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Congressman Speaks on Importance of Voting

Aug 13, 2012

Congressman Phil Roe, a Johnson City OB/GYN physician who has represented Tennessee’s 1st Congressional District since 2009, visited the Bristol Campus on Tuesday, August 7. Congressman Roe spoke to assembled students about the importance of voting, the highlight of the campus’s voter registration drive.

Congressman Roe related his personal experience as a U.S. Army doctor serving in the Republic of Korea in the 1970’s to highlight the value of democracy. When he was stationed in Korea, that country was essentially ruled by a military dictatorship. Thanks to the sacrifice of U.S. soldiers, who have helped to protect Korea for more than 60 years, the Korean people have been able to build one of the world’s strongest economies and a democracy that Congressman Roe was able to observe firsthand in a recent visit. Today, he noted, American and NATO soldiers are doing the same in Afghanistan, helping others to achieve the freedoms we have enjoyed for more than 200 years. Never take your right to vote for granted, he reminded the students.

Several students asked questions of the congressman at the conclusion of his talk. Business administration student and U.S. Navy veteran Catherine Caudle shared the frustrations of many voters over negative campaign advertisements that are blanketing the TV airwaves. Congressman Roe was frank in stating that negative campaigning was unfortunately effective in many cases; but voters could still reserve judgment and make up their own minds about which candidate shared their personal values.

Congressman Roe concluded with encouraging remarks for the students. “Smart people like you that are getting trained to take care of me…I’m going to be needing your help here one of these days,” he remarked, noting the large number of students wearing medical scrubs. “You will be caring for patients and some of you will be doing other things, but I commend you on doing that; and strongly encourage you to study hard and learn what they teach you here.”

Judging by the number of students who lingered afterward for individual discussions and photos with the congressman, it’s clear that our students take to heart their responsibilities as citizens, as National graduates have for more than 125 years.

Rep. Roe is pictured above talking with pharmacy tech student Allison Copas after his remarks.

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