Nashville on the Record: Tennessean

Courtenay Rogers is running for the state legislature as a Democrat in Williamson County. What the heck is she thinking?

You know you are running as a Democrat in Williamson County, right? What other crazy things have you done in your life?

I joined ROTC at Ole Miss as a girl, loved Taylor Swift in my 30s, and ordered a Miller Lite at Flying Saucer.

Seriously, do you think you have any chance to win?

I do. The data shows a clear path to victory. I’m a big fan of math.

Rep. Glen Casada has served the district since 2000. His constituents keep voting him back into office. Why do you think you can represent the people of District 63 better than he can?

District 63 has rarely had an option beside Glen Casada. I’m a single mother, entrepreneur and I could benefit from workforce housing. We’re not all rich in Williamson County, and I’m ready to represent everyone here.

You’ve been an outspoken critic of some Williamson County School Boardmembers. Why not run for School Board? What can you do about education at the state level?

I’ve asked my school board member to resign. Twice. Sadly, she’s not going anywhere. The state legislature can do a much better job of supporting our public schools, and we need an ally in the statehouse.

You served in the Navy. Do you cuss like a sailor?

Yes.

What’s tougher: raising a kid as a single mom or being an officer on a Navy destroyer?

The most productive people I know surround themselves with people who are smarter than they are. When I was in the Navy, every day was about learning about something I didn’t even know existed the day before.

As a single mom, I know the only way I can survive is to learn from other awesome moms around me and ask them for help. My parents are my lifeline. They help me so much with my daughter and I don’t know what I’d do without them. My dad also makes the best spaghetti from a jar ever.

As a military veteran, what did you think of your opponent’s comments about using the Tennessee National Guard to round up Syrian refugees?

I was sick to my stomach. That’s not what the National Guard is here to do.

Even if you’re elected, you’ll be up against a super majority. What do you think you and the other Democrats can actually accomplish?

I moved every two years of my life from the time I was born until the age of 30. I can work with anyone, anytime, anywhere. The only way we’re going to make Tennessee a better place to live is by working together.

What was the best thing the 2016 legislature accomplished?

There were a few really good bills on mass transit that didn’t get the attention they deserved. One thing that passed would set up a framework to fund a mass transit system through public-­private partnerships. You would see cities, counties, the state and investors coming together around one project. It’s an innovative solution that hasn’t been tried in Tennessee but has been effective in other states.

There’s already a “Courtney Rogers” in the legislature. Similarities/differences, please.

Similar: women, veterans. Differences: All of the other things.

You’re a Democrat. You were in the military. What’s your position on the Second Amendment?

The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution reads: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." I served in the military. I was trained to properly handle a firearm. I’m all about people having guns for hunting and self-protection, but let’s put some common sense behind that with background checks and waiting periods.

Donald Trump leads in Tennessee in the early polls. What kind of president do you think he’d make?

Horrible. He would be an appallingly horrible president. Period.

Are you a Hillary fan? Why do you think she gets such a lukewarm response, even from Democrats?

I’m a supporter of Hillary Clinton. She’s almost 70 years old and what she’s accomplished in her lifetime is astounding. I don’t know why she gets a lukewarm response; she’s intelligent, bold, confident and empathetic. We need all of this in a leader.

Traffic to and from Williamson County seems to get worse every day. What do you think are the solutions to this region’s growing transportation needs? We’ve always said we don’t want to become like Atlanta, but I fear it will be like that before anything gets done.

The local elected officials in Williamson County do a great job of strategic planning, but the existing representatives don’t fight to get the money we need at a local level to build new roads, repair existing roads or plan for our future. They are too busy defunding the UT Office of Diversity or naming state guns and pets.

Your opponent was part of a lawsuit questioning whether President Obama was born in America. What frivolous lawsuits do you plan to file if elected?

I want to be able to buy wine on Sunday. I always want wine and Chick­-fil-A on Sundays.

You are one of the founders of Girls to the Moon. Why do you favor rocketing children into space? Or am I misreading that?

I favor empowering young girls to change the world, and if they want to go to space, I’m cool with that.

Your website doesn’t mention that you’re a Democrat. What’s up with that?

I’m a Democrat. I’m also a single mom, veteran and entrepreneur who wants to raise my daughter in an inclusive and safe place. We need to bring common sense back into the equation and stop focusing on party affiliation.