Tanner bids farewell
to career serving
the people of Tennessee
LONGTIME FRIENDS — Retired Congress- District in the state House of Representatives
man John Tanner (left) relaxes in his Union City from 1976 until 1988 and represented the 8th
office with longtime friend Circuit Court Judge District in the U.S. House of Representatives
Bill Acree. The two friends were photographed from January 1989 until his retirement in January
in early January following Tanner’s retirement 2011. For the first time since 1976, Tanner isn’t
from Congress. Tanner represented the 77th a member of a house of representatives.
Special section takes a look
at Tanner’s public service
John Tanner recently closed the book on his long and distinguished
career in public service.
It was a career that began with his election to the Tennessee House of
Representatives, where he served the people of
the 77th House District from 1976 until 1988.
He advanced from the state House of
Representatives to the U.S. House of Repre-
sentatives, succeeding longtime Congressman
Ed Jones when he was elected his successor in
Tanner served in Congress from Jan. 3, 1989
until his official retirement from public service
on Jan. 3 of this year.
During his time in Congress, Tanner has wit-
nessed his fair share of triumph and tragedy.
He served with four U.S. presidents.
He helped start the Blue Dog Democrats.
He served on some of the most powerful
committees in the U.S. House of Representatives.
He maintained a strong reputation as a conservative throughout his
He served two years as president of the NATO Parliamentary
In recent weeks, Tanner has provided The Messenger
unique access to the memories that he takes away from
his career in public service. Interviews and access to
photographs and other memorabilia have been made
available to The Messenger.
Also, friends and colleagues have provided The
Messenger with recollections.
And it is all included in this special section.
We hope you enjoy taking a look back at former
Congressman John Tanner’s long and distinguished
career in public service.
A Publication of The Messenger
March 30, 2011
Page Two The Messenger, Union City, Tennessee, Wednesday, March 30, 2011
I ﬁrst met John Tanner when he was our state representative. We had just begun
Southern Machinery Repair and I soon found out that John was not your typical politician.
He felt strongly about issues that had a positive impact on the business community in our
district. He was accessible and easy to talk to.
Our family strongly supported John in all of his campaigns for Congress. I had never
been involved in politics but I saw in John the qualities of leadership that proved to be
important to not only our district but to our nation as well.
It is not often you see someone from places like rural northwest Tennessee interact
with leaders of the world superpowers. John did this in his role as president of the NATO
inter-parliamentary association. He was as comfortable in this role as he is in a duck
blind or the golf course or showing up at a wild game supper with his constituents.
Through John’s encouragement and support, then-Gov. Phil Bredesen named me to
the Tennessee Aeronautics Commission. I later became chairman. In this role I worked
with the congressman and saw ﬁrst-hand his ability to make things happen.
John knew that if rural areas as ours have any hope for economic viability, we have to
work on a regional basis. He knew the importance of a vibrant transportation network to
make the regional concept work.
I have heard John say many times that we have the Mississippi and Tennessee rivers
for water transportation. He made the Northwest Tennessee Port happen to take advantage
of barge trafﬁc on the Mississippi. He supported the Corps of Engineers’ efforts to keep
the navigation system and the locks at dams on the Tennessee River and the Tennessee-
Tombigbee Waterway operational.
I don’t think there is much of an argument that John’s inﬂuence was the instrumental
force behind Interstate 69 coming through rural West Tennessee. We have good rail
service that is in existence.
With water, rail and highway transportation arteries either on the board or in place,
it was obvious all we lacked was an upgrade on our airport facilities. While I was on
the Aeronautics Commission, I saw John lead in the efforts to get Weakley and Obion
counties join together and form Everett-Stewart Regional Airport. John got a special
allocation of money for the extension of our airport runway. We worked with the state
and federal aeronautics administrations to come up with the additional funds to acquire
the necessary land and for an extension of the runway at Everett-Stewart up to 6,500
feet. This, along with the equipment upgrade, has made it a ﬁrst-class facility.
