published Thursday, May 8th, 2014

Why two prominent war veterans support Weston Wamp

The Weston Wamp campaign has found support from two prominent Hamilton County veterans.

World War II veteran and Medal of Honor recipient Charles Coolidge -- for whom Coolidge Park is named -- and retired U.S. Army Gen. Burwell B. Bell of Ooltewah wrote letters dated today urging voters to support Wamp in his bid for Tennessee's 3rd Congressional District.

Wamp is challenging U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann in the Aug. 7 Republican primary for the post.

Democrat Mary M. Headrick, a physician, and independent candidate Cassandra Mitchell are vying to face the Republican winner in November.

In his letter to voters, Coolidge said Wamp took after his father, longtime 3rd District Rep. Zach Wamp, who had much support from the military.

"Much of his father's political savvy has rubbed off on his son. In interviewing Weston, it is obvious that he is well prepared to address the issues that matter most and he displays the drive that his youth affords," Coolidge wrote.

In his letter to Weston Wamp, Bell said America needed new leadership.

"You are the right man with the right clarity of thought to be our next Congressional representative in a new Washington," Bell wrote.

In a written statement Wednesday, Wamp called the endorsements "a high honor."

"It is because of the leadership of veterans like Sgt. Coolidge and Gen. Bell that we live in an amazing country. My desire is to carry the legacy of these 3rd District patriots to Washington and help fix the country they helped make great," he wrote.

Fleischmann has backing from 19 state representatives -- and his former opponent, former dairy executive Scottie Mayfield.

According to Fleischmann's website, Rep. Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga, Sen. Todd Gardenhire, R-Chattanooga, and 17 other state representatives -- including the entire Hamilton County delegation, are supporting the attorney, who is running for a second term.

Fleischmann adviser Jordan Powell said in a written statement that the congressman has great respect for Coolidge and Bell.

"Chuck thanks these incredible men for their bravery, sacrifice and service to our country. As Chuck's father was a World War II veteran, he has seen first-hand the sacrifices they have made," Powell said. "Chuck has fought for our veterans from day one, including helping to bring much-needed VA clinics to McMinn and Roane counties."

Powell said Fleischmann has support from retired Gen. Carl Stiner, retired Col. Ray Adkins and retired Rear Adm. Vance Fry.

Contact staff writer Louie Brogdon at lbrog don@timesfreepress.com.

about Louie Brogdon...

Louie Brogdon began reporting with the Chattanooga Times Free Press in February 2013. Before he came to the Scenic City, Louie lived on St. Simons Island, Ga. and covered crime, courts, environment and government at the Brunswick News, a 17,000-circulation daily on the Georgia coast. While there, he was awarded for investigative reporting on police discipline and other law enforcement issues by the Georgia Press Association. For the Times Free Press, Louie covers Hamilton County ...

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