Congressional Candidates set to Debate: Olsen challenges Roe to a total of 3

Olsen for Congress


15 AUGUST 2018

Congressional Candidates set to Debate: Olsen challenges Roe to a total of 3

When, if ever, was the last debate between general election candidates in Tennessee’s 1st Congressional District? You’d have to check the history books because it certainly hasn’t happened in the past 10, 20 or even 40 years. Could it be the literal “debate of the century”?

Marty Olsen, Democratic nominee for Tennessee’s 1st District, has challenged fellow Ob/Gyn and incumbent Republican Rep. Phil Roe to a series of 3 debates between now and Election day, one in each of the in the western, middle, and eastern regions of the 12 county district.

A tentative debate is already in the works, pending negotiations. It has been independently arranged by a non partisan group in Bristol. Dr. Olsen is calling for an additional two, pointing out that Bristol is over an hour from the the majority of residents, and over 100 miles from communities such as Sevierville and Morristown.

On Wednesday, Dr. Olsen’s office sent the following letter to Phil Roe, by email and certified mail.

Congratulations on your recent electoral victory in the Republican primary. You and I worked together once as physicians, and I look forward opportunity to meet again as colleagues, albeit in a different context.

I’m sure you’ll agree that the fundamental ideals of Democracy demand that candidates invite every opportunity to promote voters’ abilities to make fair choices. You were certainly of that opinion when you challenged Congressman Davis to a debate in 2006, and again in your successful run two years later.

All citizens deserve access to their candidates. Our beautiful district, of course, spans 12 counties in East Tennessee–from Mountain City to east of Gatlinburg. Folks in the region work a fair few more days than the annual 133 required of Congress. It would be wrong to demand constituents in Newport, for example, to sacrifice the time and expense of a 4 hour round trip in order to participate as citizens. That is why I am calling for three debates to ensure that at least one is accessible to voters in the western, middle, and eastern areas of our district (e.g. Sevierville, Johnson City, Bristol).

I understand the House is in session 19 out of the next 82 days. Though the flight back from Washington is only 2.5 hours, I ask that you make yourself available to the public for 3 evenings, given the House is in recess the entire week of September 16th, and all of October after the 9th.

As you once said yourself, before you were elected: “You make yourself available, number one. Availability is the most important issue from the congressman’s standpoint.”


Marty Olsen