I have been listening to and reading about the debate about Weston Wamp’s youth. Youth is not the issue. The abject lack of meaningful experience and no track record of accomplishments is. The duties of a congressman are tantamount to running a large private company. A congressman must manage a staff of nearly 20 people in four cities, including Washington DC, oversee a $1 million plus budget, represent 700,000 people across more than 10 counties spanning more than 150 miles, go to Washington from Monday until Friday, and have the life experiences to avoid immense and non-stop temptations of smart, savvy and shark like predators also known as lobbyist and influence peddlers.
I have not even begun to discuss the incredibly complex issues that must be addressed in the 3rd District and in the nation. Our firm is often asked to help companies select CEOs, COOs, CFOs, and board members. Never have we suggested a company select a person, young or old, that does not have the requisite experience.
Chuck Fleischmann fits the bill. Although Weston calls Chuck "merely a collection attorney," Chuck graduated in three years with the highest academic honors an undergraduate student can achieve (which by the way was from one of the nation's most highly regarded state universities) while working part-time jobs and then put himself through three years of UT law school. For 25 years Chuck worked seven day weeks while he was "merely" a collection attorney - which by the way is a very important part of business - collecting.
He and his wife built a very successful firm that employed a full staff. Chuck took a 70 percent pay cut to be our congressman. Weston is most likely hoping to greatly increase his salary. Not only did Chuck and Brenda build a very successful legal practice (a legal practice by the way is a business similar to accounting, engineering, and architecture), Chuck was very involved in the community, in his professional organizations and in the Hamilton County Republican Party.
While working 60 hour weeks, Chuck and Brenda raised three fine sons, sending two through college and law school while still having one in high school. Chuck also took care of his aging WWII father and honored him by moving him to Chattanooga and acting as his primary caregiver.
I have heard people say "what has Chuck done?" He has gone to Washington and earned the respect of his fellow congressmen and has been named as the only Tennessean to the Appropriations Committee where he is working to get the Chick Lock funded, among many other things. Chuck has been in Washington for three short years and rather than being given freedom to be our congressman, he had to fend off Weston and another opponent in his second term and now is being challenged again by 26-year-old Weston.
It is not Weston's age, it is his lack of experience and accomplishments - and judgment. It is about Chuck Fleischmann's experience and accomplishments, life experiences - and good judgment. I am proud to be Chuck's finance chairman and with the support of the every state legislator and senator in the 3rd District and many many supporters, we are going to return to congress the hardest working and smartest congressman in the United States to represent our 3rd District.
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I am right there with Mr. Decosimo for the same reasons he outlines so succinctly. And I am a born-and-bred FDR Democrat. They are the "good" Republicans of today.
Sorry, Weston. You are a nice young man with a future in politics. Prepare yourself well. It can be an honorable profession as Senator Bob Corker proves each time he returns from those trouble spots in the Middle East and goes that extra mile to brief us on his findings.
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Mr. Decosimo accuses Weston Wamp of having an “abject lack of meaningful experience and no track record of accomplishments.”
I would like to know what Mr. Decosimo’s definitions of “experience” and “accomplishments” actually are.
If the definition of “experience” is being an ambulance-chasing, personal injury attorney, who does collections work on the side, when there aren’t enough car wreck cases and slip and fall cases, then yes, Mr. Fleischmann is more experienced and accomplished than Weston Wamp.
Mr. Fleischmann made his money before Congress by suing people. His website advertises that he has “collected millions of dollars” for his clients in “both the personal injury and collection areas of practice.” Mr. Fleischmann is the type of attorney that gives lawyers bad reputations. He’s a predator. And, with all due respect, what he did before Congress makes him a scoundrel.
Surely being a personal injury attorney is not the experience that we want to require in a candidate for Congress? What other experience does Chuck have that makes him more “experienced” than Weston?
My definition of “accomplishments” is being 26-years-old and the founding director and director of communications at a Chattanooga company that helps fund and develop small businesses in Chattanooga. And Mr. Decosimo, if I had to guess, the founders at Lamp Post would not be pleased with your assessment of what “accomplishments” actually are.
Weston Wamp, and the company that he works for, defines accomplishments differently than Chuck Fleischmann ever has or ever will. Chuck’s proudest accomplishment is that he somehow tricked the people of the third district into sending him to Washington. And “trickery” is a good word for it considering Chuck has never even received 40 percent of the vote in a primary election. This means that, the first time Chuck ran, 70 percent of Republican Third District voters did not want him to be their member of Congress. The second time Chuck ran, over 60 percent of Republican Third District voters did not want him to be their member of Congress. Perks of not living in a run-off state, right Chuck? Regardless, if you spend anytime around Chuck you understand very quickly that his biggest life accomplishment is being elected to Congress.
