For the past twelve years, I have had the privilege of representing Tennessee’s First Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives. I want to thank each of you for the opportunity to serve as your Congressman. This has been one of the greatest honors of my life, and I am humbled and grateful that Northeast Tennesseans put their trust in me to represent them in Washington.

My time in Congress has not been without difficulty. My wife, Pam, passed away, followed by the death of one of my closest friends in life a few weeks later. I was diagnosed with prostate cancer, and I am blessed to say I am a cancer survivor. I want to thank my family, friends, neighbors and loved ones who lifted me up and made it possible for me to continue serving. I could not have done this job without them. I am especially thankful for my wife Clarinda, my three children, and my three grandchildren for always standing beside me.

I also want to thank my incredible staff for their hard work and service. I am particularly proud of the work my staff did to help over 30,000 Tennesseans resolve issues they had with the federal government. Their hard work ensured that veterans received the benefits they deserved, taxpayers received a timely response from the Internal Revenue Service, and seniors received the Social Security benefits they earned, to name just a few. No one person can do this job alone, and I was blessed to have the support of a great staff who came to work every day ready to serve the people of Northeast Tennessee.

As I reflect on the past twelve years, I am proud of the work my colleagues and I did to improve Americans’ lives, and I am particularly proud of my work with the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee. As Chairman from 2017 – 2018 and Ranking Member from 2019 – 2020, I led the committee in passing much-needed reforms to care for our nation’s heroes. In 2017, we passed the VA MISSION Act into law, a transformative law that ensures veterans get the best healthcare possible, now and in the future. Our committee also passed the Forever GI Bill in 2017, which ensures veterans never lose access to the education benefits they have earned. America’s veterans deserve the very best care that we can provide, and I am proud to have served on a committee dedicated to this cause.

As a doctor before coming to Congress, I am also proud of the work done to improve our country’s healthcare system. I had the privilege of serving as co-chair of the GOP Doctors Caucus, which brought together decades of medical expertise in Congress to address the issues facing patients and doctors today. In 2014 and 2015, the Doctors Caucus led the effort to repeal and replace Medicare’s Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula, which would have required annual cuts to the Medicare program and threatened seniors’ access to care. By repealing and replacing the SGR formula with a value-based model, we ensured Medicare is protected for our seniors who rely on the program.

Starting in 2010, I led the effort in Congress to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), which was one of the worst parts of Obamacare. The IPAB would have been an unelected, unaccountable board of bureaucrats with sweeping powers to make unilateral cuts to Medicare. Thanks to the hard work of my colleagues and our staff, we successfully repealed IPAB in 2018.

I am also proud of passing legislation in 2014 to create a new National Desert Storm and Desert Shield War Memorial on the National Mall, passing legislation encouraging state to make life-saving epinephrine available in schools for students with severe allergies, and working with the Trump administration to reform the Medicare Wage Index to ensure hospitals in our region will be able to keep the best and brightest physicians right here in Northeast Tennessee. I believe these efforts have made a real difference in the lives of everyday Americans.

I thank you all again for allowing me to serve you in Congress. On January 3, Representative-elect Diana Harshbarger will be sworn in to represent our community. I wish her all the best, and I know firsthand how blessed she is to be able to serve such an extraordinary district.

May God bless each and every one of you, and may God bless the United States of America.

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.