Lee cabinet

Lee names EPB vice president as new Commerce and Insurance commissioner

Gov. Bill Lee has named Hodgen Mainda, a vice president of Chattanooga’s Electric Power Board, as commissioner of the Department of Commerce and Insurance. He succeeds Julie Mix McPeak, a holdover from Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration, who left for a job in the private sector.

Here’s the release announcing Mainda’s appointment from the governor’s office:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Today, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee announced Hodgen Mainda will serve in his cabinet as commissioner for the Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance. 

“Hodgen joins my cabinet after an outstanding career as a community leader in Chattanooga,” said Lee. “He is respected for his ability to build partnerships across multiple sectors and we welcome his leadership to such a multifaceted department like Commerce & Insurance.”

Mainda currently serves as the vice president for community development at the Electric Power Board (EPB) in Chattanooga which is the first provider of Gigabit internet in the country. In his role with the EPB, Mainda built partnerships across the state and federal level and increased EPB’s role in regional economic development. 

In addition to his work with EPB, Mainda serves on several non-profit boards including the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Chattanooga Rotary Club, the United Way of Greater Chattanooga, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Chancellor’s Roundtable and the College of Business Advisory Board. Mainda is also a member of the Leadership Tennessee Class of 2019 and a 2018 graduate of the Harvard Business School Young American Leaders Program.

A native of Nairobi, Kenya, Mainda, moved to Tennessee in 1997 to study at Middle Tennessee State University. He is a graduate of the University of Eastern Africa and currently resides in Chattanooga with his wife and two children.

Mainda will begin at the Department of Commerce & Insurance on October 1, 2019.

Former Republican gubernatorial nominee joins Lee administration

Jim Bryson (handout photo)

Jim Bryson, a onetime Republican gubernatorial nominee, is joining Gov. Bill Lee’s administration.

Bryson was a state senator when he lost to then-Gov. Phil Bredesen in the 2006 governor’s race. He has been appointed deputy commissioner of parks and conservation at the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. Bryson joins a fellow former state lawmaker Joe Carr as a deputy commissioner at the agency.

Here’s the full release from the Lee administration:

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation Commissioner David Salyers today announced the appointment of Jim Bryson as deputy commissioner of Parks and Conservation at TDEC.

“Jim’s experience in business, state government and community involvement, coupled with his passion for the outdoors, makes him uniquely qualified for this position,” Salyers said. “I look forward to working with Jim to make Tennessee State Parks the best run state park system in the nation.”

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McPeak to leave Lee administration

Gov. Bill Lee, bottom left, looks on as his Cabinet takes the oath of office in Nashville on Jan. 19, 2019. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Commerce and Insurance Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak has become the first member of Gov. Bill Lee’s Cabinet to step down.

McPeak, a holdover from Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration, is seeking unspecified “career opportunities in the private sector,” according to a release from the Lee administration.

McPeak is the past president of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and the former executive director of the Kentucky Office of Insurance.

Here’s the full release:

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance (TDCI) Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak announces today she is leaving Tennessee state government in order to pursue career opportunities in the private sector. Her last day as commissioner will be June 14, 2019. Tennessee Governor Bill Lee has named TDCI Deputy Commissioner Carter Lawrence to serve as the Department’s Interim Commissioner until a permanent commissioner is selected. 

“We thank Julie Mix McPeak for her over eight years of service and her tireless commitment to her Department and to Tennessee. We wish her the best in her future endeavors,” said Tennessee Governor Bill Lee. “Carter Lawrence has ably served as Deputy Commissioner at the Department of Commerce and Insurance, and I look forward to serving alongside him as he steps into the role of Interim Commissioner.”

McPeak, who was first appointed commissioner by Governor Bill Haslam in 2011, is the immediate past president of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), the U.S. standard-setting and regulatory support organization created and governed by the chief insurance regulators from the 50 states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories. The former executive director of the Kentucky Office of Insurance, McPeak is the first woman to serve as chief insurance regulator in more than one state.

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Lee raises pay for 15 members of Cabinet

Republican Gov. Bill Lee is largely paying the members of his Cabinet similarly to predecessor Bill Haslam, but 15 department heads will receive a salary bump compared with the last administration.

The AP’s Kimberlee Kruesi reports that TennCare Commissioner Gabe Roberts is the highest-paid of Lee’s top advisers at $300,000 per year. He and the next seven highest paid commissioners will make the same amount their counterparts did under Haslam.

The next 15 Cabinet members will receive $161,905 per year, an increase of between 2% and 6% from the last administration.

Lee names Schwinn as education commissioner

A release from Gov.-elect Bill Lee’s office:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. Today, Tennessee Governor-elect Bill Lee announced the appointment of Penny Schwinn to lead the Tennessee Department of Education.

“Penny leads with students at the forefront and I believe her experience is exactly what we need to continue improving on the gains we have made in the past few years,” said Lee. “As a former teacher and seasoned administrator, she will help make Tennessee a leader in the nation on education.”

Schwinn currently serves as the chief deputy commissioner of education at the Texas Education Agency. In this role, she pursued a series of reforms including the transformation of a failing state assessment program. She also implemented the expansion of statewide externships and pathway development for improving students’ career readiness upon graduation.