The dire news about Goodyear has put northwest Tennessee in a negative light in
terms of economic stability. I just want to go on record as saying we will work out of this
situation and John’s foresight and ability to get things done will place us in a much better
situation to weather the impending storm. Without adequate infrastructure, our situation
would indeed be bleak.
Southern Machinery Repair
Tanner’s career was one of distinction
The Messenger, Union City, Tennessee, Wednesday, March 30, 2011 Page Three
John Tanner has left quite Tanner served as a lieu- cal responsibility and pro-
an impression during his tenant in the U.S. Navy growth economic policies
more than 30 years in pub- from 1968 until 1972, when in Congress. The Blue Dog
lic service. he received an honorable Coalition was so named
His reputation as a con- discharge. He entered the because its members felt
servative Democrat extends Tennessee Army National “squeezed from the left and
back to his 12 years repre- Guard in 1972 and retired right until they turned blue
senting the 77th District in with the rank of colonel in in the face,” according to
the state House of Repre- 2000. Tanner is one of few Tanner’s biography.
sentatives, and continued members of Congress to During the time he was a
with him during his 21 years have served on the board member of the U.S. House
representing Tennessee’s of visitors for the U.S. Na- of Representatives, Tanner
8th Congressional District val Academy, the U.S. Air served on the Armed Ser-
in Congress. Force Academy and the vices and Science commit-
Tanner served in the state U.S. Military Academy. tees until his appointment in
House of Representatives Tanner and his wife, 1997 to the House Ways and
from 1976 until 1988, when Betty Ann, have two chil- Means Committee, where
he ran successfully to suc- dren, Elizabeth (Tanner) he served as acting chair-
ceed Ed Jones in the U.S. Atkins and John Portis Tan- man of the Subcommittee
House of Representatives. ner, and four grandchildren, on Trade, and chaired So-
He served there from 1989 Abby Frances Atkins, Tan- cial Security Subcommittee
until his recent retirement. ner Lantrip Atkins, Beck and the House Foreign Af-
Throughout his political Counce Tanner and Edith fairs Committee.
career, Tanner established Dorothy Tanner. Tanner also served as the
himself as a conservative Throughout his long and Chief Deputy Whip for the
and fought diligently for storied career in public House Democratic Cau-
responsible spending on the service, Tanner has relied cus in the 109th, 110th and
state and federal levels. heavily on his education, 111th Congress.
The retired congress- military background and Tanner’s legacy as a con-
man’s biography docu- his family. servative Democrat at the POWERFUL PARTNERS — In this Bredesen and his wife, Andrea Conté. The
ments an impressive career In 2008, legislators from state and national levels photo provided by John Tanner’s staff, the photo is one of many photographs Tanner
in public service, all be- all NATO-member nations will last a long time across former congressman (second from left) has on display in his ofﬁce in downtown
ginning in the Union City elected Tanner to serve West Tennessee. and his wife, Betty Ann Tanner (left), are Union City.
School System. as president of the NATO The impact of the work ﬂanked by former Tennessee Gov. Phil
Tanner was educated Parliamentary Assembly, he did in the state House
in the Union City School the alliance’s legislative of Representatives and in
System and attended the branch. Congress is still being felt
University of Tennessee at Tanner is recognized as through some of the proj-
Knoxville on a basketball one of the founders of the ects he fought for as a pub-
scholarship. He earned a Blue Dog Coalition, a group lic servant.
bachelor’s degree in busi- of moderate to conservative One of those projects
ness administration from U.S. House Democrats. — Lake County’s Cates
UTK in 1966 and went on That coalition was founded Landing — is on track for
to earn a law degree from in 1995. completion within the next
the UT School of Law in Tanner was considered a two year thanks in large
1968. leader in the ﬁght for ﬁs- part to Tanner.
FATHER AND SON — In
this photo provided by John
Tanner’s staff, the former
congressman is in the out-
ﬁeld of the Civitan Little
League ﬁeld in Graham
Park alongside his late fa-
ther, E.B. “Buzz” Tanner.
