Opinion: Vote loud and vote Democratic. All. The. Way.

Staff File Photo by Matt Hamilton / "I Voted" stickers are set out for voters in the area.

Governor: Dr. Jason Martin

We've gotten loud. Now it's time to vote loud. Haven't we had enough of nothing from Tennessee and Hamilton County Republicans? The answer is yes. So vote in this Aug. 4 election. And vote Democratic!

In the governor's race, vote for 47-year-old Jason Martin of Nashville, an ICU doctor who has repeatedly taken Tennessee's current governor, Republican Bill Lee, to task for his horrendous inaction and lack of leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Martin recently told the Tennessean that as a director of Hendersonville Medical Center's critical care unit, he saw firsthand the devastation of COVID. Not only has he been a vocal critic of Lee, he signed a letter urging Lee to mandate masks in business during a deadly winter surge of COVID-19. And not just COVID. Martin says Lee's response to most of the state's health problems is to "fend for yourself."

We couldn't agree more, and it's no secret we are not fans of Gov. Lee who we see as a king of Republican dog whistles.

Lee embarrassed our state and shifted his talking points on COVID 19, masking and vaccines with the change in the White House. You'll recall that he was the one - while the orange man was still president - who was so concerned about losing a Tennessee tourism season that not only did he urge masks and vaccines, he ordered up 5 million knitted black sock masks with a TN on them and ordered them to be distributed free around the state.

But then came the November 2020 election, and as soon as Joe Biden took office, sped up the manufacture and distribution of vaccines and pushed for continued masking, Lee and most Republicans turned social distancing, masking and vaccines into red meat. Suddenly the same Tennessee governor who gave out free masks, urged school closures and helped arrange at-home school lessons began ordering schools stay open and allowed parents to "opt-out" their children from face coverings.

The list goes on. Lee raised a ruckus about unaccompanied migrant children being housed in a Chattanooga shelter, claiming it was failed President Joe Biden policy when it was Lee and his administration that had licensed and relicensed the shelter under the former president.

After the Uvalde school shooting and two weekends of mass shootings in Chattanooga, the city's mayor called for "common sense" gun regulations including mandatory background checks on all firearm purchases and a ban on high- capacity magazines. Lee instead announced new safety steps directed at schools - most already in place - and without any additional gun regulations in the state where he had pushed permittless carry.

If you're pulling a Republican ballot in the state's primary election on Aug. 4, write in the name of your crazy uncle or leave Lee's circle blank.

On the Democratic ballot, vote for Martin. His Tennessee health concerns make him the best November competition against the very ignominious Bill Lee.

Congress: Meg Gorman

You'll note when you pick up your Tennessee state primary ballot, that our 3rd District U.S. representative has both Republican and Democratic opposition. That's because Rep. Chuck Fleischmann does very little other than put on a hard hat for pictures at campaign time, tweet praise for our former orange leader whom he still calls "president" and pen complaints about the real president, Joe Biden.

Vote for Democrat Meg Gorman.

She's for people over profits, sound investing to build a strong economy, supporting public servants like teachers, caregivers and healthcare providers, holding the powerful accountable, fixing campaign finance, making voting easier not harder, fair pay, affordable housing, common-sense gun safety laws, women's reproductive rights, going green - in short, she's for all the important stuff.

If you pick up a Republican ballot, just don't mark the circle for District 3. There are only two choices: Fleischmann or Sandy Casey, 63, of Oliver Springs, who wrote in a candidate questionnaire for The Tennessean that her No. 1 priority would be to "Repeal the 1986 National Vaccine Injury Act; bring criminal and civil charges against Dr. Fauci (and others); reverse language in statues which makes medical experimentation on the population legal!"

Frankly, that's no choice at all.

Vote Democratic and vote for Meg Gorman.

District 26, Tennessee House: Allison Gorman

This is really simple. Vote for Allison Gorman for Tennessee's District 26 House of Representatives seat.

It's the seat that former Rep. Robin Smith was forced to vacate after she was charged and pleaded guilty to an a federal wire fraud charge.

Allison Gorman (Meg Gorman's mother) is a writer, editor and native Tennessean who has lived in Chattanooga for 25 years and raised three daughters here. She knows that our laws and policies begin in state legislatures.

"I've researched and written about hundreds of subjects, from state infrastructure funding to TVA's nuclear past and future. As a trained journalist, I make sure I understand the issue from every angle and do a lot of listening before I ever write a word. The laws we have to live by should be written with that same level of care," she states on her campaign website.

Also: she shares: "I refuse to accept the lie that reasonable gun regulations can't reduce gun violence." And: "Our children are our future. Let's invest in them."

As for the rest of Hamilton County's state political delegation, not one single race has primary opposition. That's too bad.

But come November, vote for Gorman again when she will face off against Republican Greg Martin, a Hamilton County commissioner who has been temporarily appointed to fill Smith's seat.

As we noted earlier: We've had enough of nothing from Tennessee and Hamilton County Republicans.