Roe still undecided on re-election bid

Hank Hayes • Jan 20, 2018 at 4:00 PM

U.S. Rep. Phil Roe still hasn’t decided whether he will seek a sixth term in office this year.

Roe was first elected in 2008 after defeating incumbent David Davis in the 1st Congressional District Republican primary.

A retired obstetrician/gynecologist and former Johnson City mayor, Roe chairs the House Committee on Veterans Affairs and co-chairs the House GOP Doctors’ Caucus.

If Roe did seek re-election, he would have opposition in the August Republican primary from Todd McKinley. Dr. Martin Olsen, an East Tennessee State University ObGyn professor and medical practitioner, has announced his intent to run for the Democratic nomination.

Last year, Roe married Clarinda Jeanes, who was married for more than 40 years to the late Milligan College President Don Jeanes. Roe’s wife, Pam, passed away in March 2015.

Roe also last year was diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer and he reported having successful surgery.

When asked by the Times News during a Friday conference call with reporters whether he would run for re-election, Roe responded: “I have not … from a health standpoint … I’ve had a CT (computer tomography) scan, which was normal. I’m very pleased about that. … In another three to four weeks, I’ll have a blood test to see whether that’s normal and OK. Those things will impact the decision you make. So far, I’ve gotten great results. Physically I’m feeling better. … There are some things I have for the VA (Veterans Administration) that are critical that I’ve got to get done. … All of these are weighing on my decision and it’s going to be coming rather quickly. … I have a national platform now. … a chairmanship has added a lot of extra work.”

Roe also addressed these questions:

Will the federal government shut down and what will that affect in our region? (A continuing budget resolution passed, which Roe voted for, in the GOP-controlled House on Thursday night, but was being considered by the Senate on Friday.)

“What a CR (continuing resolution) does is you just continue to spend the money like you did last year, and it’s not a good way to govern, but it’s the only way we’ve got to keep the government open. … The Democrats are saying they’ve got to have DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). There is no way on this earth we should confound immigration debate which we need to have with the funding of our troops and health care for children. … We have inquiries going into the Department of the Interior and Secretary (Ryan) Zinke. … He’s going to try to keep the national parks open. … I don’t think you’ll notice any difference how the VA works.”

What is the Steele Dossier, which alleges misconduct by the Trump campaign in 2016?

“I just 30 minutes ago left the Capitol Visitor’s Center Room 302, which is a secure location. I just read a four-plus page top secret document. … Obviously I can’t comment other than to say I absolutely am going to push as hard as I can to make this document public. It is outrageous what is in there. … It basically affirmed the worst fears I had.”

What else is going on in Washington?

“The annual March For Life … the president will speak at that. It’s always a huge event, 200,000-250,000 people here for the march. Since Roe vs. Wade became law in 1973, 633,000 babies have been aborted in the state of Tennessee.”

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