With the retirement of Senator Alexander, a race is on to become Tennessee’s next senator.
It’s up to sportsmen and outdoor enthusiasts to let candidates know that the great outdoors is an important voting issue. So, Tennessee Wildlife Federation asked every candidate to share their views on conservation, and below are the responses we received.
Below are the views of candidate Manny Sethi. All answers, information, and images are unedited and appear as they were provided by the campaign.
Primary voting ends August 6. Find your polling location here.
About Manny Sethi
Dr. Manny Sethi is an orthopedic trauma surgeon and Associate Professor at a leading trauma care hospital in Nashville.
He is the founder of Healthy Tennessee, a nonprofit organization designed to promote preventative health care across the state. This organization has cared for thousands of patients in almost every county in Tennessee.
Raised in Hillsboro, Tennessee, Dr. Manny received his undergraduate degree from Brown University. After college, as a Fulbright Scholar he worked in Tunisia with children suffering from muscular dystrophy. He then went on to receive his medical degree from Harvard Medical School, where he also completed his orthopedic residency. Dr. Manny returned home to Tennessee to impact change in healthcare and education.
In 2016, he was invited to meet President Trump to discuss Healthy Tennessee’s community engagement and impact across the state. In 2017, Dr. Manny testified on challenges Tennesseans face in obtaining and maintaining health insurance before the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
He is married to Maya, and together they have two children. The family attends McKendree United Methodist Church in Nashville.
Federation: Do you have a favorite public land in Tennessee? What do you enjoy doing there?
Sethi: My family loves Radnor Lake State Park. It is a beautiful place to hike right just a few miles from where we live. I love going on the trails with my wife and kids during autumn when the trees change colors and reflect on the water. It is one of the most beautiful places in the state.
Federation: There are a lot of issues facing our natural resources and the Tennesseans who depend on them for recreation and their livelihood. Please rank these issues in the order they are most important to you and please explain the reason for your number one pick.
- Fund adequate responses to non-native invasive species, like Asian carp
- Implement high-impact aquatic habitat projects to improve our waters
- Strategic public lands growth and access for conservation and recreation
- Invest in wildlife management to prevent endangered and threatened species
- Federal funding and other support to combat Chronic Wasting Disease in deer
- Support for private land management for wildlife
Asian Carp is my top issue because we have to address this now. It will become more expensive the longer we wait, and the destruction will become more widespread.
Federation: Last fall, a Tennessee Wildlife Federation-led effort successfully secured $25 million of federal funding to fight Asian carp. It is a one-time appropriation that is split among several states. If you are elected, how would you support similar efforts? What you would do differently?
Sethi: I released a comprehensive plan of how I would address the Asian Carp invasion as Senator a few months ago. Here is my plan:
- Continue to study the efficacy of the experimental barrier at Barkley Lock
- Support state solutions such as construction of sound barriers at other possible points of entry
- Support public-private partnerships to incentivize fishermen to catch Asian Carp
- Consider electric barriers as necessary to reduce the carp population
Federation: As a senator, what would you do for our natural resources, from public lands to wildlife and water, that are held in the public trust—that are collectively owned by all Americans?
Sethi: Our public lands are so important, especially for Tennesseans. We need to keep them available to Americans. My primary goal as Senator is to keep public lands accessible by responsibly managing the resources required to protect and sustain them. There is a significant maintenance backlog at the federal level, and we need fiscally conservative solutions to address this backlog without irresponsibly throwing funds at the problem.
Federation: Tennessee Wildlife Federation operates a number of programs to improve the great outdoors and Tennesseans’ lives, including habitat restoration work, Hunters for the Hungry, and even creating new sportsmen through Hunting and Fishing Academy. What support would you look to provide as a senator?
Sethi: As a US Senator, the most important thing I can do for local and state programs is keep Washington bureaucrats from interfering with them. We don’t need burdensome regulations crafted by DC bureaucrats ruining Tennessee programs. Tennesseans know our state, and Tennesseans should be the ones to manage our beautiful state lands.
Federation: A significant number of Tennessee streams, rivers, and lakes are unable to support healthy aquatic life. What would you do as Senator to heal this backbone of our environment and many local economies in the state?
Sethi: The most important thing we can address is the Asian carp invasion. This will continue to spread if we don’t deal with it. It’s fiscally responsible to coordinate a response now, because it will cost taxpayers more money if this issue is ignored.
Federation: What did we not ask you today that you’d tell Tennessee’s outdoor enthusiasts?
Sethi: Our beautiful lands are such an asset to our state. We have to preserve them for future generations, and responsibly manage their upkeep so that taxpayers aren’t on the hook for massive costs down the road. I love Tennessee, and I want to keep it beautiful.