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Business Roundtable - Catching up with Scott DesJarlais
Desjarlais in 2012
Scott DesJarlais is shown in this file photo from 2012 taking a tour of Accu-Router at Mt. View Industrial Park in Morrison.

Scott DesJarlais is in his sixth, two-year term in the US House of Representatives representing the 4th District of Tennessee. Scott is one of seven Republicans in the House from Tennessee, plus the two U.S. Senators. 

Scott is a professed fiscal conservative. He intends to run for a seventh term in 2022. Scott’s key staff members in D.C. and Tennessee are as follows:

• Richard Vaughn – Chief of Staff

• Hannah Russell – Legislative Director

• Alex Swisher – Communications Director

• Tony Iorio – Senior Military Legislative Assistant

• Lindsey Keller – Legislative Assistant & Manager of Constituent Communications

• MeKenna Carmen – Executive Assistant

• Amy Dennis – Field Representative

• Becky Moon – Field Representative

• Shirley Pond – Field Representative

• Lynne Davis – Field Representative

• Kristen Topping – Constituent Services Representative

• Thomas Wennerstrom – Constituent Services Representative

Scott currently serves on two committees – House Committee on Armed Services & House Committee on Agriculture. With committee assignments, the main activity is at the sub-committee level.  Scott serves on the following sub-committees:

• Tactical Air and Land Forces

• Strategic Forces

• Livestock and Foreign Agriculture

• Nutrition

• Conservation and Forestry

Scott expects to have the same committee assignments in 2022. Scott’s district currently has 16 counties. He does expect some re-drawing of the district as a result of the 2020 Census. The re-draw is handled by the Tennessee General Assembly.  

I asked Scott what he viewed as his key achievement during 2021 as our House representative.  Scott was able to get passage of the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act which resulted in getting $175 million in funding for the following

• $120.6 million for Arnold AFB construction projects

• $25 million for UT Space Institute partnership programs

• $10 million for UT Space Institute, Ft. Campbell, and Vanderbilt partnership program to create new military technology

• $20 million for IAMCI machine & advanced manufacturing technology at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory 

During 2021, Scott sponsored the following House bills:

• HR 4879 – Nuclear Security Enterprise Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2021 – gives   Oak Ridge National Laboratory the authorities needed to improve deteriorating facilities

• HR1737 – To designate the Mental Health Residential Rehabilitation Treatment Facility Expansion of the Department of Veteran Affairs Alvin C. York Medical Center in Murfreesboro, TN, as the “Sergeant John Toombs Residential Rehabilitation Treatment Facility”

I asked Scott what he identified as the biggest challenges facing the U.S. as we go into 2022.  He advised the following:

Bridging political divide – Compromise is nearly impossible; other countries are concerned

Unsecured southern U.S. border – Scott is concerned about terrorism and drugs

Inflation – Our current high inflation rate was caused in large measure by the COVID-19 pandemic with aid and vaccines/ventilators and the large run up with oil/ gas prices

I did discuss the near-term groundbreaking for the new National Guard Armory in Warren County. Bids were opened this fall. The donated acreage is adjacent to the Reddick-Brown Ford dealership on Highway 55. 

Heavy equipment has already been moved on-site. This will be a boon for our county.  Once complete and moved into, the existing armory will be turned over to Warren County.  

Given Scott’s background as a doctor, I did ask him about COVID-19. He stated that 95% of all COVID-related deaths are to people over 50 years of age. Scott also noted that research is showing COVID vaccines appear to wane over time, suggesting the need for booster shots. He recommended that older people be vaccinated. Scott advised that the decision of whether to get the vaccine should be based on an individual’s consultation with their doctor.  

Scott and his staff are very approachable. Most U.S. Congressmen are lawyers by background. Scott is one of the few doctors. We thank Congressman Scott DesJarlais for his time and these updates.