He also told a group of community, business and government leaders in Johnson City that “the impeachment talk in Washington weakens us overseas.” Hagerty said it doesn’t help when Republicans like U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah also endorse the impeachment process.
Hagerty, who has been backed by the president in Tennessee’s race for the Senate next year, said that endorsement came as a result of his own business background and outside-the-beltway experience.
“Trump knows I have stood with him when others did not,” he told local leaders.
Hagerty was introduced to the group by former Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, R-Blountville, during a stop at the Johnson City Chamber of Commerce’s headquarters. Ramsey said he has known Hagerty since the candidate served as commissioner of the state Department of Community and Economic Development during Gov. Bill Haslam’s first term.
“I’m 100% behind him,” he said.
Hagerty will face Dr. Manny Sethi, a Nashville orthopedic trauma surgeon, in the Republican primary on Aug. 6. Two Democratic candidates — Nashville attorney James Mackler and Memphis environmental activist Marquita Bradshaw — are also seeking the Senate seat now held by the GOP incumbent, Lamar Alexander, who announced earlier this year he would not be seeking a fourth term in 2020.
As a fourth generation Tennessean growing up Sumner County, Hagerty said his parents instilled in him the values of faith, family and country. He said that upbringing is something he has passed on to his own children.
“My father never graduated from college, but he thought it was important that I did,” he said.
Hagerty said he has helped to grow a number of successful companies during his business career.
“I learned what it’s like to sign the front of a paycheck, not just the back of one,” Hagerty said.
The Republican candidate said “one of the things lacking in Washington today is courage.” Hagerty said he felt called to enter the Senate race “to stand up to expanding Obamacare into Medicare for all,” to oppose the “New Green Deal” and to end abortion.
“I can make a difference, and that’s what we need now,” he said.
Hagerty said he also entered the race after seeing a poll that indicated 75 percent of millennials would vote for a socialist candidate for president.
“Someone has to stand up,” he said.