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Local link to Congress closes

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By Cindy Simpson

Outgoing U.S. Rep. Lincoln Davis was known for his accessibility to the public, particularly to the veterans in his district.

The local offices, including the one in Rockwood, where many a veteran has successfully sought help gaining benefits or the medals they deserved, will be closing this week as Davis’ term draws to a close, according to his spokesman, Tom Hayden.

Beth Hickman, Rockwood’s field representative for Davis, was recently hired at the Roane Alliance to serve as the CEO’s executive assistant.

One of the things Davis, who lost a reelection campaign to Republican Scott DesJarlais, was most proud of was his role in helping to get a number of veterans clinics in his district.

“We actually got five new clinics designated. The one we opened in Rockwood was a major success — especially for the ones that gave so much for our country,” Davis said.

Davis credited his local office staff with doing a good job.

“We drop everything else to make sure the needs, the requests were immediately addressed,” Davis said.

He also said he appreciated his role helping people seeking thousands in settlement for “legacy illness” sufferers who worked on the Manhattan project.

Davis said many people came through his office seeking help.

“That was an area we were greatly successful,” Davis said.

He also said he tried to be as accessible as possible, holding many town hall meetings and came to the area in the wake of the ash spill at the TVA Kingston Fossil Plant.

“I was the first federally elected official onsite,” Davis said.

He held a town hall meeting in February following the spill in December and said he attended hearings in Washington, D.C.

Davis also talked to his votes on several federal issues, including his vote approving what became known as the stimulus package.

Many stimulus dollars went to Oak Ridge for environmental cleanup

“Over 1,500 jobs (were created) in Oak Ridge because of that,” he said.

He also said he was passionate and would continue to do what he could to support the construction of a uranium processing facility that will be built in Oak Ridge, something that was appropriated significant funds while he was part of the House Appropriations energy and water subcommittee.
Independent thinking was the focus of much of his campaign.

Davis said his independent record shows he didn’t always vote with his fellow Democrats, instead voting with what he said his constituents wanted.

He voted against the bank bailout, cap and trade proposals as well as the health-care legislation.

While he may be vacating his seat, Davis said he would still do what he could to serve his district.

“I still plan to stay involved in public service,” Davis said.

One thing he plans to help address is doing his  best to continue funding for the Oak Ridge projects.

Davis also wished DesJarlais success as he serves the  people of this district and said serving the district has been a pleasure.

“It has been an unbelievable opportunity for someone that grew up in Fentress County ... to help individuals in need that felt things were helpless,” Davis said.