Opinion: Fleischmann ties for lowest conservative rating among Tennessee Republicans in U.S. House

American Conservative Union ratings

The least conservative Republican in Tennessee's U.S. House delegation in Washington, D.C., according to the recently released 2021 ratings by the American Conservative Union Foundation Center for Legislative Accountability, was U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Ooltewah.

Fleischmann, the six-term congressman who is running for re-election, tied for the lowest mark among the state's seven GOP House members with U.S. Rep. David Kustoff, R-Memphis.

Tennessee's two U.S. senators, Republicans Marsha Blackburn and Bill Hagerty, and its other five Republican House members, Diana Harshberger, Tim Burchett, Scott DesJarlais, John Rose and Mark Green, all scored 90% or above in the organization's ratings based on various roll call votes taken in Congress. The nine U.S. senators and 65 U.S. House members across the country scoring 90% or above are tabbed with the "Award for Conservative Excellence." Those who score from 80% to 89% are said to receive the "Award for Conservative Achievement."

Fleischmann and Kustoff both scored 79% in 2021, though both have lifetime 82% marks. Fleischmann also scored 79% in 2020.

Fleischmann did not vote to the conservative group's liking by voting to override the 2011 sequester budget restraints, by voting for the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, by voting for the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, by voting for the National Science Foundation for the Future Act (which more than doubled the agency's budget over the next five years), by voting for the Department of Energy Science for the Future Act (which added more than $50 billion to the agency over the next five years), by voting for the National Centers of Excellence in Advanced and Continuous Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Act (which gave the pharmaceutical industry $100 million), by voting for the Immunization Infrastructure Modernization Act (which would authorize a vaccine database) and by voting for the Oral Health Literacy and Awareness Act (which expands the Public Health Service Act to include "oral health literacy and awareness" through public education campaigns).

The 3rd District congressman, in the past, has defended some of his votes authorizing increased spending as necessary due to his status on the House Appropriations Committee and because entities such as the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge are in his district.

Smedley campaign tops for period

The latest pre-primary campaign filing by Hamilton County mayoral candidate Sabrena Smedley shows she has nearly raised more money since the last filing deadline than both of her opponents combined.

The Hamilton County Commission chair raised $48,235 during the roughly three-week period, while former home renovation business owner Matt Hullander raised $28,990 and entrepreneur Weston Wamp $22,430.

"We've got big momentum going into the final stretch," Smedley said in a news release, "because of my proven conservative record of halting forced annexation, stopping a huge tax increase, and giving parents a voice in our schools."

Neither Smedley nor Wamp's latest filings show contributions from elected officials, but Hullander shows a $1,000 contribution from state Rep. Greg Vital, R-Georgetown, and $500 from Georgia state Sen. Jeff Mullis, R-Chickamauga. Former Hamilton County Commissioner Fred Skillern also contributed $1,200 to Hullander.

Since the beginning of the year, filings show Hullander has raised $537,227.77, Smedley $436,006.28 and Wamp $365,186.

This page has endorsed Smedley as the candidate with the best combination of county experience, business background and ideas to move the county forward.

Carter, Floyd honored

The late state Rep. Mike Carter, R-Ooltewah, who died of cancer last May, will have the Interstate 75 bridge spanning State Route 2/U.S. Highway 64 in Ooltewah named in his honor.

An amendment designating name changes for 73 roads and bridges was added to a bill related to the state Department of Transportation that has passed both houses of the state legislature and is on its way to the desk of Gov. Bill Lee for his signature.

Similarly, the amendment also calls for the U.S. Highway 27 exit for Morrison Springs Road to be designated as the "Richard Floyd Interchange" in honor of the state House member who represented District 27 from 2007 to 2015.

The amendment designates "suitable" signs or markers designating both the bridge and the interchange to be erected.

Carter was elected the state representative for District 27 in 2012 and served until his death in 2021.

The amendment states the bridge designation will be made "in recognition of Owen Michael "Mike" Carter, a dedicated and well-respected public servant who worked tirelessly to improve the quality of life of the residents of Ooltewah and Hamilton County through his roles as an attorney, judge, and state representative for District 29."

It also states Floyd has been "a dedicated and exemplary public servant who selflessly served the citizens of the City of Red Bank and this state during his eight-year tenure as a member of the house of representatives."