By Jill Penley
Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn) announced on Friday that he will not seek reelection. Rep. Roe said he will serve out his current term, but he will not run for another. He has served since Jan 6, 2009.
“After prayerful consideration, I have decided to retire at the end of the 116th Congress,” Roe said in a statement. Roe pointed to his authoring of the MISSION Act, which ensures veterans have access to the best possible care and the Forever GI Bill, which ensures that veterans won’t lose access to the education benefits they earned. “I’ll leave Congress at the end of the year knowing that our nation’s heroes are better served today because of our work,” he said. “I am still hopeful that, before the 116th Congress adjourns, we will pass important reforms that improve outreach to veterans in crisis to address the suicide epidemic.”
Roe is among more than two dozen Republican House members who have decided not to seek reelection next year. The 74-year-old called representing East Tennesseans in Congress for the past 11 years, “the honor of my life.”
“I will be forever grateful for the trust my friends and neighbors put in me to represent them,” said Roe, the top Republican on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “As someone who practiced medicine for over 30 years, I said I would serve five or six terms because I never intended this job to be a second career.”
Roe earned a biology degree from Austin Peay State University in 1967 and earned his Medical Degree from the University of Tennessee in 1970. After graduation, he served two years in the United States Army Medical Corps.
Roe served as mayor of Johnson City from 2007 to 2009 and practiced medicine in the Tri-Cities for 31 years, delivering close to 5,000 babies, according to his House biography page. He and his wife, Clarinda, now live in Jonesborough.
Roe plans to finish well.
“The challenges we are facing now as complex as ever, and I still have a lot of fire in my belly. I look forward to finishing my term strongly for the East Tennesseans that I love representing and working with President Trump in favor of the free-market, conservative policies, so many of us hold dear. I am equally confident East Tennessee is full of capable public servants who will step up to fill my void, and I am ready to give them the opportunity to do so.”
Speculation of possible candidates for the congressional seat has already begun with names such as Steve Darden, another former Johnson City Mayor, Rep. Timothy Hill, R-Blountville, and Sen. Jon Lundberg, R-Bristol, being mentioned. Roe is among more than two-dozen Republican House members who have decided not to seek reelection next year.