Van Hilleary

Van Hilleary deregisters as lobbyist to take on Rose chief of staff role

Former U.S. Rep. Van Hilleary (R-Spring City), left, was named chief of staff for Rep.-elect John Rose (R-Cookeville), right. (Image credit: Rose’s office)

Former U.S. Rep. Van Hilleary, a former gubernatorial and U.S. Senate candidate in Tennessee, formally deregistered as a Washington lobbyist last week, Politico reported. Hilleary is now the chief of staff to newly elected Rep. John Rose (R-Cookeville).

Hilleary, formerly of Spring City, lobbied for six clients as a subcontractor to the Williams & Jensen firm. He terminated his registrations on Wednesday, Politico reported.

As The Tennessee Journal reported last month, Hilleary’s lobbying clients over the the past two years included the U.S.-Guatemala Business Council, Global Down Syndrome Foundation, News Media Alliance, Tennessee Valley Floating Homes Alliance, and Exxon Mobil Corp. More prickly, politically speaking, is Hilleary’s recent work on behalf of New American Economy, a group founded by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to advocate for immigration reform.

Hilleary was registered to lobby on two Republican immigration bills that ultimately failed in the House in June. His client decried those measures (one of which was supported by President Donald Trump) as leaving “too many Dreamers in legal limbo” and threatening the economy by seeking drastic cuts in legal immigration.

Rose’s primary campaign against former Murfreesboro Judge Bob Corlew featured the Republican candidates trying to outdo each other on who could be the bigger supporter of Trump’s border wall and immigration rhetoric. “Stop the invasion,” demanded one of Rose’s online ads featuring images of menacing-looking gang members and a map suggesting the 6th District was about to be overrun.

Rose was sworn into office last week.

Rose names former Rep. Hilleary as chief of staff

Former U.S. Rep. Van Hilleary (R-Spring City), left, was named chief of staff for Rep.-elect John Rose (R-Cookeville), right. (Image credit: Rose’s office)

U.S. Rep.-elect John Rose (R-Cookeville) has chosen former Rep. Van Hilleary as chief of staff.

Hilleary (R-Spring City) represented the 4th Congressional District from 1994 to 2002. He vacated his seat to run for governor in 2002, but fell short to Democrat Phil Bredesen in that race. He came in third in the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate in 2006, a race won by former Chattanooga Mayor Bob Corker.  Hilleary has since worked as a lobbyist in Washington.

“Having an experienced person like Van Hilleary agree to serve as my chief of staff will greatly benefit me and my constituents from day one,” Rose said in a release. “He will bring the Washington know-how to our team, but is not a Washington insider. He is my friend and I could not be more proud to have him on board.”

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