phil roe

Congressman Phil Roe deemed ‘cancer-free’ after treatment

Statement from the office of U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, R-Johnson City

Congressman Roe underwent a successful medical procedure in East Tennessee late last month. At his follow-up appointment, Congressman Roe’s scans were clear and he is cancer-free. He looks forward to finishing his recovery and returning to a full schedule soon. The Congressman thanks East Tennesseans for the outpouring of support and prayers he has received through his treatment and his medical team for the excellent care he received.

Citing ‘Trump fatigue,’ Democratic doctor plans run for Congress against Republican Dr. Phil Roe

Dr. Martin Olsen, an East Tennessee State University ObGyn professor and medical practitioner, says he intends to run for the Democratic nomination to the 1st Congressional District seat now held by Republican U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, also a physician, reports the Johnson City Press.

“I think I can win,” Olsen said rather earnestly. “Now, am I an underdog? Well, yes, I am an underdog. There’s no doubt about that. But the path to victory is to get about one-third of the (Donald) Trump voters. I think there’s enough Trump fatigue that it’s legitimate.”

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Congressman Roe diagnosed with ‘early stage prostate cancer’

Statement from the Office of Congressman Phil Roe (R-Johnson City):

Following a routine physical examination, Congressman Roe was diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer. He will undergo treatment in East Tennessee during the August district work period. The prognosis is excellent, and treatment is not expected to interfere with his scheduled legislative duties. The Congressman’s offices in Kingsport, Morristown and Washington, D.C. will remain open and operate as usual. The office will provide an update after his treatment has been completed. No further updates or comments will be provided before that time. Congressman Roe thanks East Tennesseans for the privilege of serving them, and looks forward to continuing to represent them. Thank you.

The Johnson City Press adds this note:

Previously Johnson City’s mayor, Roe was first elected to the House of Representatives serving Tennessee’s 1st District in 2008. He easily won re-election in 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2016.

In 2015, Roe’s wife Pamela died shortly after being diagnosed with colon cancer. This year he and Clarinda Jeanes, widow of former Milligan College President Don Jeanes, married.

 

U.S. House committee bucks Trump budget plan, provides $130M to Appalachian Regional Commission

The Appalachian Regional Commission, targeted for elimination in President Donald Trump’s March budget blueprint,  instead would receive $130 million in new funding for the coming year under a proposal winning approval of a key U.S. House committee, reports the Johnson City Press.

A representative from the Appalachian Regional Commission said the funding allocated by the House Appropriations Committee is in step with the amount the agency would typically receive from the federal government.

Earlier this year, U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., led 13 Republican representatives in writing a letter to the chairman and the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Energy and Water to urge them to fund the commission.

“The ARC is not a typical federal agency,” the letter read. “It is a true commission.”

… “We understand the budgetary constraints the subcommittee is facing,” the representatives said in the letter. “We believe this is an important partnership with the states that should be maintained and supported with robust funding.”

… “I will continue working to ensure adequate funding for ARC is included in FY18,” Roe said in a statement emailed to the Press

After disabled vet’s protest, Roe to look into modifying Veterans Administration pain management policy

A week after U.S. Rep. Phil Roe became the target of a disabled veteran’s public protest, the chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs has responded to a Johnson City Press request for his views on the subject in issue – the VA’s policy on pain management drugs. As committee chair, Roe says he will look into the need for revisions to the policy.

Robert Rose, who suffered severe spinal injuries while serving as a U.S. Marine, turned his wheelchair to face away from Roe as the congressman delivered a speech on his support for veterans July 3 at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center at Mountain Home. The newspaper reported at the time that Rose was “in visible pain” while showing “clear contempt” for Roe with the maneuver.

Rose said the VA’s “Opioid Safety Initiative,” implemented five years ago, has left him without the medication needed to combat chronic pain. On Monday, Roe sent the newspaper an email offering sympathy but declaring Rose’s criticism was unwarranted. Excerpt from today’s Press story:

“While I support the goals of this initiative and applaud the VA for taking steps to curb dependence on opioids, I also have been made aware of many concerns from veterans like Mr. Rose that necessary pain management may have been reduced or eliminated too quickly and will conduct oversight through my position as chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs as to whether the policy needs to be modified,” Roe wrote.

…The congressman complained in his email that he was not afforded the opportunity to respond to Rose’s criticisms. Roe was not available immediately following Rose’s comments to the Press, and the Press’ efforts to reach Roe and his staff on July 3 were unsuccessful.

The Press again contacted Roe’s office on Monday to request an interview. Lani Short, his press secretary, said the congressman would be unavailable because Roe’s schedule was “especially full.” Short said “everything he would say is found in the letter below,” referring to Roe’s email.

After quiet courtship, Rep. Roe married without missing Obamacare vote

After a bit of fretting over the possibility that Congress could interfere, U.S. Rep. Phil Roe of Johnson City was able to get married this weekend, wrapping up a perhaps unorthodox romance.

CNN reported earlier that Roe was “a little anxious” that the House vote on repealing and replacing Obamacare would conflict with wedding plans of the 71-year old Republican congressman. He said at the time that the wedding would take priority.

As it turned out, the vote came Thursday, leaving ample time to make the Saturday private ceremony in Roe’s hometown. (The House vote was 217-213. Thus, Roe’s yes vote would have made things even closer had he been missing – but would not have impacted the outcome.)

The bride is Clarinda Jeanes, who was married for more than 40 years to the late Milligan College President Don Jeanes, according to the Kingsport Times-News. Roe’s wife, Pam, passed away about two years ago.

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Roe doesn’t expect Congress to go along with Trump eliminating ARC

The Appalachian Regional Commission is one of 19 current federal agencies that would be defunded under President Trump’s proposed budget, but Republican Rep. Phil Roe of Tennessee’s 1st Congressional District says that’s probably not going to happen, reports the Johnson City Press.

The president’s proposal, subtitled “A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again,” provides increases to defense spending and law enforcement while eliminating the ARC’s $120 million appropriation, $3 billion for the Community Development Block Grant program — used by rural communities to provide housing, build infrastructure and stimulate job growth — and a slew of other domestic agencies and programs.

… In an emailed statement… Roe, R-Tenn., applauded the Trump budget proposal’s support for national defense and assured the safety of programs benefitting rural Appalachia.

… “In the weeks and months ahead, Congress will decide whether or not to adopt the president’s recommendations. Programs like the Appalachian Regional Commission, which does tremendous good for rural Appalachia, have bipartisan support in Congress and I don’t expect they will be eliminated. I look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress and the president to work toward getting our fiscal house in order and balancing our budget.”

Note: The Atlantic has a list of the 19 defunded agencies, including in its report this observation on eliminating the ARC: Its inclusion is notable, because it serves a region that largely supported Trump, and which he has promised to revive economically.

A sampler of reporting on TN anti-Trump protesting

A ‘Kookfest’ at Duncan’s office

About 100 people who gathered outside U.S. Rep. Jimmy Duncan’s office Friday for what they called “Kookfest” in response to the congressman’s choice of words in a letter refusing to hold a town hall meeting, reports the News Sentinel. In the letter, he said such a meeting “would very quickly turn into shouting opportunities for extremists, kooks and radicals.”

They came to sign up for one-on-one meetings, as Duncan suggested in the letter, but were told to make their requests online.

“I was calling my congressman and two senators and felt like I was being blown off,” said Sarah Herron, founder of Indivisible East Tennessee and an organizer of Kookfest. “I was getting canned responses or template letters and I felt like, maybe if there was a group of us, it would be a more effective way to communicate.”

Indivisible East Tennessee is based off a national “Indivisible” movement inspired by the publication of the Indivisible Guide, an online guide published by former congressional staffers in the aftermath of Trump’s election with tips on the best ways to get the attention of members of Congress. The movement describes itself as a “practical guide for resisting the Trump agenda” and has spurred events similar to the march on Duncan’s office across the country.

A closed door at Roe’s office

About a dozen members of Indivisible Tennessee showed up at U.S. Rep. Phil Roe’s district office seeking air concerns about the Trump presidency, reports the Kingsport Times-News.

The group didn’t immediately get into the Kingsport Higher Education Center, where Roe’s district office is located. Instead, the group was met in the parking lot by district Director John Abe Teague, who gave each member paperwork to fill out, asking for contact information and a list of their concerns.

That information, Teague promised, will be forwarded to the congressman.

In a separate blog post, reporter Hank Hayes says the office door was locked – noting the contrast with the late former Congressman Jimmy Quillen’s oft-declared policy of “my door is always open” – and Teague emerged only when a reporter showed up and knocked. Teague eventually agreed to let the group come inside to fill out the paperwork when it started to rain.

Protesters call for Puzder to ‘stay home’ in Franklin

Between 50 and 100 people gathered in the center of Franklin’s public square Saturday to send a message to Andrew Puzder, President Donald Trump’s embattled nominee for labor secretary: Stay home, reports The Tennessean.

“Franklin is a beautiful place,” said Laura Gilbert, who is on the steering committee of Nashville Indivisible, which along with Middle Tennessee Jobs with Justice organized the protest. “Andy, welcome. Just stay home. Don’t go to Washington.”

Puzder is a Franklin resident and CEO of CKE Restaurants, which includes Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. restaurants. He’s faced criticism as Trump’s nominee but retained GOP support after he recently admitted he employed an undocumented housekeeper for years. His confirmation hearing, already postponed four times, is set for Feb. 16.

“I don’t feel that Puzder honors or respects workers, and I don’t believe he will uphold the labor laws,” said Karla Barde, a retired educator who held an American flag Saturday in protest of the nomination. “I don’t believe he respects women.”

On Alexander, Corker and Roe maneuvering in Obamacare repeal efforts

Republican members of the Tennessee congressional delegation – especially Sen. Bob Corker – continue actively engaged in the maneuvering to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Here’s an excerpt on Thursday developments, mostly in the Senate, as reported by Politico (followed by PR releases from Corker and Sen. Lamar Alexander plus a bit on Rep. Phil Roe’s efforts):

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Roe to chair House Veterans Affairs Committee

Rep. Phil Roe, a Johnson City Republican representing Tennessee’s 1st Congressional District, has been named the U.S. House Veterans’ Affairs Committee. He will replace Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., who is retiring.

The following is from Roe’s press release on the appointment:

“I am extremely honored and humbled to be given this opportunity. During my time in Congress, veterans’ issues have been a top priority for me, and this is not a responsibility I will take lightly. With scandal after scandal, it has become clear there’s no federal agency more in need of reform than the VA.

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ABOUT THIS BLOG

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

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