Charles J. "Chuck" Fleischmann (born October 11, 1962) is the U.S. Representative for Tennessee's 3rd congressional district. The district is based in Chattanooga and includes a large swath of East Tennessee, including Oak Ridge. He is a member of the Republican Party.
Early life, education, and law career
Fleischmann is a lifelong resident of Ooltewah, an unincorporated suburban community east of Chattanooga. He received a B.A.
in Political Science at the University of Illinois. He also received both Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude honors. He received his juris doctor at the University of Tennessee College of Law in Knoxville. He then moved to Chattanooga and in 1987 founded his own law firm, Fleischmann and Fleischmann. He is a former President at Chattanooga Bar Association and former Chairman of the Chattanooga Lawyers Pro Bono Committee.
U.S. House of Representatives
Republican incumbent Zach Wamp decided to retire in order to run for Governor, leaving this an open seat. The Republican primary was very crowded because of the heavy Republican nature of the district. There were eleven candidates on the ballot, and none of them had political experience. His biggest competition came from former state GOP chairwoman Robin Smith, who was the more conservative candidate. She was endorsed by former Speaker of the U.S.
House Newt Gingrich and The Club for Growth. Fleischmann won the primary with a plurality of just 30% of the vote. He narrowly defeated second-place finisher Smith by just 1,415 votes. He won most of the counties in the district, which were mostly in the northern part of the district, while Smith won three counties: Rhea, Hamilton, and Polk counties. Third place finisher Tim Gobble won only single county: Bradley.
His Democratic opponent in the general election was John Wolfe, a fellow attorney.
Fleischmann faced Wolfe in his first case as an attorney. He said he won that case and the appeal "and now I want to defeat him a third time." His other opponent was independent candidate Savas Kyriakidis, an attorney, restaurant owner and Iraq War veteran who claimed Fleischmann didn't appear to be enough of a fiscal conservative. Fleischmann won the race with 57% of the vote.
Due to the freshman congressman's weak primary win and redistricting, he is seen as vulnerable in the primary. Republicans who have filed include Weston Wamp (son of Zach Wamp), Dr. Jean Howard Hill, and Ron Bhalla.
Fleischmann has more than $500,000 cash-on-hand, while Wamp has around $250,000 cash-on-hand. Wamp, 24 years old, said he will run an unconventional campaign. He said "I chose not to work with a D.C. consulting firm for a specific reason—I've grown up on the campaign trail in Tennessee's 3rd District. I don't need D.C. consultants to come down here and tell me what people in my area expect from their congressman, or to tell me what our country needs at this moment, because I'm certain at this moment our country needs some young leaders to emerge." In January 2012, Fleishmann released a 37-page document online displaying his accomplishments.
Rep. Fleischmann has always been a firm supporter of 2nd Amendment rights. He has received an “A” rating from the interest groups "National Rifle Association Political Fund Positions on Gun Rights" and "Gun Owners of America Positions on Gun Rights". He supports legislation that “allows licensed firearm owners to carry out their God-given right more freely” because “the right to carry a firearm is a right that allows law-abiding citizens to protect themselves and is crucial to the freedom of our country.” On November 16, 2011 Fleischmann voted Yea on the “National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011, which would allow a resident of a state that allows concealed carry to possess a firearm while visiting another state that has different firearm rights.
Rep. Fleischmann’s first vote in office was the 2011 motion “Repealing the Health Care Bill” which he supported.
Fleischmann was originally undecided on Speaker John Boehner’s debt limit bill of July 2011. The Thursday before the vote, as the House was voting on a separate appropriations bill, Boehner privately met Fleischmann and two other undecided Republicans in an office off the House floor. Fleischmann subsequently decided to vote in favor of the bill.
On November 16th 2011 Fleischmann voted for a bill that encourages the display of “In God We Trust” in public buildings and schools and reinforces it as our nation’s motto.
In November 2011 Rep. Fleischmann filed a new bill called the “Stop Green Initiative Abuse Act of 2011” which would repeal the Department of Energy’s “Weatherization Assistance Program”. This program attempts to assist low-income families in lowering their energy bills by adding energy efficient caulking and insulation to homes. A December 2010 report from the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office concluded that funds for the program had been “wasted or misspent”. Fleischmann’s office estimates that if this bill passes it would save taxpayers $2.1 billion dollars over the next decade. This is the third bill he has proposed.
- House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
- House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology
Fleischmann is married to Brenda M. Fleischmann. They have three sons, and live in Ooltewah.
February 9th, 2012