The Tanners held a very
close relationship. The pair
was photographed wearing
their Union City Insurance
Agency shirts and in front
of the Union City Insurance
Agency sign at the local
ballﬁeld. WHITE HOUSE BALL — In this pho- in the White House with President Obama
to provided by John Tanner’s ofﬁce, the and his wife, ﬁrst lady Michelle Obama.
former U.S. Representative and his wife, The Tanners were attending the 2010 White
Betty Ann Tanner, pose for a formal photo House Ball.
HONORING JOHN TANNER
Thank you for
your service to
our state and
Tennessee House of Representatives
We appreciate your dedication to our state and country!
U.S. House of Representatives
Thank you for your many years of service!
for Tennessee’s 8th District
206 E. Reelfoot Ave. • Suite 7
Union City, TN 38261
Union City Troy Martin
731-885-2844 100 Washington Ave. 220 East Harper 200 University St.
731-885-2300 731-536-4686 731-587-2010
Images document congressman’s career
Page Four The Messenger, Union City, Tennessee, Wednesday, March 30, 2011
SWEARING IN — In this photo provid- nations elected Tanner to the prestigious
ed by former Congressman John Tanner’s ofﬁce. The NATO Parliamentary Assem-
staff, he is shown taking the oath of ofﬁce bly is the alliance’s legislative branch. The
in November 2008 when he became presi- swearing-in ceremony was conducted in
dent of the NATO Parliamentary Assem- Valencia, Spain.
bly. Legislators from all NATO-member
TANNER HONORED — Congressman president and chief executive ofﬁce of the
John Tanner is shown in this photo, which U.S. Chamber of Commerce, in recogni-
was published in The Messenger April 18, tion of Tanner’s pro-business voting record
2007, receiving the prestigious “Spirit of in 2006.
Enterprise” award from Tom Donohue,
“I have been involved in city business
since 1975. During this period John
Tanner has always been a go-to person
when I needed help with city projects.
From the days of the clean water act to
the present, he has always been there to
assist in any way he could. John has been a
friend to Troy and the surrounding area for
STRATEGY SESSION — In this photo (seated left) and former U.S. Rep. Harold
provided by John Tanner’s staff, the former Ford Jr. All three congressmen represented
U.S. representative talks with former Presi- Tennessee in the U.S. House of Represen-
dent Bill Clinton, while listening in on the tatives. a long time. He will certainly be missed.”
discussion is former U.S. Rep. Bart Gordon
Troy Mayor Jimmie C. Hart
“Never a week went by in my 20 years at
the state Legislature that I wasn’t on the
phone with John Tanner’s ofﬁce. They
were always there for us.”
Former state Rep. Phillip Pinion
A Public Thank You
We appreciate your
MEETING WITH PETRAEUS — In this who was chairman of the U.S. delegation
photo which was published in The Messen- to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, led
ger June 4, 2008, Congressman John Tanner a group of congressmen who visited with
talks with Gen. David Petraeus, command- Petraeus, visited troops in Afghanistan and
ing general of the multi-national force in
Iraq at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey. Tanner,
attended NATO-PA meetings in Berlin.
continuous hard work
over the years, your
loyalty to Obion County,
and your steadfast
dedication to the great
United States of America!
IN BAGHDAD — In this photo provided gade in Baghdad. During his career in Con-
by John Tanner’s ofﬁce, the former con- gress, Tanner was involved in several over-
gressman (at left) is shown meeting with seas trips. The trip to Baghdad where he
soldiers from the 18th Military Police Bri- met with the police unit was in late 2003. 702 C.C. GURIEN DRIVE • TROY, TN 38260 • 731.536.6375
The Messenger, Union City, Tennessee, Wednesday, March 30, 2011 Page Five
Tanner built reputation on conservative values
Gov. McWherter maintained
strong personal, professional
friendship with Rep. Tanner
By KEVIN BOWDEN then-U.S. Sen. Al Gore Jr.
