Cooper: Give Fleischmann another term

Cooper: Give Fleischmann another term

October 13th, 2016 by Clint Cooper in Opinion Free Press

U.S. Congressman Chuck Fleischmann makes a point.

Photo by Doug Strickland /Times Free Press.

POLL: Are you registered to vote?

Document: Sample Ballot

Hamilton County sample ballot for Nov. general election

Document: Hamilton County polling places

A list of polling places in Hamilton County

U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann believes he's found his stride as a member of Congress and feels most of his congressional district agrees.

"I have a record, a record I'm proud of," he said. "I want to continue to be a strong independent voice for the people of the 3rd District."

The Republican, who is seeking his fourth term, is opposed by Democrat Melody Shekari and independents Topher Kersting, Cassandra Mitchell and Rick Tyler.

We believe Fleischmann works steadily and diligently on issues important to his East Tennessee district, as well as on constituent services — 90 percent of his job, he says. He deserves re-election.

The maintenance of the current Chickamauga lock, funding for construction of the new lock and the functions of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory continue to be his primary areas of federal concern, he said, but he also has found rewards in chairing the Nuclear Cleanup Caucus, in promoting workforce development and in being a member of a bipartisan opioid abuse group.

During his current term, Fleischmann also has worked to transfer unused parcels of land from the Tennessee Valley Authority back to the community, including one in Monroe County on the shores of Tellico Reservoir to the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

Fleischmann acknowledges there are "strong, bona fide differences of opinion in the way that the country's going," but he believes — no matter who is elected president — that "Congress needs to find a way to take back some of [the] power" that President Obama has usurped for the executive branch.

"We have to get the balance of power back in line," he said.

The congressman also asserts that, again, no matter the president, entitlement reform must be tackled.

"Some type of give and take" will be necessary, he said.

Third District residents are concerned about national security, want to see White House support for U.S. ally Israel and desire to see the murderous Islamic State defeated, Fleischmann said.

To that end, earlier this year, he offered a bill that requires the Department of Homeland Security to use testimony from former extremists and defectors to be a counterweight to propaganda used in recruitment efforts by terrorists groups like the Islamic State. The bill passed and eventually was folded into a larger package of bills to combat terrorism.

Fleischmann, 54, said his constituents also have expressed a disdain for Obamacare, which has raised health care premiums, and for the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which hass restricted access to credit and favored big banks over small banks, the opposite of why it was created.

Shekari, 28, is a bright, friendly, open graduate of local private schools who earned a master's degree in public administration from the University of Washington and a law degree from the University of Southern California. Not extreme left like most people in today's Democratic Party, she sees the 3rd District as "pretty moderate" and its infrastructure needs and employment issues as priorities.

If elected, she would be the youngest woman ever elected to Congress, and she says she wears her millennial label — and its high tolerance for diversity — proudly.

Shekari acknowledges the failures of Obamacare but says she hasn't "seen a better plan." She advocates re-examining things, "considering all options" and looking at other systems.

Working with federal projects in Oak Ridge fits into her "policy wonk" side, she said, and she'd like to help commercialize the technology there.

In general, Shekari says, she's "open to good ideas," says the district's "strength is to do things together" and believes representatives should get away from caring "more about their party than about getting something done."

Kersting, 47, a Chattanooga single father and nanny who has been an e-commerce consultant, considers himself a fiscal conservative and social liberal.

"Congress has become more and more polarized," he said. "Maybe an independent could bring people together."

Kersting uses Obamacare and believes Fleischmann and Congress wasted too much time voting against it. In Congress, he hopes to assist the federal government on spending money on efforts where it also can make money such as the Human Genome Project, NASA and national parks.

He also would have government get out of the marriage business altogether and, though he is pro-choice, would heavily restrict abortion after the 20th week.

Mitchell, 28, an Anderson County graphic designer/app developer/engineer, is making her second run for the 3rd District office. She would like to see term limits for House members, pharmaceutical pricing regulations and marijuana legalized across the country.

She's "glad" the country "took a step" with Obamacare but acknowledges its "rough spots," believes more technology would help with immigration enforcement and can see both positive and negative in raising the minimum wage.

Tyler, 59, already infamous for his "Make America White Again" billboard in Polk County, says his election would be the "most signature phenomenon in American history."

Too often, he said, the country's solution is "to throw more government at it." That, he said, has created a "welfare state." To help remedy that, he said, he would prevent, going forward, the immigration of anyone nonwhite and "work on the restoration of a white super majority" in America.

We strongly urge a vote for Fleischmann.

Getting Started/Comments Policy

Getting started

  1. 1. If you frequently comment on news websites then you may already have a Disqus account. If so, click the "Login" button at the top right of the comment widget and choose whether you'd rather log in with Facebook, Twitter, Google, or a Disqus account.
  2. 2. If you've forgotten your password, Disqus will email you a link that will allow you to create a new one. Easy!
  3. 3. If you're not a member yet, Disqus will go ahead and register you. It's seamless and takes about 10 seconds.
  4. 4. To register, either go through the login process or just click in the box that says "join the discussion," type your comment, and either choose a social media platform to log you in or create a Disqus account with your email address.
  5. 5. If you use Twitter, Facebook or Google to log in, you will need to stay logged into that platform in order to comment. If you create a Disqus account instead, you'll need to remember your Disqus password. Either way, you can change your display name if you'd rather not show off your real name.
  6. 6. Don't be a huge jerk or do anything illegal, and you'll be fine.

Chattanooga Times Free Press Comments Policy

The Chattanooga Times Free Press web sites include interactive areas in which users can express opinions and share ideas and information. We cannot and do not monitor all of the material submitted to the website. Additionally, we do not control, and are not responsible for, content submitted by users. By using the web sites, you may be exposed to content that you may find offensive, indecent, inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise objectionable. You agree that you must evaluate, and bear all risks associated with, the use of the Times Free Press web sites and any content on the Times Free Press web sites, including, but not limited to, whether you should rely on such content. Notwithstanding the foregoing, you acknowledge that we shall have the right (but not the obligation) to review any content that you have submitted to the Times Free Press, and to reject, delete, disable, or remove any content that we determine, in our sole discretion, (a) does not comply with the terms and conditions of this agreement; (b) might violate any law, infringe upon the rights of third parties, or subject us to liability for any reason; or (c) might adversely affect our public image, reputation or goodwill. Moreover, we reserve the right to reject, delete, disable, or remove any content at any time, for the reasons set forth above, for any other reason, or for no reason. If you believe that any content on any of the Times Free Press websites infringes upon any copyrights that you own, please contact us pursuant to the procedures outlined in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (Title 17 U.S.C. § 512) at the following address:

Copyright Agent
The Chattanooga Times Free Press
400 East 11th Street
Chattanooga, TN 37403
Phone: 423-757-6315