Tennessee’s 3rd District hasn’t seen a Democrat Representative in nearly 20 years, but Bill Taylor says he’s ready to change that.
Taylor, a 59-year-old Democrat and owner of Physician’s Practice Resources, announced Thursday his intentions to challenge Rep. Chuck Fleischmann in next year’s election.
To a crowd of around 30 men and women at the Hamilton County Democratic Party headquarters, Taylor said he was getting into the race because Washington politics had become “appalling” to him.
“There seems to be no effort to explore ideas, make compromises, and develop solutions that solve our issues,” Taylor said. “That needs to change. The three most important issues facing us today are jobs, healthcare, and taxes. And I’m uniquely qualified to address all these problems.”
Taylor, who called himself a Democrat in the tradition of former Gov. Phil Bredesen, has no prior experience in politics. If elected, he would be the first Democrat to win in the 3rd District since Rep. Marilyn Lloyd, who served 10 terms and was last elected to the House in 1992.
In an interview with reporters following his speech, Taylor said his 30 years of work in a health-related business, along with his financial knowledge as a certified public accountant, provide him with the skills needed represent almost 700,000 residents of the 3rd District.
“I’m a reasonable person with a lot of experience,” Taylor said. “I’m not going to dig myself into a trench and shoot at the opposition, I’m going to sit down at the table and talk to people to find common ground.”
When asked if he had a “realistic shot” at unseating Fleischmann, who defeated Democratic candidate John Wolfe in 2010 by a two-to-one margin, Taylor replied, “absolutely.”
“Most people in the 3rd District are like me, in that we’re in the middle of the road,” he said. “We want to see representatives who are going to work together, and get things done. I don’t think we’ve gotten that in a long time.”
Taylor is the lone Democrat to announce plans to challenge Fleischmann, who will be seeking his second term. Jordan Powell, press secretary for Fleischmann, said the congressman was continuing to focus on his job as representative and that the time for politics would come “next year.”
When asked for his thoughts on the current congressman, Taylor said he had not heard much about Fleischmann.
“It’s kind of hard to draw an opinion on someone you haven’t heard much about,” Taylor said. “I know he’s a lawyer, and I have some friends who are lawyers-but what did Shakespeare say about the lawyers?”
When asked for his thoughts on Weston Wamp, who recently raised $250,000 for his effort to win the Republican primary next August, Taylor didn’t seemed worried about a potential face-off.
“He’s 24-years-old,” Taylor said. “What has he done? I’ve been in the business for 30 years of people getting the benefits they were promised.”
So far, Taylor said he had no campaign organization and would begin forming a structured approach to raising funds and marketing himself to voters this weekend.
Following the event, Hamilton County Democratic Party Chairman Paul Smith said that Brenda Freeman Short, who ran for the Democratic nomination in 2010, was also considering joining the race as a Democrat.
“She’s just contemplating,” Smith said. “At this point, I don’t know of anyone else who’s talking about jumping in.”