JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — While the message of unity was a theme throughout Inauguration Day, local Republican and Democratic party leaders are feeling two different emotions as President Biden’s term begins.
“This transfer of power that we saw that happened today, it’s a beautiful thing, it’s the heart of our democracy and to see that happen on the exact same place where two weeks ago we saw violence take place reminds us how fragile that democracy is,” said Washington Co. Democratic Party Chair, Kate Craig. “The especially moving moment was seeing Kamala Harris being inaugurated as the first female vice president, as the first Black and Asian vice president. Just seeing that 100 years after women got the vote. 100 years and now we have the first woman elected to national office.”
Craig and the chair of the Washington Co. Young Republicans, Mason Mosier campaigned for two different candidates.
“Strides that were made especially with the pro-life community, some of our traditional values in economic freedom and prosperity before Covid-19…I hope he won’t reverse a lot of those decisions,” said Mosier.
Meanwhile, Craig is excited for President Biden’s policies to come into place.
“I really want to see him address the environment. I know he’s talked about a $15 an hour minimum wage. There are a lot of people here in Northeast Tennessee that earn on a minimum wage and that would really help a lot of people,” Craig said. “Getting workers to a living wage is one of the most exciting things that we can see coming out early from President Biden’s administration.”
Mosier is concerned about the impacts the Biden administration’s policies could have on the economy.
“While I want to help small businesses with people wearing masks, $15 an hour I know is going to hurt those small businesses, those mom and pop shops that couldn’t be able to afford $15 an hour for people that are in high school,” Mosier said.
The message of unit, bringing both party leaders together with hope.
“As Trump is no longer in office, we have an opportunity to come together. Even if we have differing ideas, we can sit at the table and hash them out. That is also the part of our democracy that I love and we can do that with respect to each other,” said Craig.
“I wanted some conservative leadership up there but I do know that with Biden, he has said that he’s going to work just as hard for those that did not support him as those that are going to support him. So I really hope that he decides to make that decision and work with people across the aisle,” Mosier said. “Biden is committed to working for infrastructure and that is something that we drastically need in this area and something that the Trump administration was going to address but didn’t get the opportunity to…It will be a great opportunity for republicans and democrats to unite.”
The Washington Co. Democratic Party and Washington Co. Young Republicans say their work doesn’t stop now that the inauguration is over with plans to mobilize even in non-election years.