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.”


Here’s the full release from Rose’s office:

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Congressman-Elect John Rose (TN-6) has tapped former Congressman Van Hilleary as his chief of staff. Hilleary was asked to lead the new Congressman’s staff as Rose aims to make timely, effective constituent services the cornerstone of his service to the people of Tennessee’s 6th Congressional District.

Van Hilleary knows about connecting with constituents; he served as the congressman for Tennessee’s 4th Congressional District from 1995 to 2003. He built a solid conservative record in support of a strong national defense, balanced budgets, tax cuts, business deregulation, the Second Amendment, and rights of the unborn. He left office to run for Governor of Tennessee in 2002 on an education reform and anti-income tax platform, but fell just short in a close race to now former Governor Phil Bredesen.

Congressman-elect Rose, a small businessman and farmer, was a first-time candidate for elective office in 2018. Rose stated, “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. 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. Together, we will work to bring the highest level of service to this office so the people I serve are represented in the fullest manner possible.”

State Representative and House Republican Caucus Chairman Cameron Sexton of Crossville added, “As a member of his campaign staff in 2002, I was an up-close witness to then-Congressman Hilleary’s renowned work ethic, knowledge of public policy, and respect for the people of Tennessee. I believe Congressman-elect Rose’s inspired selection of such an experienced and accomplished public servant as his chief of staff will pay dividends for him and the people of Tennessee’s 6th Congressional District.”

Also commenting on the selection, State Senator Paul Bailey of Sparta said, “Van Hilleary was a popular and respected congressman in his old congressional district, and a number of those counties are now included in our 6th district. I think he will be a great right hand to Congressman-elect Rose as he seeks to hit the ground running in Washington, while at the same time making sure his constituents’ needs are addressed in an effective and timely manner.”

Hilleary said, “The day Congressman Diane Black announced she was retiring to run for governor, my first thought was that John Rose should run for that seat. His irreproachable character; background as a successful businessman, lawyer, and farmer; thoughtful approach to public policy issues, and the sincere faith-based life he leads make John Rose exactly the type of person we need in Congress – maybe now more than ever. I have nothing but the utmost respect for him and his family, appreciate the friendship we have formed over many years, and am honored to have the opportunity he has extended to me to again serve the people of Tennessee. I look forward to supporting his efforts in any way I can to help him be the most effective Member of Congress possible and an agent of consequential, positive change for our state and nation.”

The 6th District includes 19 counties that stretch from parts of Cheatham County and all of Robertson County down to Coffee County and across the Cumberland Plateau. John Rose is the eighth generation in his family to call the 6th District home. He is a conservative small business owner and farmer who lives with his wife Chelsea and their son Guy in Cookeville. Rose will be sworn in January 3rd during the opening session of the 116th Congress.


7 Responses to Rose names former Rep. Hilleary as chief of staff

  • Avatar
    Stuart I. Anderson says:

    Now that’s what I call a mind blowing combination – at least it blows my mind. Van Hilleary was a strong conservative during his tenure in the House, so much so that when he ran for governor and then the U. S. Senate I sent him significant financial support. On the other hand I have regarded John Rose with deep suspicion due to his having been a No Record Candidate who received significant financial support from liberal Democrat bundlers in the Sixth District. Indeed, I am ready to chalk off the Sixth District race as one of the few conservative losses in what was an election with many gains as conservatives seek to give the Republican Party a reason to exist as something other than as the political arm of the U. S. Chamber of Commerce/Business Round Table.

    So it comes to pass just as I am prepared to see how much lower Rose scores compared to his predecessor Diane Black’s Heritage Action score of 77% he chooses Van Hilleary as his chief of staff. What to make of it? Of course, Van has been in Washington for a number of years and while I survived ideologically unscathed after having lived in D. C. for seven years, the same cannot be said for many conservatives who succumb to Potomac Fever. Regarding Rose I’m still prepared for the worst, but with Van Hilleary as his chief of staff there is at least some reason to hope for the best.

    • Avatar
      Jason Wallflower says:

      No offense Stuart, but you ARE a RINO. The Judd Matheny’s of the party are the RINOs that need to be expelled. Good for Rose. Hiring Hilleary is a strong move.

  • Avatar
    Eddie White says:

    I worked hard for Van Hilleary in 2002 and still have regrets that Bredesen won that election.

  • Avatar
    Arnold Tayes says:


    I believe you supported Jud Mathney. get over it.

    • Avatar
      Stuart I. Anderson says:

      I certainly did! I’m a conservative and Judd was the only candidate of the three who had a proven conservative record so that’s who I supported. This stuff ain’t nuclear physics Arnold! As it turned out, Rose had the enthusiastic support of the centrist/tepid conservative establishment and the most money while Judd and Corlew split the conservative vote so Rose won with about 41% of the vote in this no runoff state.

      Far from “getting over it,” I hope all conservatives join me in closely monitoring Rose’s voting record as Heritage begins publishing its scores this spring. If Rose lives up to his Democratic backers expectations despite the presence of Hilleary it will become obvious to conservatives that he needs to be greeted by a conservative opponent in the 2020 Republican Primary when he drags his sorry butt back to Tennessee in order to run for reelection.

  • Pingback: Wednesday, December 12

  • Avatar
    James White says:

    The Freedom Index gives Van Hilleary a 55% for first term and 68% second term, for an average of 62%.
    Looking over some of Van’s votes, I predict he will lead Rose along his provent NEOCON path.
    (Judd voted for an Article V Constitutional Convention, so I would have never voted for him either).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *