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THE CONTRIBUTOR (May 16, 2018) — While they share a title, the differences between national legislators and their statehouse counterparts are vast. A big one is the amount of available staff to spend time researching and poring over data to use when crafting legislation or dealing with constituent concerns. Put simply, state officials don’t have the people, time or money to dive into what can be complex research. Often, they rely on outside advocacy groups and think tanks to provide them with facts and figures. Therein can lie the problem, especially in a state that tilts heavily toward one side of the political spectrum or another, says Shanna Singh Hughey, president of Think Tennessee, a think tank that began crunching numbers in 2017 and recently released an updated, large-scale batch of data assessing where Tennessee and Tennesseans stand on issues ranging from health to voter participation.

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