Staff Reporter was elected vice president,
Fellow Democrats John leaving his seat open in the
Tanner and Ned R. Mc- U.S. Senate. It was during
Wherter enjoyed a decade- a trip to Shelby County that
long working relationship McWherter recalled having
serving together in the state lunch at Bozo’s and offer-
House of Representatives. ing Tanner Gore’s seat in
Their friendship has con- the U.S. Senate.
tinued long past their ser- McWherter said Tanner
vice in state government considered the appoint-
though. ment, but turned it down,
McWherter was elected saying he wanted to stay fo-
to the state House of Rep- cused on serving in the U.S.
resentatives in 1968 and House of Representatives.
served there until his elec- “He was my ﬁrst choice,”
tion as Tennessee’s 46th GOV. McWHERTER McWherter said.
governor in 1986. After the closest relatives his two He later appointed Harlan
only two terms as a state children have in the Tanner Matthews to the seat.
representative, McWherter family. McWherter has kept a
AG TALK — In this image published Oct. tee. Givens testiﬁed about the drought and was elected Speaker of the “I’ve been very close to close eye on Tanner’s po-
26, 2007, in The Messenger, Congressman other challenges that faced farmers across House, a position he held John,” McWherter said. litical career, even to the
John Tanner met with state Commissioner West and Middle Tennessee. During his for 14 years. He described Tanner as a point when he was elected
of Agriculture Ken Givens in Washington, years in Congress and serving in the state The Dresden Democrat ﬁscal conservative and said, president of the NATO
D.C., before Givens was scheduled to tes- House of Representatives, Tanner was a went on to serve a second “He was an excellent man Parliamentary Assembly in
tify before the House Agriculture Commit- strong voice for farmers across the region. term as Tennessee’s gover- as far as managing money.” 2008.
nor and he has played an McWherter went on to “I think his leadership
important role in state and reveal a little known fact has been proven,” he said,
national politics. about Tanner’s political ca- in reference to Tanner’s
Tanner was elected to the reer. NATO appointment. “All of
state House of Representa- Although McWherter the members of the NATO
tives in 1976 and contin- said Tanner was, “hands Parliament recognized his
ued to serve there until his down the best candidate to leadership abilities.”
election to the U.S. House ﬁll Ed Jones’ seat in Con- He went on to say that he
of Representatives in 1988. gress,” he said could have understands Tanner’s deci-
He served 11 terms in Con- had a seat in the U.S. Sen- sion to retire from public
gress and only recently ate. service.
retired from his career in “All of us were strong for “I can tell you from my
politics. him,” McWherter said about own personal experience,
Tanner and McWherter Tanner’s campaign for the when you’ve given a great
served together in the state U.S. House of Representa- deal of your life to public
House of Representatives tives. “In Washington, he service ... you want to go
from 1976 until 1986. was an effective leader and home,” McWherter said.
McWherter is related to he leads in the right direc- ———
the Tanner family by mar- tion, and I’m very proud of Staff Reporter Kevin
riage and, during a recent him. He developed quite a Bowden may be con-
telephone interview with following.” tacted by e-mail at
The Messenger, he said McWherter said dur- kmbowden@ucmessenger.
Tanner was probably one of ing his time as governor, com.
ON THE COURT — In this photo provid-
ed by John Tanner’s staff, the former con-
System and attended UT-Knoxville on a
basketball scholarship. He earned a bach-
“He was an excellent man as far as managing
gressman (No. 20 seated far right) is shown
in a photo of the University of Tennessee
elor’s degree in business administration
from UTK in 1966 and went on to earn a money.”
Volunteers 1962-63 basketball team. Tan- law degree from the UT School of Law in
ner graduated from the Union City School 1968. Former Gov. Ned Ray McWherter
Quality, Integrity, Customer Satisfaction
505 South 3rd Street • Union City, TN 38261 • 731-885-5600
Your leadership has made
& our county stronger.