Weston Wamp doesn’t want to be our congressman because of the prestige, clout, or salary that comes with being a member of Congress. I know Weston, and I am offended by Mr. Decosimo’s assertion that Weston is motivated by money. There is a much easier way to make money than to run for Congress, Mr. Decosimo. No human being in their right mind would go through the trouble of running for Congress just for the salary. Baseless allegations only hurt your credibility, Mr. Decosimo.
Weston was born with an extraordinary ability to lead. If he were elected to Congress he would undoubtedly be the face of the millennial generation in American politics. I also look forward to Weston being elected because I believe he is the perfect representative for Chattanooga– a forward-thinking city needs a forward-thinking leader.
Unfortunately I have no time to talk about what an abysmal failure of a Congressman Chuck has proved to be in the last four years, but I think it’s apparent from the fact that he’s proved almost impossible to get ahold of and only makes the news when he writes the President of the United States a postcard that has several grammatical errors and makes Chattanooga look bad.
It’s time for new leaders. Weston Wamp is who I will be voting for in August, and again in November.
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I think we need more of Chuck Fleischmann. If people want to ask what has Chuck done? Lets ask what did Zach do? Did he help arrange a deal for the developers of the subdivision he lives in to make a large profit on land using our tax dollars? I am glad that Mr. Fleishmann has not done anything like that.
I think the people of the 3rd. Congressional District need to tell Weston the same thing that the people of the State of Tennessee told his father when he ran for governor.
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Dear Mr. Decosimo,
Please know that I am writing this response with all due respect to you and the Decosimo family. I just wish you had been clear about writing it from the prospective of “Chuck’s finance chairman” rather than merely an observing citizen.
I have owned and operated one of the more successful independent insurance agencies in Hamilton County for the past 43 years. I too, sir, know that had I done all of the operation from a “hands on” perspective, I would have been doing my clients a disservice. If your assertion that Chuck manages all of the operations of the Tennessee 3rd District Congress, all four cites, then he has no time left to be about the business of a Congressman. Perhaps that’s why the Chickamauga Lock, which was moving toward completion under the former Congressman, is now stalled. Any leader worth his salt would have key people in place to run those offices. However, the bigger assertion that gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling of smoke being blown up my skirt is Chuck’s working for 25 years, seven days a week, 60 hours per week. Give me a break. Did you really say that? Yes you did.
Let me tell you this: one of the happiest days of my life was when I could turn duties over to two of my sons and my daughter, immediately after they obtained a PH. D., a law degree and a degree in public relations. Yes, they were young, young guns, just as Weston Wamp. They too were on the cutting edge with the latest and greatest ideas, just as Weston Wamp.
One more idea, Mr. Decosimo, finance chairman for Chuck: You assert that he has sacrificed and “took a 70 percent pay cut to be our Congressman.” Okay, he went to Washington with a $650,000 campaign debt, a loan he made to his own campaign out of his own pockets. How about I pay for a forensic accounting so “we the people” can see how he has parlayed his $160,000 annual salary for the past three years into his current financial position? Sacrifice, really?
I mean no harm to you or to Chuck. I like you both. However, it’s time to own up to where we are and send the best man, Weston Wamp, to Congress to represent us as we deserve.
J. Pat Williams
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While I commend Mr. Decosimo’s ability to see past Weston’s age, I must question his insistence and reliance on “meaningful experience.” How do we define meaningful? How do we define experience? Is it not fair to say that the current Congress is one of the most “meaningfully experienced” collections of men and women in the nation?
Here are some interesting statistics from the Congressional Research Service’s analysis of the 113th House of Representatives:
Average age of 57
85 master’s degrees
20 doctoral degrees
22 medical degrees
262 state or territorial legislators
156 lawyers (169 hold law degrees, 38 percent of the House)
These are obviously smart, capable people… accomplished academics and professionals. They possess the wisdom and perspective that accompany age, the critical thinking and perseverance required of advanced degrees, the real-world knowledge gained while operating businesses, practices, and local bodies of government.
Why is it then that this Congress, this 113th House of Representatives, is one of the least effective, lowest rated bodies of government this country has ever seen?
Personally, I believe it’s because we’ve lost sight of what made America great in the first place. We take fewer chances and opt for safer options. We ignore our guts. We are told that someone does not possess “meaningful experience” and we listen.
I believe that whatever Mr. Decosimo believes Weston lacks is actually a positive attribute and the very reason we should all vote for change in August. If we keep sending the same people to Congress, we should expect the same results.
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Chuck Fleischmann has done nothing to change Washington. He's simply another party player and not only hasn't gotten anything done, but has failed to stand strong and is an embarrassment to the Third District.
I think Weston Wamp's age isn't something to be apologized for or a stumbling block but an indicator that a vote for Weston isn't simply another vote for the same ineffective policy that Fleischmann has stood for.