Johnson City Republican Phil Roe announced Thursday his bid for a sixth term in the U.S. House of Representatives.
In an email, Roe said he decided to run for re-election so he could continue his work on the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, which he was selected to chair last year.
“We are making real progress on behalf of East Tennessee, and I’m excited about the opportunities that lie ahead for our country,” the congressman said in an emailed statement. “For this reason I’ve decided to seek another term in Congress.”
Roe’s hesitancy in confirming his political plans in a year when dozens of Republicans, including nine House committee chairs, decided to retire from service led to speculation he might not run.
He was also recently diagnosed with and underwent treatment for prostate cancer, but said last month his health was good.
Should he win the seat in November, Roe will have surpassed the five-term limit he set for himself in the 2008 election. He faces a potential Republican primary challenge from Kingsport’s Todd McKinley, who announced his candidacy last year, and a potential Election Day matchup with Democrat Martin Olsen, an East Tennessee State University ObGyn professor and medical practitioner.
Read Roe’s full statement:
"When I first ran for Congress, I wanted to lend my expertise as a doctor to the debate over how to improve our nation’s health care system. As a veteran, I also felt strongly about improving the care and benefits that our nation’s heroes receive. After being selected by my colleagues to chair the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and to co-chair of the House GOP Doctors Caucus, I believe I can help ensure East Tennesseans’ voice is heard loud and clear on some of the most important issues facing our region and nation. We are making real progress on behalf of East Tennessee, and I’m excited about the opportunities that lie ahead for our country. For this reason I’ve decided to seek another term in Congress.
"Over the last year, I believe we’ve made great strides toward comprehensive reform of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. Already this Congress, we’ve delivered reforms to bring real accountability to VA, and improved the GI Bill by guaranteeing eligible veterans can utilize the benefit for life. Still, there is a lot of unfinished business left on the table. There are more than 65,000 veterans in the First Congressional District, and I believe they’re counting on me to finish what we’ve started. They deserve a choice in their health care, timely access to the benefits they’ve earned and a VA that works for them.
"East Tennesseans deserve a member of Congress who will stand for their conservative values. Our tax bill has the economy moving in the right direction, and jobs are finally coming back. I look forward to discussing my campaign with you, and I thank East Tennesseans for their continued support and trust. I would also like to thank my family for their understanding as we’ve worked together over the last few months to make this decision. They are and will always be my priority, and I could not serve in this way without their love and support."
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article indicated Roe had set a six-term threshold on his service in the House.