Bob Corker

Kelly, White advance to runoff for Chattanooga mayor

Powersports dealer Tim Kelly and former economic development nonprofit president Kim White have advanced to the runoff to succeed term-limited Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke.

Kelly has said he doesn’t identify with either party. He gave donations to Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden last year and Republican gubernatorial candidate Randy Boyd in 2018. The son of a former Cadillac dealer, Kelly sold his own Subaru franchise last year. He still owns a large Honda powersports dealership.

White was the choice among conservative voters and the Chamber of Commerce crowd. She used to work for the real estate company of Bob Corker, a former mayor and U.S. senator. She later headed the River City Co.

Wade Hinton, a former city attorney under Berke, finished third.

Here are the top finishers among the 15 candidates:

Tim Kelly8,56230%
Kim White8,28929%
Wade Hinton6,10822%
Monty R Bruell2,4078%
Russell J Gilbert Sr.8893%
Elenora Woods8053%
Chris Long4912%
Erskine Oglesby Jr.3221%
Monty Dewayne Bell1571%

The runoff is scheduled for April 13.

Hagerty’s staff to be led by former Corker, Haslam aide Rader

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Bill Hagerty speaks at Nashville event on Dec. 3, 2019. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

U.S. Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-Nashville) has named John Rader, an onetime aide to former Sen. Bob Corker and Gov. Bill Haslam, as his chief of staff. Rader also worked for Hagerty on former President Donald Trump’s transition team in 2016.

Hagerty’s state staff, led by former Haslam chief of staff Jim Henry, was announced previously.

Here’s the full release from Hagerty’s office.

WASHINGTON – United States Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN) today announced the appointment of a team of experienced professionals to his staff. In addition to the State office appointments announced earlier, Hagerty has appointed Cookeville, Tennessee native, John Rader, as his Chief of Staff, as well as other exceptionally qualified men and women who will make up his administration, communications, and policy teams in Washington, D.C.

“Not only does the team I have assembled in my Washington office augment the strong on-the-ground state organization announced this month, they also bring a wide array of experiences and qualifications that will serve our state and the country well,” said Senator Hagerty. “Under John Rader’s leadership, and with the senior team I have assembled, I am confident this talented group will work above and beyond to serve the needs of Tennesseans and our Nation.”

Administrative

John N. Rader will serve as Chief of Staff. Rader, who brings legislative and executive branch experience, at the federal and state level, most recently served as Deputy Assistant to the President for Strategic Initiatives at the White House. Rader also served on the National Security Council as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Policy Advisor to the National Security Advisor and Deputy Assistant to the President for Policy and Strategy. Prior to his time in the administration, Rader served as Deputy Director of Presidential Appointments on the 2016 Presidential Transition Team. Rader previously served as counsel on the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and as Acting Deputy Counsel and Assistant Deputy Counsel to the Governor of the State of Tennessee. He received his B.A. from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and his J.D. from the University of Tennessee College of Law. Rader is a native of Cookeville, Tennessee.

Clark Milner will serve as Chief Counsel to Hagerty. Milner was previously Deputy Counsel to Governor Bill Lee, a role in which he advised the governor and governor’s staff regarding legal, legislative, ethical, and other matters, assisted in the development, drafting, and implementation of legislation, and helped coordinate the legal affairs of the executive branch of state government. He previously served as Associate Deputy Counsel to Governor Bill Haslam, was an associate with Bass, Berry, and Sims PLC in Nashville, and was a law clerk to Judge Thomas A. Varlan of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee. Milner received his law degree from the University of Tennessee and his undergraduate degree from the University of Georgia. He is from Knoxville, Tennessee.

Jim Durrett will serve as Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations. Durrett previously served as Deputy Chief of Staff to U.S. Senator Todd Young (R-IN). He has served in senior staff roles for U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), and U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV). He is a graduate of Austin Peay State University. Durrett is from Clarksville, Tennessee.

Betsy Van Dam will serve as Executive Assistant and Scheduler. Van Dam has supported Hagerty for the past ten years in the private sector as well as his stateside commitments during Hagerty’s tenure as the U.S. Ambassador to Japan. She served with the Presidential Appointments group on the 2016 Presidential Transition Team and as Hagerty’s Executive Assistant in the Department of Economic and Community Development for the State of Tennessee. She is from Franklin, Tennessee. 

Addison Osborne will serve as Assistant Scheduler. Osborne previously held internships in the White House Office of Political Affairs, at the Republican National Convention, and with U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) Office. She is a recent graduate of Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. 

Legend Brumbaugh will serve as Staff Assistant and Personal Aide to the Senator. Previously, Brumbaugh worked as a Regional Field Representative for Hagerty’s Senate campaign in Knoxville. He is a recent graduate of the University of Colorado, where he played football. Brumbaugh is from Knoxville, Tennessee.

