published Saturday, December 31st, 2011

Weston Wamp takes shots at Occupy movement

by Chris Carroll
Weston Wamp
Contributed photo
Weston Wamp Contributed photo
Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
Is the Occupy movement making a difference?

He's a 24-year-old with a communications degree and his first fulltime job.

Since he decided to run for Congress, he has said "young people in this country need to step up and lead," calling himself a leader of "the debt-paying generation" and a "working-class" candidate fed up with "the status quo."

Such statements make Weston Wamp sounds distinctly like one of the Occupy Wall Street folks.

Not even close.

In a fundraising letter he posted online three days before Christmas, Wamp bashed Occupy protesters for "simply whining and griping about our nation's challenges rather than rolling up their sleeves."

The line was unprovoked. Occupy Chattanooga, the local branch of the national anti-political-corruption movement, hadn't said anything about Wamp to that point. They had even protested Wamp's GOP primary opponent, U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, when House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, visited Chattanooga for a $1,000-a-couple Fleischmann fundraiser.

Landon Howard, a Chattanooga resident and spokesman for the local Occupy movement, said Wamp, son of eight-term former congressman Zach Wamp, is misguided.

"He was born with status and influence, so it's easy for him to say all this," Howard said. "That's the whole system the Occupy movement is trying to counteract -- this political royalty where people naturally rise up."

Records show 72 percent of Weston Wamp's top donors to date gave money to his father's gubernatorial campaign, congressional campaigns or both.

Several Twitter users criticized Wamp's criticism when it first appeared, with one observer saying, "labeling Occupy movement as whiners/gripers needlessly closes a door of opportunity for you."

But in a recent Chattanooga Times Free Press interview, Wamp piled on, slamming what he called the "makeup" of local protesters.

"These people, at least in Chattanooga, many of them appear to be homeless," he said. "They don't have anything better to do than to hang out and protest."

Howard, 29, said Wamp doesn't know what he is talking about.

"He's never visited us," Howard said, adding that some protesters work 60 hours a week in addition to Occupy work.

Howard conceded that a few protesters are homeless. Economic disparities give them "more reason to be there than most people," he said.

Wamp said he agrees with some aspects of the Occupy movement, including a stance against "corporate corruption." But he said he's against higher taxes on the nation's wealthiest, a key part of Occupy's "We are the 99 percent" rallying cry.

"I don't think the [richest] 1 percent are the problem," Wamp said.

Wamp's fundraising letter came about a week before the deadline for congressional candidates to submit year-end campaign finance disclosures. When the disclosures become public, they will be an indicator into how well-funded his effort will be against Fleischmann, who will have more than $500,000 on hand, according to his aides.

Democrat Bill Taylor and Republicans Ron Bhalla and Jean Howard-Hill, all of Chattanooga, also are challenging Fleischmann.

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EaTn said...

Before anyone starts trashing the occupy movement for being lazy, they need to observe that few of them have silver spoons in their mouths.

December 31, 2011 at 6:30 a.m.
tipper said...

Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss. Don't get fooled again.

December 31, 2011 at 6:36 a.m.
JeremyDahl said...

Polling most likely shows it is popular with 3rd district GOP voters to trash occupy, don't take it personal yall... just how political business is done.

December 31, 2011 at 8:27 a.m.
Facts said...

Weston has more in common with the Occupyers than he wants to admit. He claims these protestors have nothing else to do except hang out & protest. It seems Mr. Wamp has nothing else to do except run for Congress. Oh, yeah. I know he's in a small business incubator that seems like it works much like a check-cashing center. It's real funny how the rules suddenly change when Daddy's little boy wants something. Really embarrassing.

December 31, 2011 at 8:46 a.m.
lkeithlu said...

He calls himself a "working class candidate"?

December 31, 2011 at 9:12 a.m.
librul said...

Ha! The Free Press wouldn't print what the working class calls him.

December 31, 2011 at 10:24 a.m.
Carl said...

How does he define "working class"? and to whom does his "debt paying generation" owe? Not only are the taxes on higher incomes unfair, they also reach a cap where they no longer pay into social security. I guess they don't need it and do not wish to help others and their government.

December 31, 2011 at 10:53 a.m.
acerigger said...

Zach's voting record in terms of helping the poor or even middle class is near the bottom of the barrel, if you'd care to check. Sounds like the apple didn't fall far from the tree re: Weston.

December 31, 2011 at 11:11 a.m.
lookinfour said...

