In 2018, Senator Lamar Alexander announced that he would not bid for re-election this year after serving in the Senate for 17 years.
“I will not be a candidate for re-election to the United States Senate in 2020. … I am deeply grateful, but now it is time for someone else to have that privilege. I have gotten up everyday thinking that I could help make our state and country a little better, and gone to bed most nights thinking that I have. I will continue to serve with that same spirit during the remaining two years of my term,” Alexander said in a 2018 press release on the 2020 election.
Among Marquita Bradshaw and Bill Hagerty as candidates looking to fill this seat, there are nine others running as independents for Senate in the Nov. 3 general election. One of those independents is Yomi “Fapas” Faparusi.
Faparusi was raised in Nigeria on the University of Ibadan campus. It was in Nigeria that he graduated from medical school. He later attended John Hopkins School of Public Health. where he received his PhD. He also holds a Juris Doctorate, is an immigration attorney, a licensed physician and a small business owner.
Faparusi moved to the United States more than 20 years ago. He originally lived in Maryland, but relocated to Tennessee 10 years ago. He currently lives in Brentwood, in Williamson County, and is married with three sons.
"I am the ultimate 'Tennessee Volunteer' because I chose the great state of Tennessee over a decade ago and intend to spend the rest of my life here. As one of Tennessee's two Senators, I will serve my fellow Tennesseans by following the U.S. Constitution," Faparusi said in an interview with the Murfreesboro Voice.
His campaign platform focuses on recovering from the current COVID-19 pandemic, immigration, healthcare, “the racial divide,” the Second Amendment and more.
Fapasuri’s website critiques the PPP loans received by small businesses during the pandemic. He instead offers an alternative of PPP grants and says the government should not have hidden any public health data to justify keeping the business sector closed.
The independent’s stance on immigration is to move away from using the topic as, “a wedge issue for both parties to leverage every election cycle.” He refers to immigration as a social issue and an economic issue because immigrants cannot work without the proper paperwork and legalities in place.
The answer to what “we do with undocumented immigrants already inside the U.S.” and “how do we stop illegal immigration,” Fapasuri claims legal immigration must be promoted as the foundation along with “securing our borders.”
The candidate wants to see legalization granted to DACA recipients and believes that families should be kept together because creating a route to legalization will create more taxpayers and, in turn, help the United States recover from the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.
With respect to his plan to “heal the racial divide,” Fapasuri condemns riots, destruction of property and assaulting police officers. His alternative is to have conversations and true dialogue even if it is tough because he believes that is the only way to solve racial injustice.
He calls for the partnering of law enforcement with Black churches and organizations because of the safe haven nature that churches have provided for activists.
Fapasuri goes on to explain that violence only begets violence, and any life lost is one too many.
He uses his identity as an immigrant, as an American, as a Tennessean and so much more to promote why he should be elected to Tennessee’s open Senate seat.
According to his website, he will put Americans, Tennesseans in particular, over politics and represent the people of Tennessee.
“I’m a Tennessean by choice. I chose Tennessee. I chose to come to the United States. This wasn’t a passive decision. This was an active decision. I fell in love so much with Tennessee that I said, ‘You know what? I’m not going to any other state. This is where I want to be for the rest of my life.’ And the least I can do is to make Tennessee better than how I found Tennessee. So this is my thank you to all the other people who made Tennessee better before I came here,” Fapasuri said.