Communications

Judd Deere will serve as Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications. Deere, who will also serve as the Senator’s spokesperson, most recently served in the White House as Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Press Secretary. He also spent time as Special Assistant to the President and Director of Media Affairs and before that as Director of State Communications. Prior to joining the administration, Deere was Director of Communications for Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and served as Deputy Campaign Manager and Director of Communications for the Tim Griffin for Arkansas campaign. Deere brings prior U.S. Senate experience from his time as Press Secretary and Digital Director for U.S. Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Correspondence Director for U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR). Before his first stint on Capitol Hill, Deere was a Field Director for the Republican Party of Arkansas during the 2010 campaign in the State’s third congressional district. Deere holds a B.A. in Political Science from Lyon College, and is a native of Benton, Arkansas.

Julia Hahn will serve as Senior Communications Advisor. Hahn most recently served as Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy White House Communications Director. She also served as Special Assistant to the President and Director of Rapid Response and Surrogate Operations. Previously, Hahn worked in media as the Executive Producer of the Laura Ingraham Show and a reporter at Breitbart News. She previously worked on Capitol Hill as Press Secretary to former Congressman Dave Brat (VA-07). Hahn graduated from the University of Chicago with a B.A. in Philosophy.

Bailee Beshires will serve as Press Assistant. Beshires joins Hagerty’s office having previously served as Press Assistant for former U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN). She is a graduate of the University of Tennessee, where she also served as Communications Assistant at the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy. She is from Henderson, Tennessee.

Audrey Traynor will serve as Digital Assistant. Traynor most recently served as Communications Assistant for former U.S. Senator David Perdue’s (R-GA) 2020 re-election campaign. Prior to joining the Perdue campaign, Traynor worked in communications for the Georgia Department of Labor. She is originally from Atlanta, and holds a B.A. in Advertising from the University of Georgia.

Policy

Adam Telle returns to the Senate to serve as Hagerty’s Chief Advisor. Most recently, Telle led the White House Office of Legislative Affairs’ Senate team, where he also managed all national security and appropriations matters. Previously, Telle was the chief staff member on the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Homeland Security Subcommittee, serving under the chairmanship of U.S. Senators Thad Cochran (R-MS), Richard Shelby (R-AL), John Boozman (R-AR), and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV). He also spent 10 years in the Office of Senator Cochran, where he served as Deputy Chief of Staff, Legislative Director, and the top national security staffer. Telle began his Senate career in the Office of Senator Shelby. He is a native of Northport, Alabama and holds degrees in computer science and communication from Mississippi State University, where he was elected student body president. Telle spent childhood summers in Sevier County, Tennessee, where his parents were married, and Telle himself was married in Nashville on the campus of Vanderbilt University, his wife’s alma mater.

Jonathan S. Greenstein will serve as Senior Policy Advisor. He previously was a Deputy Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of Treasury. In the private sector, he worked in Goldman Sachs’ Investment Banking Division covering financial institutions. He holds a J.D. from Yale, and a B.A. and MBA from Harvard.

Robert Zarate will serve as National Security Advisor. Zarate most recently served on the Policy Planning Staff at the U.S. Department of State. He previously served as Senior Foreign Policy Advisor to U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and advanced the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act (Public Law 116-76), Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act (Public Law 116-145), Hizballah International Financing Prevention Amendments Act (Public Law 115–272), and the Senate-passed Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act (S. 1, 116th Congress). He earlier served as National Security Advisor to former U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) and as Legislative Assistant to U.S. Representative Jeff Fortenberry (NE-01). Zarate earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Chicago.

Colonel (Retired) Joel D. Rayburn will serve as Special Advisor for Middle East Affairs. Rayburn has almost three decades of experience as a diplomat and military officer. Most recently, he has served two-and-half years as the U.S. Special Envoy for Syria in the U.S. Department of State. Previously, he was Senior Director for Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon on the National Security Council. Along with numerous deployments to Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Balkans, Rayburn taught history at West Point and became a published scholar of the Middle East. His 26-year Army career culminated in his 2013-2016 directorship of the Army’s Iraq War Study Group and the publication of a two-volume history, “The U.S. Army in the Iraq War” (2018). Rayburn also authored a book on Iraqi politics, “Iraq After America” (2013) and numerous articles on Middle Eastern affairs. He holds master’s degrees from Texas A&M University and the National War College.

Natalie McIntyre will serve as Deputy Legislative Director. McIntyre was formerly Deputy to the Associate Director for Legislative Affairs at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) where she handled the Senate portfolio and was the primary contact to Senate offices and OMB components. Before that, she was a Senior Policy Advisor and White House Liaison at the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Prior to her time in the administration, McIntyre was a Legislative Assistant for U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and handled the healthcare, transportation, and the budget portfolios. Natalie holds a M.P.P from the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University and a B.S in Financial Economics from Centre College.  