Our thanks to you!
Dave and Amy, Charley, Finn, Coop Dan and Chrissy, Jack, Lexi, Halle Jewel, Mitchell,
Diana Frankum, Kelly Frankum, BJ, Dani, Davey, Jorge, Katy Lane, Gracie
Obion County well represented by Tanner
Page Six The Messenger, Union City, Tennessee, Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Pinion gives credit
to congressman for
making a difference
By KEVIN BOWDEN
Former State Rep. Phil-
lip Pinion is quick to credit
John Tanner for making a
difference in his 20-year
career in the state House of
Pinion succeeded Tanner
in the state House of Repre-
sentatives, where he served
for two decades, until his
retirement in early Novem-
At the time of his retire-
ment, Pinion was serving
as chairman of the power-
ful House Transportation
Committee, was chairman PHILLIP PINION
of the West Tennessee Ru-
ral Caucus and served on just about every project I
the House Education Com- worked on for the district
mittee, the Finance, Ways during my 20 years in Nash-
and Means Committee and ville,” Pinion said.
the Corrections Oversight He said it was Tanner who
Committee. stood beside him in 2002 at
His career in public ser- the Reelfoot Lake spillway
vice most certainly beneﬁt- and it was Tanner who was
ed from his friendship with able to use his inﬂuence to
Tanner. get I-69 to run through West
“Having known John Tennessee rather than Mid-
made things so much easier dle Tennessee. Pinion said
in Nashville,” Pinion said it was Tanner who helped
during a recent interview secure federal funding for
with The Messenger. the interstate project.
He went on to explain The new spillway at Reel-
that Tanner’s reputation foot Lake is near comple-
among his peers in the state tion, thanks in large part to
capital had a signiﬁcant im- Tanner’s efforts, according
pact early on in his career in to Pinion.
the state Legislature. Tanner was also instru-
JOINT SESSION — In this Messenger staff photo from dozens of joint sessions of Congress during his 22 years “Because of John and mental in getting the new
John Tanner’s ﬁrst year in Congress, a joint session of of service. During that time, he was actively involved in a (the late state Sen.) Milton Lake County prison in the
Congress in the U.S. Capitol is being addressed by Ital- wide range of projects and was one of the founding mem- Hamilton, I will always be early 1990s, which created
ian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Tanner was part of bers of the Blue Dog Democrats. so appreciative of the help more than 400 new jobs.
they gave me,” Pinion said. “Without John Tanner
He said it was Tanner’s and Ned McWherter’s help,
legacy in Nashville that (the prison project) would
“John Tanner was a great colleague of mine in the House of provided him with unique
opportunities to help the
never have happened,” Pin-
Representatives, and the thing I respect most about him is his people in his legislative dis-
There is a common thread
that runs through each of
“That’s when I began to the West Tennessee projects
depth of knowledge on the issues and the nonpartisan way in realize the kind of leader
we had in John Tanner,”
cited by Pinion, and that
is economic development
which he goes about the business of informing his views. Like Pinion said.
“Never a week went by in
and even more speciﬁcally
— job creation.
my 20 years at the state Leg- One of the most signiﬁ-
all policymakers as successful as John, he is a good listener. islature that I wasn’t on the cant projects in recent his-
phone with John Tanner’s tory that Pinion said Tan-
That singular skill served him very well among his colleagues ofﬁce,” he said. “They were
always there for us.”
ner had a hand in is the
Cates Landing Riverport
in Congress, through his work leading the U.S. delegation to the Having Tanner in his cor-
ner, Pinion said, gave him
on the Mississippi River in
Lake County. Pinion said
an edge when it came to through Tanner’s inﬂuence,
NATO Parliamentary Assembly and, most of all, in his service working on West Tennessee
the Cates Landing project is
nearing completion and will
to the people of Tennessee’s 8th Congressional District. He will Speciﬁcally, Pinion cited
the Tyson bypass around
create a major industrial
park in neighboring Lake
Union City, I-69, the Cates County.
be missed by members on both sides of the aisle in Congress, Landing project in Lake The project is expected to
County, the spillway project have a major impact on all
but he left a legacy of leadership that presents a model every at Reelfoot Lake, the new
Lake County prison and
of West Tennessee.