24 years old. Recently out of college. No real work experience. Daddy just lost election, just got out of congress. Country in a divided mess. How about I run for congress. Yeah, yeah. That's the ticket. I've got the answers...

Oh, and here is one of my favorite quotes from Daddy Wamp when he was about to lose the election...

“Both of them are really running on their daddies’ fumes,” Wamp told supporters near Nashville. “They wouldn’t even be in this game if it weren’t for their fathers.”

December 31, 2011 at 1:56 p.m.
fechancellor said...

Make that Wesson Wamp.

December 31, 2011 at 2:40 p.m.
chattanoggin said...

this guy's not about to push up against the 1% because he needs them (like all other politicians) for ad revenue - so he can sell everyone on those empty promises almost all politicians offer up on that road to office. gotta have that shiny video where he's smiling and shaking hands with some old demographically correct person. i would like to see this guy working on a loading dock or in a garage or at the sewage treatment plant and not behind some desk at his communications job before spouting off about being working-class.

December 31, 2011 at 3:09 p.m.
terrybham said...

After reading this article about little Weston Wamp I am reminded of a quote from Senator Tom Harkin from Iowa concerning the elder George Bush; and I paraphase "George Bush woke up on third base and thinks that he hit a triple". That could just as easily be said about little Weston. This guy doesn't have a clue.

December 31, 2011 at 3:30 p.m.
stevendiz said...

On 12/23, I was a guest on talk 102.3 (Andrae McGary's show), and the topic of discussion was Mr. Wamp's blog post. We gave him some grief for it and he ended up calling into the show. Andrea gave me the chance to ask one question directly to Mr. Wamp and I asked if he would be willing to actually MEET with the Occupy Chattanooga folks, to at least TRY and understand what it is they are after. (To be honest, I'm not sure myself...) His answer was an immediate, "Absolutely". So, Mr. Wamp, I'm hoping that this article is NOT an indication that you are ALREADY breaking promises made on the campaign trail. WILL you keep your promise and meet with these potential constituents? Or do you have no use for "homeless" people in your district?

December 31, 2011 at 4:34 p.m.
stuartfjames said...

Weston Wamp is a republican running for the United States House of Representatives in Tennessee’s Third District. He recently raised $250,000 becoming a contender for the seat. He raised the money in one fundraiser, setting a record for the district. He is running against incumbent Chuck Fleischmann.

Over the New Year the Chattanooga Times Free Press ran a story about Wamp sending a fundraising letter attacking Occupy Chattanooga. From a political standpoint the letter is designed to get the conservative base excited about his run for Congress. It is targeted to get primary votes—the primary winner in this district is likely to be the next person going to the United States House of Representatives.

Read more about this issue at

December 31, 2011 at 4:49 p.m.
Theonepercent said...

Good job Weston. Way to Fall in line. You've got our support.

December 31, 2011 at 4:50 p.m.

acerigger said...

Zach's voting record in terms of helping the poor or even middle class is near the bottom of the barrel, if you'd care to check. Sounds like the apple didn't fall far from the tree re: Weston.

Hey Ace why don't you go and look at the voting record at your beloved Democrat that had the office before Zach. You will find her record and his in voting almost parallel each other.

December 31, 2011 at 5:04 p.m.
tifosi said...

Darrell Akins puppet speaks!

December 31, 2011 at 6:09 p.m.
frayne48 said...

Granted, the kid (Wamp) is a bit wet behind the ears but I do agree the Occupy Group needs to roll up their sleeves and get to work turning out the voters to throw every Congressman out of office that doesn't support term limits, change the laws that Congress has to live with the legislation they pass, like social security and last but not least, no Congressman or their staff should be able to work as lobbyists after their terms expire.

December 31, 2011 at 9:27 p.m.
retiredvet said...

He says he is "working class" LOL. This kid was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, never worked a day in his life. 10 to 1 says he has never paid rent, gas bill, elec. bill, bought his own food, etc.. Just because your father was a Congressman ( I use that term loosely) does not make you qualified BOY. Get a job and see what the "real working class folks" are going through. Better yet go join the Army and server your country before you decide that they need to go off to war. I know how you Republicans like to send our "working class' kids off to war without reason. Your a looser " Pretty Boy Floyd" get a job and grow up, learn what the real world is about before you decide to lead it. You could not make it one month without help from Mommy & Daddy.

January 2, 2012 at 10:19 a.m.
bobkoz120 said...

It seems Weston Wamp is against a multi-class society and for a two class society of haves and have nots.

January 2, 2012 at 10:18 p.m.
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