East Tennessee lawmakers discuss how to curb America’s political anger

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Many Americans are shocked and concerned about our country’s political climate after a gunman, who expressed hatred for the GOP, opened fire during a baseball game.

There’s red and blue in our American flag, but in East Tennessee, politics isn’t the same as it is in D.C.

“Democrats or Republicans usually have to deal with each other and you can’t really carry that D and that R as much,” said State Rep. Rick Staples.

More: Rifle-wielding gunman wounds lawmaker, then killed by police

“One thing I learned early on in politics, you can disagree but don’t get personal because tomorrow there’s another issue,” added State Sen. Frank Niceley.

Democrat Rep. Rick Staples says Americans are divided and angry because of things they see on TV and in social media.

“Americans and Tennesseans should be tired of all that rhetoric and all that bickering because it has no place in America’s lives,” he said.

Sen. Niceley is a Republican and added it’s disappointing to see both parties behaving like juveniles.

“Politics has always had its rough side, but I’ve never seen it this hysterical as the left has gotten. It’s just unbelievable,” said Sen. Niceley.

Both lawmakers have differing approaches when it comes to how to calm this contentious climate.

“I believe for elected officials, we need to set the example, to make sure that we have healthy rigorous debates where we show our constituents that we’re able to operate with each other without that hostility and tension,” said Rep. Staples.

“We’re a Republican and we’re going to have another election, and they’ll have a chance to elected somebody else. But just sit back, take it easy, and grow up,” added Sen. Niceley.

While both lawmakers say there’s rhetoric coming from both sides, it’s important for us to research, not take or make things personal, and vote.

“Three years from now, try again,” said Sen. Niceley.

“Understand that everybody doesn’t see the same way you do and respect their opinion,” added Rep. Staples.

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