Andrew H. Hogin will serve as Deputy Chief of Staff for State Relations. He will focus on Tennessee-specific projects in Washington D.C. Previously, Hogin served as Deputy Chief of Staff to U.S. Representative David Kustoff (TN-08). He also served as Legislative Liaison for Hagerty during his tenure as Commissioner of Economic and Community Development for the State of Tennessee and prior to that as an Aide to Governor Bill Haslam. Hogin is a native of Nashville, Tennessee, and holds a B.S. in Political Science from the University of Tennessee. 

Lucas Da Pieve will serve as Projects Director. Da Pieve most recently served as the Deputy Legislative Director and Projects Manager, supervising all appropriations requests for former U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN). Previously he was the Director of Digital Response in the Office of Presidential Correspondence at the White House. He is a graduate of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and has worked in government and politics since 2013. Da Pieve is originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina. His family has lived in Blount County since 2008.

Kevin Kim will serve as the National Security Fellow. Kim previously served as the Senior Advisor to Special Presidential Envoy for Arms Control, where he participated in multiple rounds of United States-Russia arms control negotiations. He was also the Chief of Staff to Special Representative for North Korea. Kim was previously an analyst in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research at the Department of State, focusing on East Asia, non-proliferation, and Western Europe. Prior to joining the Department of State, Kim worked at the World Bank Group and the U.S. Korea Institute at SAIS Kim. He holds a B.A. from the Johns Hopkins University, an M.A. from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. at Catholic University of America.  

Shane Harris will serve as Special Projects Coordinator. Prior to joining Hagerty’s team, Harris was Associate Director for the White House Office of the Staff Secretary. He also previously served in the White House Office of Presidential Correspondence. Harris holds a B.A. in Political Science from Wittenberg University.

Riley Stamper will serve as a Legislative Correspondent and Personal Aide to Hagerty. Stamper most recently served as Personal Aide to Hagerty during his 2020 campaign. Previously, he served in former U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander’s (R-TN) Office. He is a graduate of Wofford College. Stamper is a ninth-generation Tennessean, originally from Knoxville, Tennessee.

Nick Elliot will serve as a Legislative Correspondent. Previously, he served as Deputy Field Director for Hagerty’s campaign. Elliot is a graduate of Georgetown University. He is from Nashville, Tennessee.

Rachel Leong will serve as a Legislative Correspondent. Leong previously worked in the White House Office of Legislative Affairs, first as a Staff Assistant on the Senate team and later Special Assistant to the Director of Legislative Affairs. Leong holds a B.A. from Texas A&M University, and is currently pursuing her M.S. in International Business at George Washington University. 

Shea Throckmorton will serve as a Legislative Correspondent. Previously, he served as West Tennessee Field Representative for Hagerty’s campaign. Throckmorton is a graduate of the University of Mississippi. He is from Memphis, Tennessee. 

TNJ interview: Haslam discusses Cyntoia Brown decision

Gov. Bill Haslam announces on Nov. 13, 2018, that Amazon will locate its East Coast logistics hub in Nashville. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Republican Gov. Bill Haslam in an interview with The Tennessee Journal on Monday discussed how he came to the decision to grant clemency to Cyntoia Brown, who will be released from prison after serving 15 years in August. Brown was sentenced to life in prison for a murder committed as a 16-year-old in 2004, after she had run away from home. She has said she acted in self-defense in shooting the man after she was forced into prostitution. Haslam said celebrity attention to the case led to his office receiving 100,000 calls from Brown’s supporters.

TNJ: How did you arrive at this decision?

Haslam: We have a lot of pardon and clemency requests in front of us, that’s really what I’m spending the majority of my last two weeks doing. So we wanted to be thorough on it. And No. 2, I think the thing that was so unusual about this was that, because it got such an extraordinary amount of publicity, we wanted to make certain we didn’t treat it any better or worse than any other case. We ended up getting 100,000 phone calls, which I think is the most that we’ve gotten on any issue. But while obviously that’s how democracy works, you don’t want to make decisions based on how many phone calls you get. So we wanted to set all that aside and say, what’s the right thing to do in this case? And in this case, it meant talking to everybody from her lawyers, to people who had been involved with her while she was in prison, to counselors who knew her, to try to make certain we were making the best decision.

TNJ: You had various options, you could have said she could have served 15, 20, 25 years or whatever amount of time.

Haslam: We thought about it a lot, and the governor does have incredible powers. You could say, I want her to be out in 15 minutes, or anything. I think you start out with, what’s the right thing to do, and what’s the best thing in her situation. For us, it was 15 years. A lot of people said, if that had happened today, she would have gotten 2nd degree, which would have been 15 to 25 years. And so that was one of the motivations of saying 15 years with 10 years’ probation.

