Roe All Receive
In Greene County
BY KEN LITTLE
U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, R-1st, is grateful to be heading back to Washington to try and remedy the many ills he has spoken out against over the last four years.
In some ways, his Election Day landslide over Democratic challenger Alan Woodruff is a bittersweet victory for Roe, of Johnson City.
Roe said Tuesday night he is disappointed that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney won't be accompanying him.
Roe pledged to do his part in attempting to break the gridlock that has characterized the relationship between Democrats and Republicans, and to continue to move forward on issues close to his heart, such as healthcare and tax reform.
The ball is in the president's court, Roe said moments after network projections about 11:15 p.m. projected the presidential election in favor of incumbent Barack Obama.
"If he reaches across in a bipartisan way, we're certainly willing to do that," Roe said.
The president has shown little willingness to compromise during his first term, Roe said.
"We're going to wait and see. I'm not sure Congress is going to work with him," Roe said. "If he goes back, I've got a different pathway than if Mitt Romney wins."
LOCAL GOP VOTE STRONG
Greene County went resoundingly for Republican candidates on Tuesday, according to unofficial results from the Greene County Board of Elections.
Roe, 67, bested Woodruff locally by a margin of 17,588 to 4,159, taking 78 percent of the Greene County vote to Woodruff's 18 percent.
Romney was a clear winner in Greene County over President Obama, tallying 17,234 votes to 6,216 for the president, a margin of 72-to-26 percent.
Republican Sen. Bob Corker, who won big in Tennessee, also received overwhelming support in Greene County, where he received 17,605 votes to 4,179 votes for Democratic challenger Mark Clayton -- a 77-to-18 percent margin.
"I'm deeply appreciative that the people of our state would allow me to continue to be a part of solving the problems of our country and shaping our future," Corker told The Tennessean newspaper, of Nashville.
Corker, 60, added that he is "more optimistic and energized" than he was when first elected in 2006.
Clayton, 36, of Whites Creek, was disavowed by the Tennessee Democratic Party because of his association with a Washington organization regarded as a "hate group" by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
According to the Associated Press, Clayton is vice president of Falls Church, Va.-based Public Advocate of the United States, which describes itself as a conservative advocacy group.
The group states on its Internet website that it was founded in 1981 and supports such policy positions as "a federal traditional marriage (man-woman) amendment to the Constitution," "school prayer and the freedom of religious expression in public places," and "pro-life legislation."
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which is an advocate for gay rights, calls the organization an anti-gay "hate group."
The Center, based in Montgomery, Ala., describes itself on its Internet website as "a nonprofit civil rights organization dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry, and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of society."
The organization is known especially for using the court system to battle and, if possible, financially cripple organizations associated with violence against African-Americans or other minority groups.
Actress and environmental activist Park Overall, a Greene County native and resident, placed third among the seven candidates on the Democratic Primary ticket in August.
Roe, who has served in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2009, said he will remain a strong advocate of veterans, and hopes to continue to serve on the House Veterans' Affairs Committee that oversees program funding and policy.
He wants Republicans and Democrats to work together to reform health care, rein in government spending and find a way to jump-start the economy.
Roe, a medical doctor in Johnson City for many years and an Army veteran, said when he came to this area 30 years ago Greene County was among the strongest manufacturing centers in the state.
But major employers such as The Magnavox Company of Tennessee, which impressed Roe many years ago, are long gone.
"I think we have to work for Greene Countians for the economy and jobs," he said. "We have to develop policies to bring jobs back."
Roe said he is "overwhelmed" by the backing he received from voters in Greene County and across the 1st District, which includes 12 counties in East Tennessee.
"Certainly, there's no question it's overwhelming to get a vote in the high 70s. It's still very humbling to have that great a vote," Roe said.
Roe said he is duty-bound to reflect the values of those who re-elected him to another two-year term.
Tennessee, Roe said, "is probably not the same as other areas of the country. This is
Roe indicated he is willing to meet the Obama Administration half-way, but not at the expense of the beliefs of the constituents who sent him back to Washington.
"I'm not going to compromise the values of the people that elected me," he said.
LOCAL DEMOCRATS REACT
Though Democrats are in the minority in Greene County, Obama does have dedicated supporters here.
Barbara Britton, county Democratic chairwoman and a member of the Tusculum Board of Mayor and Commissioners, said the president's re-election is good for the nation.
"I'm just very excited and happy that Obama is back in the White House for four more years," Britton said today.
"I think (his re-election) says a lot. You can't forget anyone in these elections. The people spoke, and now I think it's time both sides work together and get this country back on track."
Given the problems faced by Obama when he took office after the 2008 election, the president has done a good job, Britton said.
"Things are looking up from what he inherited when he came in," Britton said.
The president "did not have the cooperation in (Republicans) reaching across the aisle to work," Britton said. "It's time we got back to that for the good of the people."
PUBLIC WANTS RESULTS
Roe agreed that Americans want results from Congress, with its Democratic-controlled Senate and Republican-majority House of Representatives.
In the past, Roe said Obama's attitude toward compromise "is 'my way or the highway.'"
"We'll see whether the president is willing to work with us. There's no doubt about it, [citizens] want us to work together and solve the problems of the American people," he said.