When you hear politics, one of the first things that usually comes to mind is presidential elections, but what about politics closer to home that could directly impact you?

Last Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, who is running against former democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen for the U.S. Senate, sat down with the East Tennessean to discuss her policies and why college students should vote for her.

“I am big on opportunity and opening doors; breaking barriers is something I have done all my life, and I think it is important to do,” Blackburn said.

Blackburn, a conservative, began her political career from the late 1980s through mid 1990s as one of the founding members of the Williamson County Young Republicans and later a member of the Tennessee Senate.

She has been a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Tennessee’s 7th District since 2002.

According to Blackburn, voting for her will be financially beneficial for college students.

“I am one of the members of Congress that has really fought against overspending at the federal level,” she said. “I support a balanced budget amendment. I think it is awful that there are $20 trillion in debt on the federal books. That works out to be about $55,000 for every man, woman and child in the country. I think we should have a balanced budget amendment so that we are going to be able to move forward without adding more debt for future generations.”

In addition to supporting tax cuts, Blackburn is also wants to move student loans back to local banks in order to cut costs.

“I think one of the things that happened was when the student loan program was federalized, which was nearly 10 years ago, the interest rate doubled,” she said. “What I am for doing is sending federal student loans back to those local and community banks where families could go in and talk with the banker and get a student loan where the interest rate would be about half of what it is now. What you are seeing now is it becoming such a debt burden.”

Blackburn is also interested in helping individuals who want to expand their education in areas that may not be their primary field of study and helping those wanting to advance in their job field.

According to Blackburn, another reason to vote for her is because of the work she has done in the digital world, which includes writing the “Open Internet Preservation Act” in Congress and being the chairman of the Communications and Technology-Energy and Commerce Committee.

“My legislation would say no blocking, no throttling — you can’t do that,” she said. “It would do a study on prioritization because we know prioritization is important for things like health care organizations. We don’t want to block off an avenue an innovator might need.””

Besides her goals in finances, education and communications, opioids are a huge topic for the Blackburn. Opioids have killed thousands across the country.

One such story that stuck out to Blackburn was that of a mother who gave her son doses of his pain medicine after surgery until the bottle is empty. She thought she was supposed to give him the medication until it was gone like one would do with antibiotics. Instead, the woman should have given him a couple of days worth and then threw the rest out, but she did not know.

“I wish I had known sooner,” the mother said to Blackburn.

According to Blackburn, she and Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio,  have a legislation called Cara 2.0 that has $300 million set for provisions against drugs for law enforcement, $60 million for pregnant women with opioid addicted babies and $10 million for a national education program.

For more information on Blackburn, you can check out her website at https://www.marshablackburn.com/. For voting information and registration, you can go to https://www.rockthevote.org/voting-information/tennessee/.