Dennis Norwood: I’m With Roy, Vote For Weston Wamp

Saturday, July 19, 2014
 Well, I don’t have anywhere near the followers or widespread influence that my friend Roy Exum has - although he did hire me to my very first “professional” job in journalism as a young kid fresh out of high school with no more credentials to my name than “yearbook sports editor.” That was in 1974 as a member of the sports staff at the former Chattanooga News-Free Press. I’m still indebted to Roy for giving me a start and a beginning at doing what has become a great love of my life.

 Many years later we are once again writing for the premier news publication in our town, 
com/" target="_blank"> And, I am glad to say, endorsing the same young man for Tennessee’s Third District Congressional seat, Weston Wamp.

 As time continues to move forward we find ourselves on the eve of early voting here in 2014 and at a critical juncture in the politics for our area in the beautiful Tennessee Valley.

 I starkly remember standing in a ballroom in the Double Tree Hotel four years ago as a member of the media covering the results of that year’s Republican Primary. At the time I was pretty much in shock, like so many, that Chuck Fleischmann had defeated Robin Smith for the party’s nomination. As I pondered why that happened, the only real reason I could come up with was the nasty, vitriolic negative campaign that he and his, at the time, campaign manager, Chip Saltsman, had unleashed in the latter days of the campaign.

 Two years later Fleischmann would do the same thing to Scottie Mayfield.

 And now, in 2014, we are beginning to see the same sinister tactics unleashed on Weston. Are these tactics unheard of elsewhere in politics? No, not really, but normally utilized by incumbents who can’t point to their records as something voters should take note of. Much like the case of Mr. Fleischmann.

 To Weston’s credit, and this is something voters should take note of, he has stayed above the fray, always taking the high road and answering the questions put to him, sticking to the issues.

 Chuck’s latest hit below the belt is a continuation of attempting to paint Weston as a closet liberal Democrat. It was done this time with a Facebook depiction of a picture showing President Obama and Mr. Wamp together. I have to think this stems from Mr. Obama’s earlier trip to Amazon here in Chattanooga - a visit that Chuck said he was much too busy to attend. Pretty much what he did was akin to a kid on the schoolyard picking up his ball and refusing to be on the same playground as his rival.

 Come on, the president of our country is in your congressional district and not only do you disrespect him, but also every person in your district, by not being there. Credit goes to Weston and his dad, former Congressman Zach Wamp, for having the class to show up and give the office of the president the respect it deserves. During my 20 years in the military I may not have always liked the guy in the Oval Office, but I respected the office for what it stood for and still do today. This becomes a very poignant picture of the childishness which often personifies Mr. Fleischmann.

 Fast forward to this past week with the Volkswagen announcement regarding the new assembly line here in Chattanooga. It seems as if every government representative with ties to this area was there for the announcement. Well, everyone but Chuck. Once again we were left playing “Where’s Waldo?” I guess he was once again too busy to celebrate a major economic boon to our region. Funny that it seems Governor Haslam and Senator Corker both probably rearranged their probably much busier schedules to be present.

 I believe in my own heart of hearts that we have never seen a sorrier group of elected officials than what we currently have in Washington, D.C. The idea that a Republican cannot speak to a Democrat, or vice versa, is preposterous. That’s exactly why we’re in the mess we are today. It’s not all Harry Reid’s fault or Nancy Pelosi’s. We have our own culprit in the current incumbent from right here in Chattanooga. What sort of person lives in a world where you believe you can make progress or end gridlock without talking to your “adversary?”

 Weston is right on target when he says we must reach across party lines to get things done. Reaching out does not mean giving in. It simply means "let’s find common ground to begin going forward from." Something Mr. Fleischmann doesn’t seem to understand. Instead he prefers to plant his feet, cross his arms in defiance and spout rhetoric that party leaders have given him. I thought we sent him to Congress to represent us, not the party. Am I wrong?

 I, for one, seriously doubt that, as he says he did, Mr. Fleischmann stood in President Obama’s face and said, “No, no, no.” Especially when he can hardly even speak to his own constituents. I don’t know how many elected officials I have heard or read about that can’t ever recall meeting their current representative. It is refreshing that Weston is making such an effort to meet and get to know those he will represent. The mileage on his RV must be adding up.

 Mr. Fleischmann made references to former President Ronald Reagan during the televised debate, inferring that he was of the ilk of one of our greatest presidents of all time. I have to believe that were Mr. Reagan alive today he would not recognize the politics of Mr. Fleischmann. Mr. Reagan was a great believer in reaching out and finding common ground with the other party, as was Abraham Lincoln. Mr. Lincoln steered our country through its darkest hour, in great part, by reaching out to his opponents and detractors.

 This is what Weston will do when we send him to Washington. He will work for growth in our economy and to putting a cap on our ever-increasing national debt. His plan to close our borders and require those here illegally to pay taxes like you and me is the soundest immigration plan I’ve heard to date.

 As a disabled military veteran and a person rapidly approaching Social Security, I appreciate the fact that Weston considers both categories to be of importance and not ones to be used as pawns by politicians trying to find support for their own barrel of pork.

 Don’t let Weston’s age be a deterrent either. The framers of our Constitution believed a young man two years his junior was qualified to serve. Who are we to disagree? Weston speaks with a knowledge and clarity far beyond most members of Congress today. In the words of our Millennial generation, “He gets it.”

 I am urging everyone in the Third Tennessee Congressional District to take Roy’s advice and vote for Weston Wamp in the Aug. 7 Republican Primary. You’ll be glad you did.

(Dennis can be reached at or on Twitter at @DennisENorwood) 

No Apologies Needed

I have read Roy Exum’s work for decades, so I deem myself qualified to have an opinion on his work.  Roy Exum is on a roll and producing his best work ever in my opinion.  Proof that his work is meaningful is the fact that so many people from City Hall to the Hamilton County Jail are demanding apologies for his editorials.   The Exum article titled, “We Want ... (click for more)

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