Roe: ‘I’m not finished fighting’
“Today, I ask you for your vote, because I’m not finished fighting for the First District.”
Those were U.S. Rep. Phil Roe’s words as he made the official announcement of his bid for re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives in Johnson City on Monday morning.
“This community has given me so much and I feel blessed beyond measure to call East Tennessee home. I am honored to be your voice in Congress and my door is always open to you and to your family,” Roe said. “So let’s do this together. Let’s make our nation a better place and get back to the values and principles that make America the best country in the world.”
Roe, who is completing his third term as the representative for Tennessee’s First Congressional District, said two of the major issues before Congress are health care and veterans affairs. He said his background as physician and a military veteran put him in a unique position to work on those issues.
Veterans services are something that Roe, who served in Korea and Vietnam, said he takes a firm stand on.
“I know how our country abandoned us during that time. They basically turned their backs on us,” Roe said, adding that he often travels overseas to visit U.S. soldiers serving in foreign lands to make sure they are receiving what they need. “I want those young people to know there are people like me, their fellow veterans, out there looking out for them.”
Roe pointed to recent news regarding patient wait times and deceptive reporting practices which had been occurring at Veteran’s Affairs medical clinics and hospitals across the country as one way in which the nation has been failing veterans.
“Our veterans deserve the highest quality care for their service to our country,” he said. “They did their duty for us. We must keep our promises to them and to our active duty soldiers.”
Because of the recent scandal involving VA medical clinics and hospitals, Roe said he not only voted to grant more authority in removing or transferring senior employees from the government service based on their job performance but he also introduced a bill to prohibit tax-payer funded bonuses for VA employees who violate the law. Roe said he also called for the resignation of the VA secretary after he participated in the House Committee on Veterans Affairs investigation into the secret waiting list and scheduling practices.
As a physician, Roe said health care issues are something that he cares about greatly. He said his experiences as a doctor and as a congressman led him to draft the American Health Care Reform Act, which he said is the most widely supported legislation to repeal and replace “ObamaCare.”
Roe said he has voted more than 50 times to repeal all or parts of ObamaCare.
“When you re-elected me two years ago, you did so with a clear message: stop the spending, stop the expansion of government into our private lives. My job is to deliver your voice to Washington and it is an absolute honor to do so every day,” Roe said. “I will never forget who I am working for. That’s why I’m working to fix what’s broken in Washington, not make excuses and pass the buck. It’s not about the next election; it’s about the next generation and we need a clear vision for our country. A vision that empowers citizens, promotes liberty and protects freedoms, not one that seeks big government solutions.
“That’s why I wrote the alternative to Obamacare, the American Healthcare Reform Act. Our bill is patient-centered, consumer-driven, and free market and will make insurance affordable, flexible, and portable.”
Roe currently serves on the House Committee for Veterans Affairs and the House Committee for Education and the Workforce. He represents the First Congressional District of Tennessee, which includes Carter, Cocke, Greene, Hamblen, Hancock, Hawkins, Jefferson, Johnson, Sevier, Sullivan, Unicoi and Washington Counties.
The primary election for the Congressional seat will be held Aug. 7, with the general election taking place Nov. 4.