The Tennessean Editorial Board asked candidates on the Aug….. 4 state and
federal primary ballot in Tennessee to answer our questionnaire. Find
biographical information and their responses to 10 questions. Early voting
started on July 15.
Name: Mark Harmon
Age (at time of Aug. 4 election): 65
Neighborhood, town and/or city: North Hills neighborhood of Knoxville
Education: Ph.D., Ohio Univ., 1988; MS Syracuse, 1981; BA Penn State, 1979.
Job history: 1999 to Present, Professor, Journalism & Electronic Media,
University of Tennessee 1988 to 1999, Professor, Texas Tech University,
Lubbock, Texas 1982 to 1988, Instructor, Xavier University, Cincinnati, Ohio
1989 to 1991, Producer, KAMC-TV, Lubbock, Texas
Family: Married to Becky Harmon since 2003. One sister, one niece, one
Ten Questions about your Candidacy
What office are you seeking?
US House, TN 2 (Democrat)
Why are you running for this office?
Awful votes, and there are many of them, on my website. He seems to want to
be a Twitter critic of Congress. I want to apply the skills I learned as a county
commissioner to bring people together for serious and beneficial policies; I’m
committed to diligent and ethical public service.
What makes you qualified to hold this office and better qualified than your
opponent(s)? (Please specify if you are unopposed, but feel free to answer)
I am uncontested in the Democratic primary, but in November I am better
qualified than Tim Burchett because he has “gone to the swamp and become
just another swamp creature.” I want to represent working families and their
needs. Crisis reveals character. Burchett caved to the Jan. 6 insurrectionists.
When Knox County endured the Black Wednesday scandals, I testified for more
than 3 hours about commission’s abuses, helping the open meetings citizens
prevail. I served on Knox County Commission, 2006 to 2010.
How can you make the biggest impact on your community through this
I can help families achieve their aspirations by rewarding work, making college
more affordable, and securing reproductive freedom for women.
If you are elected (or re-elected), what are your top 2 to 3 priorities for your
new (or next) term in office?
- Increase the minimum wage
- Expand the grants available to students for college and other postsecondary education
- Protect women’s rights by codifying into statutory law the abortion rights
protections in the Roe and Casey decisions
What are you hearing most from voters about what they want you to
accomplish, if elected?
Voters want an honest and fair congressman, one not beholden to corporate
power. In conversations across the district, many agree with my policy ideas
and my approach to getting things done. They like my willingness to debate and
are concerned my opponent is ducking debates.
What else do you want voters to know about you that will help them make
an informed decision on Election Day?
I care deeply about my community. I volunteered to be a speech and debate
coach for Knoxville College, 1999 to 2003. For nine years I was a “big” in the Big
Brothers program. My candidacy is about giving back, and opening doors of
opportunity in gratitude for the doors that were opened for me.
Tell us about a mentor or guide who made a difference in your life and what
wisdom would you impart to the community?
In Texas, I became a friend of Molly Ivins. I miss her dearly. The late, great
columnist taught me to fight like hell for what is right and keep a good sense of
humor about yourself and the right.
Will you commit to being civil in how you present yourself and the way you
interact with opponents and others? (Our definition of civility is being a
good, active, honest, and respectable citizen)*
A fun question: What are one or two attractions (restaurants, parks,
venues, etc.) that visitors cannot miss if they come to your community?*
No visit to Knoxville is complete without a trip to Market Square or a stroll
down Gay Street to the historic and restored Tennessee Theater.
Article Published in The Tennessean