Knoxville News Sentinel: Opinion | Jason Kander speaks truth to abuses of power

Jason Kander, 36, is a rising Democratic Party star. He came to Knoxville on Feb. 24 in his role as president of Let America Vote, an organization he started in Missouri. It is devoted to fighting against voter suppression proposals and laws. He declared that Tennessee is one of five states his organization is expanding to serve.

Kander spoke to a group of more than 200 people at a Knox County Democratic Party event at the Beck Center. He spoke in front of a timeline of the battle for civil rights and took that opportunity to explain voter suppression in civil rights terms. As Missouri’s secretary of state, and thus chief election official, he had a front-row seat to how Republican legislative supermajorities wield voter suppression as a campaign strategy.

Kander is an Army intelligence officer who volunteered to serve a tour in Afghanistan, and he takes no guff when he hears superfluous arguments about needing a photo ID, for example, to check into a hotel. That came up during the question-and-answer period. “I didn’t go to Afghanistan for your right to check into a hotel,” he said to applause.

The battle against voter suppression is a topic on Kander’s popular podcast, “Majority 54,” named for the 54 percent of us who didn’t vote for Donald Trump. He also advances progressive causes like greater college affordability, criminal justice reform, and defending, expanding and improving the Affordable Care Act.

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