I was employed at the Clean Water Network during the 2008 coal ash disaster at the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Fossil Plant in Kingston, Tennessee. A pond storing coal ash collapsed, releasing 4.2 million cubic yards of coal ash into the Tennessee River. It was the largest coal ash spill in the history of the United States, and since, 36 clean up workers have died from exposure to it.
Soon after the spill, I asked TVA to tour the site, as the director of a state-wide organization. TVA told me that they don’t give tours. I told them that either they take me or I’ll get in my kayak and take myself.
Two days later, they met me at the gate for a tour. Three months later, I testified in front of a Congressional subcommittee about what I saw.
That wasn’t my first run-in with powerful, formidable special interests, but luckily – I’m not easily scared off.
On my campaign, I’m continuing that fight against special interests. Because, right now, Congress doesn’t work for working people. It works for wealthy executives and powerful special interests. It works for incumbent politicians and their high-paid consultants. But it doesn’t work for us.
That’s why, on my campaign, I’m not taking a single dollar from corporations or special interests. Elected officials should spend their time governing, not in secret meetings behind closed doors.