. When not out on an assignment for The Hustler, she can be found studying in the Schulman Center, having lunch at Frutta Bowls or trying to clean her file structure. She is available at [email protected].
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