The millions of dollars
representative of the people should strive to follow.” the four-laning of Highway
45W from Trenton to Union
that have been invested in
the port project can be cred-
City. ited in large part to Tanner’s
“The Tyson bypass proj- support of the project.
ect, I remember, because Pinion said if the proj-
U.S Rep. Jo Ann Emerson of the expense of the road, ect was already completed,
the folks in administration there are three industries
didn’t want to build it,” Pin- that have expressed interest
ion said. in locating in the industrial
He explained that the by- park.
pass was part of the commit- Once completed, the port
ment from Obion County project is expected to be a
and the state to bring Tyson major asset in terms of re-
Foods to Union City. Pinion cruiting industry to West
remembers getting a tele- Tennessee.
HAVING A CHAT — Re- phone call about 5 p.m. on Through Tanner’s efforts,
tired U.S. Rep. John Tanner a Friday saying the bypass West Tennessee has a bright
is shown visiting with U.S. project might be canceled. future ahead, according to
Sen. Patrick Moynihan in He said he called Tanner’s Pinion.
this Messenger staff photo ofﬁce for help and within Throughout his congres-
from Tanner’s ﬁrst year in 90 minutes the bypass proj- sional career, Tanner has al-
Congress. Prior to his death ect was back on track. ways had West Tennessee’s
in March 2003, Moynihan “That was one of the ﬁrst best interests at heart, ac-
served three terms in the examples I got on how John cording to Pinion.
U.S. Senate and had a long could get things done for He explained that through
and prosperous career in West Tennessee.” Pinion Tanner he had an excellent
public service dating back said. role model to follow as he
to the Kennedy administra- Like Tanner, Pinion was worked the halls at the state
tion. dedicated to getting things Capitol.
done for West Tennessee During his service in the
and, during his career as a state Legislature, Pinion
state legislator, he relied continued to work on some
heavily on Tanner’s sup- of the many projects and
port. programs started and sup-
“John’s ﬁngerprint is on ported by Tanner.
— During his career in
public service, former U.S.
Rep. John Tanner has been
called upon numerous times
to speak at special events.
In this photo provided by
Tanner’s staff, he is shown
speaking at a special cer-
emony at Fort Campbell,
Ky., in front of a World
War II monument there.
The monument honors the
101st Airborne Division —
“Screaming Eagles” — and
features the the inscription,
“This Division ... has no his-
tory, but it has a rendezvous
with destiny.” Flanking Tan-
ner at the ceremony is Holly
Petraeus, the wife of U.S. FRIENDLY CHAT — In this photo provided by John Tan-
Army Four Star Gen. David ner’s ofﬁce, the former U.S. Representative and his wife,
Petraeus. Betty Ann, meet with former President Bill Clinton. Tanner
and Clinton had a close relationship while they served in
Strong work ethic drives Tanner
The Messenger, Union City, Tennessee, Wednesday, March 30, 2011 Page Seven
Congressman’s wife stands by her man
By KEVIN BOWDEN there is a special cama- said, “We support the pre- right along with her hus-
Staff Reporter raderie among congres- vention and early detection band’s dedication to work-
It took Betty Ann Tanner sional spouses, mainly of cancer through research, ing for the people.
a few years to find her because they understand education and community ———
way to Washington, D.C., the lifestyle of living in outreach to all populations Staff Reporter Kevin
but once there, she defi- two places, traveling back including children and the Bowden may be con-
nitely found a home away and forth and having a underserved.” tacted by e-mail at
from home. political race every two Mrs. Tanner’s work on kmbowden@ucmessenger.
Mrs. Tanner’s husband, years. Washington projects goes com.
