ROGERSVILLE — Former Kingsport Mayor John Clark sold his 1st Congressional District GOP candidacy to Hawkins County Republicans on Monday by emphasizing his "America First" agenda.
Clark, 62, said he'll fight illegal immigration, reject socialized medicine, save rural health care and support President Donald Trump 100%.
"I'm very excited about this race. I think it's going to come down to the wire," Clark told a small crowd at Occasions on the Square. "I think it's going to be very competitive. We have 16 candidates running (in the August GOP Primary) for an open seat (to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Phil Roe)."
Clark addressed these questions:
What's your main message?
"I'm running because I think I can make a positive difference in the lives of all 1st (Congressional District) Tennessee residents by improving their quality of life and ensuring a prosperous future for our district."
Is there any particular cause you want to champion in Washington?
"I think the Congressional seat has two aspects to it. One is local and the other is up in D.C. The quality of life piece is local and that's jobs and better access to health care. The aspect in Washington is to fight to preserve our freedom, fight against this movement for socialism, which to me is un-American and I totally disagree with. The other is to help this president get the economy back on track where it was three months ago."
If elected, how many terms would you agree to serve?
"I signed a three-term pledge. The reason I did that is I want to get something done. I don't want a career in politics. I had my career in the private sector in the medical products and manufacturing industry. I did that for 36 years. I think (Washington) is polarized so much, you have these career politicians and they get to their corners. They don't feel a sense of urgency to get anything done."
Is that image in your TV ad shaking hands with President Trump real or fabricated?
"That was when President Trump was in Johnson City two years ago. I was able to meet him and we had a photo taken together along with many other people. He was here to support (U.S. Sen.) Marsha Blackburn. We were at Freedom Hall. Yes, that's real."
Early voting begins July 17.