STAR - SUNDAY, MAY 14, 2006 - Page 7A
Roberts Announces Run For Congress
Photo by Eveleigh Hatfield
Richard Roberts, congressional candidate
By Brian Graves
Richard Roberts considershimself a common man who believes he can take that common touch to Washington.
Roberts visited the STAR and spoke about his run for the 1st District congressional seat now held by Bill Jenkins.
"I attended Greeneville High School and then got my law degree from the University of Tennessee,"
Roberts recalls. It was shortly after that he began working with former Sen. Howard Baker, whom he considers his mentor.
"He is one of the most honorable men I have ever known," Roberts said. "I believe the things I learned from him would help me a great deal in being able to start on the job right away."
He noted he does not consider himself a politician more of a businessman.
"I decided to run because I have the time and the energy to do it," Roberts said.
One of his major efforts in public life has been the establishment of a foundation that helps provide scholarships and direct aid to kids and communities in the 1st District. That foundation has provided more than $50 million since its inception.
"My wife, Imogene, and I do not have children," Roberts said. "But there are 44 students who I like to think of as our kids who are going to college on full-ride scholarships made possible by the foundation."
He says that is why one of his major focuses will be on education as a way to create jobs in the area.
Roberts commented on the current gas price problem now seen as the major concern of voters.
"We have to find a way to utilize the energy sources that have gone untapped," he said. "We have not
had a real energy policy in more than 30 years. There are environmentally-sound ways to do this."
He noted he would be in support of going for oil in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge area.
"You are not talking about a large area of land and it could bring a great deal of energy sources for
this country," Roberts said.
He says if he had to choose a political idol it would be former President Ronald Reagan.
"It's all about a conservative, limited government," Roberts said. "It's using common sense about the
basics things like securing our nation's borders, protecting our children from online predators, not
taking someone's house and giving it to a developer to build a strip mall, about protecting the unborn,
and making sure that an individual has the right to own a gun."
Roberts says he has been successful throughout his career as a problem-solver a trait he believes can help end the acrimonious atmosphere within the nation's capital.
"We had a situation in Greeneville about a new high school," Roberts said. "People were mad at each other about the subject, but I believe I helped facilitate the two sides into a friendly and accepted conclusion. That is what I want to do in Washington.
"To solve problems, you have to listen and understand what the problem is," he added.
"Somewhere along the line, the career politicians stopped listening to the people."