House VA committee chairman announces re-election bid

Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., chairman of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, addresses about 100 veterans and health care providers who attended a town hall meeting Monday, Nov. 20, 2017 at the John L. McLellan Memorial Veterans Hospital in Little Rock, Ark.


By NIKKI WENTLING | STARS AND STRIPES Published: February 8, 2018

WASHINGTON — Republican Phil Roe, who represents Tennessee’s first district in Congress and is the chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, will run for re-election this year, he confirmed Thursday.

Roe, 72, made the announcement amid speculation he would retire. He cited his work on veterans’ issues as a reason he will run for a sixth term.

Roe, who is an OB-GYN and an Army veteran, took over as committee chairman in January 2017 and cultivated a mostly amenable relationship with committee Democrats that led to the passage of major, bipartisan legislation. Last year, Congress approved bills from the committee that boosted student veterans’ education benefits and created a faster firing process at the Department of Veterans Affairs, among others.

“Over the last year, I believe we’ve made great strides toward comprehensive reform of the [VA],” Roe said in a statement. “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.”

Roll Call reported this week that Roe was undecided on running and had cited family considerations as a reason he might retire. If he had decided against re-election, Roe would’ve been the 10th Republican committee chairman to leave the House after this term.

Twitter: @nikkiwentling

Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., speaks about his role as the newly designated chairman of the House Committee on Veterans' Affiairs in his office on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017.