Additionally, Schwinn oversaw the development of open-source instructional materials to empower teachers with high-quality resources for teaching. Prior to serving in the Texas Education Agency, Schwinn was the chief accountability and performance officer for the Delaware Department of Education where she led efforts to conduct a testing audit, which led to nearly a 20 percent decrease in student testing time.

A former teacher, Schwinn taught with Teach for America (TFA) from 2004-2007 with work in Baltimore City Public Schools and Los Angeles. She is also the founder of Capitol Collegiate Academy, a charter school that serves low-income students in South Sacramento.

Lee names commissioners for Health, General Service, Intellectual Disabilities

Gov.-elect has named three more commissioners for his incoming administration:

• Lisa Piercey – Department of Health.
• Brad Turner – Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.
• Christi Branscom – Department of General Services.

Here is the release from Lee’s transition office:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. Today, Tennessee Governor-elect Bill Lee announced three appointments to his cabinet for the Department of Health, the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and the Department of General Services.

“We have been committed to building a team that represents each Grand Division and I am pleased to add appointees who represent West, Middle and East Tennessee at the table,” said Lee. “I look forward to working together to implement a conservative vision for Tennessee.”

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Lee names 3 more commissioners

A release from Gov.-elect Bill Lee’s office:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Today, Tennessee Governor-elect Bill Lee announced three appointments to his cabinet for the Department of Transportation, the Department of Environment and Conservation and the Department of Human Resources.

“I am pleased to announce three additions to our cabinet who bring a high level of expertise and deep knowledge of our state,” said Lee. “I look forward to working closely with these appointments as we build forward-thinking solutions for Tennessee.”

The Governor-elect named the following appointments today:

  • Clay Bright – Department of Transportation
  • David Salyers – Department of Environment and Conservation
  • Juan Williams– Department of Human Resources 

Clay Bright, of Davidson County, currently serves as the vice president of Brasfield & Gorrie, one of the nation’s largest privately held general contractors. Bright has worked with the company for 36 years and was instrumental in opening the Nashville office of Brasfield & Gorrie. He managed some of the most complex projects in Tennessee including the construction of the AT&T Building. 

David Salyers, of Madison County, currently serves as the executive director of the West Tennessee River Basin Authority, a division of the Department of Environment and Conservation. Salyers is a registered professional engineer, geologist and certified professional hydrologist who has worked with WTRBA for more than 20 years to develop conservation solutions for West Tennessee streams and rivers. During Salyers’ tenure, he has helped secure millions in federal grants for Tennessee and was also instrumental in developing the statewide water plan known as TN H2O. 

Juan Williams, of Davidson County, currently serves as the operations manager for the Duke Energy Nashville Resource Center where he advises managers, supervisors and employees on matters including operations and workplace culture. Previously, Williams served as the Director of Change Readiness for Duke Energy, with focuses on business process, talent management and restructuring. In addition to nearly 17 years of human resources and operations experience, Williams is an active member of the community and serves on the Pencil Foundation Board of Directors

Lee names West Tennessee Appeals Judge Gibson as adviser

Brandon Gibson, a judge on the western section of the Tennessee Court of Appeals has been named senior adviser to Gov.-elect Bill Lee’s incoming administration. She will be focus on long-term initiatives like criminal justice reform and prioritizing the needs of rural communities.

Here’s full release:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. Today, Tennessee Governor-elect Bill Lee announced his appointment of Brandon Gibson to serve as a Senior Advisor in the Office of the Governor, a cabinet-level position.

“Brandon is a principled conservative with deep rural roots in our state,” said Lee. “She is widely respected for her service on the Court of Appeals and I am honored that she will continue her commitment to public service in this administration.”

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Lee makes 6 more Cabinet annoucements

From Gov.-elect Bill Lee’s transition office:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. Today, Tennessee Governor-elect Bill Lee announced six appointments to his cabinet for the Department of Children’s Services, the Department of Corrections, the Department of Economic and Community Development, the Department of Labor & Workforce Development, the Department of Revenue and the Division of TennCare.

“The six individuals joining our cabinet represent each of our Grand Divisions and bring vast experience in their respective areas,” said Lee. “I am excited to work with this group and look forward to building solutions for our state.”

The Governor-elect named the following appointments today:

  • Jennifer Nichols – Department of Children’s Services
  • Tony Parker – Department of Corrections
  • Bob Rolfe – Department of Economic and Community Development
  • Dr. Jeff McCord – Department of Labor & Workforce Development
  • David Gerregano – Department of Revenue
  • Gabe Roberts – Division of TennCare

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Former Rep. Courtney Rogers to head Veterans Services in Lee administration

Gov.-elect Bill Lee has named former Rep. Courtney Rogers (R-Hendersonville) as commissioner of veterans services and Army Maj. Gen. Jeff Holmes as the head of military affairs.

Here’s was he release from the Lee transition;

NASHVILLE, Tenn. Today, Tennessee Governor-elect Bill Lee announced two appointments to his cabinet for the Department of Military and the Department of Veterans Services.

“We are pleased to add two experienced military leaders to our cabinet today,” said Lee. “Our veterans and active duty personnel will be in good hands with these appointments and I look forward to working with them.”

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