Dr. Roe has been a practicing doctor for the past 35 years. Phil is a graduate of Austin Peay State University and the University of Tennessee College of Medicine.

Dr. Roe has been on the City Commission since 2003, serving as Vice-Mayor since 2005. He also spent 6 years on the City Planning Commission. Phil is also on the East Tennessee State University Foundation Board until 2014.

Dr. Roe served in the United States Army from 1973-1974 in Korea as a Captain and 1974 as a Major in Fort Eustis, VA. Phil has received the King Pharmaceutical Healthcare Hero Award and Tennessee Board of Regents Award for Excellence in Philanthropy. He is a two term past president of Tri County medical Society and Chairman of Staff and Board of the Johnson City Specialty Hospital.

Phil and his wife Pam are the parents of three grown children and two grandchildren. He is a member of Munsey Memorial United Methodist Church.

In his opening statement Roe spoke of running budget surpluses in Johnson City, of which he is quite proud. He then moved on to the three points which are most important to him: 1. providing affordable healthcare to all; 2. the war in Iraq; and 3. that he is accepting no money from lobbyists in his campaign.

Roe’s three points and the fact that Pete Paduch came up and gave him a friendly “howdy-do” before the debate had me beyond skeptical of Dr. Roe.

Question 1: With a great deal of publicity lately, do you believe the Fair Tax is superior to the present tax code?

Roe says that we do need tax reform. He seemed to understand the Fair Tax, but does have one concern (which shows that Roe has not actually researched the Fair Tax, because this concern is answered on the website, http://www.fairtax.org.). This concern is that Congress will increase the amount of the tax, as Congress tends to do. He mentioned that he fears that, due to lobbyist power in Washington, the Fair Tax will have difficulty passing because it would eliminate the “perks” of the current system.

Question 2: Should abortion be a Federal or States Rights issue?

Roe says that we need to stop abortion, and he doesn’t care how we do it (right on!!). Roe says that the law is bad, and it needs to be changed no matter what. He gave a personal account of witnessing a partial birth abortion and said it is absolutely the most gruesome thing he’s ever seen. What I took from his statement is that, be it on the Federal or the State level, abortion must be stopped.

Question 3: Do you believe it is the Federal Government’s responsibility to bail out individual states after every natural disaster?

Roe says that we need to be better prepared on a local level, but that, yes, the Federal government should bail out those who need it. He says that there are population issues on the local level and, at times, a disaster can overwhelm the system. In these instances, the Federal government should be there to “pick up the pieces.”

Question 4: Do you believe the Federal Government should play a role and mandate the oil companies on a universal scale, to use the EA85 version of ethanol?

Roe believes that the government is too intrusive; we need to allow the free market to work , including the introduction of alternative fuels based on freedom, not government mandates. He says that our goal should be energy independence – the technology is already here (contrary to what Mr. Brackett seems to believe), so we need to use it!

Question 5: Why is the health care insurance industry guaranteed a profit by the Federal Government in a free market system?

Free markets do work, and we need to return to it, according to Roe. We need more competition, not less (as Mr. Cheek would suggest), and we need liability reform.

Question 6: Title 6 states that “No Person shall be discriminated against on the basis of race, color, or national origin.” The Supreme Court has held that undocumented aliens are considered “Persons” under the equal protection and due process clauses of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. Therefore the assumption has been applied by the Courts, Congress, and State Governments that undocumented aliens have the same rights to all Federal assistance programs as citizens do. What would you do about amending Title 6 to restrict services to citizens only?

Roe, like just about everyone else on the panel, believes that we need to change the wording of Title 6 so that care may be denied. Roe, too, believes that the “anchor baby” policy needs to be repealed or we should work hard to prevent border-crossing of pregnant women (and everyone else, for that matter.) We can and should, according to Roe, secure the borders, and we need a national language.

In his closing statement Roe emphasized that we need to protect the country. He is concerned about healthcare, and is opposed to special interests (whom he feels are the root of many of the evils in Washington). Roe is also in favor of increased support for veterans.

All-in-all, Roe is a fairly solid Republican candidate. My concerns are with his refusal to commit to and less-than-thorough understanding of the Fair Tax, his focus on providing healthcare to “all Americans,” and the fact that he seems to be a “solid Republican candidate.” Not to mention the fact that I’ve watched him in Johnson City Commission meetings for the last few years and he’s not exactly a “tough guy.” We need someone who will not budge on those issues that are important to us and I’m just not sure that Roe is the man for the job. Plus he hangs out with Pete Paduch on a regular basis and that, in and of itself, is a serious character flaw.