Burchett officially kicks off campaign for Congress

Hundreds of people came out Saturday to hear Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett deliver a speech declaring himself a candidate for the 2nd Congressional District seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. John J. “Jimmy” Duncan Jr., reports the News Sentinel.

“The House was created before the Senate. It was created to represent the people…the farmers, the laborers and the small business owners, people we call our blue collar workers,” he said. “People, who in 2017, go to work every day with their names on their shirts.

“There’s a reason House seats are on the ballot every dad-gum two years, it’s because these seats belong to the people, not to any one candidate or elected official,” he continued.

…He spoke about his fiscal conservatism and how the county hasn’t raised taxes under his watch but will have cut approximately $50 million in county debt in his eight years.

He has championed veterans’ rights in his time in public office. His father served as a marine in World War II, and Saturday Burchett spoke about the need for the country to take better care of veterans.

He complained that veterans have to go to Johnson City or Murfreesboro to find the closest VA hospital. He said he would push for a VA healthcare system that would give vouchers to veterans to allow them to get healthcare at a local doctor, but said he would welcome a VA hospital if Duncan or someone else could get one to Knoxville.

“Uncle Sam doesn’t mind letting them lose a leg, suffer from PTSD or take a bullet for the cause,” he said. “But when it’s time to say thank you, Washington does so with run-down VA hospitals and clinics, long wait lists and by requiring veterans to jump through hoops to get taken care of. That’s wrong, folks.”

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Former Knoxville News Sentinel capitol bureau chief Tom Humphrey writes about Tennessee politics, government, and legislative news.
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