TNJ: With all the celebrity attention, did that make it uncomfortable?

Haslam: There was so many cases that need that kind of review. But so many people follow Kim Kardashian, that if she tweets out ‘call the governor,’ we’re going to get a lot of phone calls. Or if it’s Rihanna, or Snoop Dogg, or whoever. For us it meant an added level of, let’s make certain we’re doing the right thing. And not penalizing because we had all these people calling us — we literally had people who couldn’t call here to get their TennCare dealt with because our phone lines were so full. So you don’t want to penalize her for that, but nor do you want to treat her any more special because 100,000 people called.

TNJ: Do you think there will be a political price to pay if you decide to run for the U.S. Senate in 2020?

Haslam: I honestly don’t know. Obviously there’s a lot of people who think it’s the greatest thing ever and some people who will be upset. I think you’ve got to shove all that aside. It’s part of why, when Corker’s seat came up, I said it’s just not right. Because I didn’t want to spend my last year-and-a-half as governor running for the Senate, and you couldn’t help but let things affect you. And that’s really why I said on this one, I’m not going to spend a lot of time thinking about it until we get out of here.

Sen. Lamar Alexander won’t run again in 2020

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Maryville) attends an event at the state Capitol in Nashville on Dec. 17, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Republican U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, a former governor and two-time presidential candidate, won’t seek re-election in 2020.

The decision will likely set off a mad scramble among Republicans seeking to succeed him in the Senate. Alexander’s planned departure follows a decision by Tennessee junior senator Bob Corker not to run again this year.

Corker released the following statement about Alexander’s decision:

One of the highlights of my time in the Senate has been working with Lamar Alexander. I often tell him he is the legislator of the decade because of the effective way he has worked across the aisle to pass legislation that directly affects the lives of so many throughout our state and around the country. As one of the finest statesmen our state has ever seen, Lamar will leave behind a remarkable legacy. I know he will press through the next two years with great vigor, and I look forward to all he will accomplish on behalf of Tennesseans as he completes his service in Washington.

Here’s what Gov. Bill Haslam had to say:

It is almost impossible to measure the impact of Lamar Alexander’s commitment to Tennessee.  His time as governor paved the way for the economic position we enjoy today as a leading state for business, and his educational reforms were ahead of his time.  As a senator, he has distinguished himself as a national leader, while always reminding everyone that our founders designed our government for most of the power to be delegated to the states.  No one has served our state longer as a governor and senator, and few, if any, have served it better than Lamar.

 

Corker trying, again, to set up congressional block to Trump tariffs

Republican Sen. Bob Corker is making a new push to allow Congress to block President Donald Trump’s tariffs on U.S. allies, though GOP leaders may stop it in its tracks once again, reports Politico.

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Corker’s latest Trump critique: ‘Ready, fire, aim’ policy on immigration

Tennessee’s Sen. Bob Corker says that the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy that forced many families to be separated at the U.S border was implemented in a “ready, fire, aim way” and is not a “realistic” way to enforce immigration laws, reports CBS News.

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Alexander and Corker: Stop separating parents and children detained at U.S. border

Statements from U.S. Sens. Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee on the Trump administration policy of separating children detained at the U.S./Mexico border from their parents, as reported by the Times Free Press:

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Angry Corker blames tariff amendment rejection on Republicans afraid to ‘poke the bear’ (President Trump)

Sen. Bob Corker chastised his fellow Republicans on Tuesday for failing to allow a vote on his proposal giving Congress the chance to accept or reject tariffs imposed by the president, reports USA Today.

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Bredesen: ‘I greatly admire’ Corker and Alexander efforts against Trump tariffs

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Phil Bredesen tells The Leaf Chronicle that Hemlock Semiconductor shuttered its $1.2 billion plant in Clarksville – launched while he was governor – because of a dispute between China and the United States over tariffs. The comment was a prelude to declaring his support for efforts by Republican Sens. Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander to require congressional approval of President Trump’s proposed new tariffs.

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Corker spurns Trump request; files bipartisan tariffs legislation with Alexander as co-sponsor

Sen. Bob Corker introduced a bipartisan bill Wednesday that would give Congress new authority to check the president’s trade moves, going forward with the legislation despite a personal appeal from President Trump to back off, reports the Washington Post.

Corker’s bill would require congressional approval when the president enacts tariffs under the auspices of national security, as Trump did last week in imposing levies on aluminum and steel imports from Canada, Mexico and the European Union.

The legislation, which Corker released with a total of nine Democratic and Republican co-sponsors, is the most forceful congressional response to date to Trump’s protectionist trade agenda. For the first time, at least some Republicans are uniting behind a concrete plan to force the president to change course on trade, after months of pleas and appeals achieved little.

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