John Tanner, was elect- “We wanted to enjoy
ed to the U.S. House of Washington,” Mrs. Tanner
Representatives in 1988 said.
and began his first term in Through congressional
Congress in early January orientations and other spe-
1989. At that time, Mrs. cial events, Mrs. Tanner
Tanner recalls, their son quickly established strong
was a senior in high school friendships and estab-
and there were other things lished herself as a person
JOHN AND BETTY ANN TANNER going on in her life. with strong organizational
During his first five and leadership skills.
years in office, Mrs. She remembers when
“Congressional spouses are given many opportu- Tanner stayed in Union former first lady Barbara
City with their son, Portis, Bush spoke at the Con-
nities, but along with that comes responsibilities.” who was finishing high gressional Club and she
school. She helped with strongly encouraged the
Betty Ann Tanner their daughter Elizabeth’s group to get involved in
wedding and stood by her as many clubs and orga-
mother until her death. nizations as possible and
“I would only come up then work hard for those
(to Washington) for spe- you feel the strongest con-
cific events,” Mrs. Tanner nection with.
said. “I followed that advice,”
She traveled to Wash- Mrs. Tanner said. In fact,
ington to be with her hus- she just recently met with
band for such events as Mrs. Bush and reminded
White House Christmas her of the value of her
parties and family gather- advice.
ings where she would get “Congressional spouses
to know other congressio- are given many opportuni-
nal families. ties, but along with that
“I just wasn’t at a place comes responsibilities,”
where I could pick up Mrs. Tanner said.
and move to Washington She explained that
as soon as John was along with being the wife
elected,” she said. of a Congressman there
It took five years, but comes instant name rec-
once Mrs. Tanner moved to ognition in Washington
Washington to be with her and Mrs. Tanner used
husband, the Capitol scene that notoriety to benefit
is one she quickly adjusted several special causes
to and got involved in as a — the Prevent Cancer
congressional wife. Foundation, March of
“After a few years, I Dimes, Ford’s Theater
saw a window where I and Meridian International
could come up and be with Center.
DYNAMIC DUO — In this photograph provided by John John and that is when we Mrs. Tanner has been NEW MAN ON CAMPUS — It was in early January
Tanner’s staff, the former congressman is shown working decided to move,” Mrs. the chairman of several 1989 when Union City native John Tanner stepped into the
with his then-district ofﬁce manager Judy Counce at his of- Tanner told The Messenger Washington galas and has role as a member of Congress and began a 22-year career
ﬁce in the former Metropolitan Federal building in down- last week. been actively involved in serving in the U.S. House of Representatives. Tanner is
town Union City. Mrs. Counce began working for Tanner “Since then, I have a variety of humanitarian shown standing in front of the historic Capitol Dome in the
during his 1988 campaign and remained with him until his become very close friends and community projects. ﬁrst year of his congressional career. The dome Tanner is
recent retirement from public service. The photo is one of with some of the other In reference to her work posing in front of represents the heart of the U.S. Capitol
many images on display in Tanner’s Union City ofﬁce. wives.” with the Prevent Cancer and connects the U.S. House of Representatives and the
Mrs. Tanner explained Foundation, Mrs. Tanner U.S. Senate.
T han k You
In honor of your service to our state
and country, we give thanks!
for your service to our community!
The Lois White Family,
White-Ranson White&Mahon TERRY PETTYr e t - e u
c h e cv h eo vl r o l b t i c k
DOWNTOWN UNION CITY Funeral Home TROY Funeral Home
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Tanner legacy is felt worldwide
Page Eight The Messenger, Union City, Tennessee, Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Congressman’s pleasant demeanor is described
as a key asset by one of his political colleagues John Tanner for
By JIM FREE ing the Clinton Administra- made her a force in her a long time. He’s
Special To The Messenger
I’ve known John Tanner
John helped found the
She was a champion for
my idea of what
since I worked for Gov. ﬁscally conservative — and the March of Dimes Foun- a congressman
Ned McWherter, when now famous — Blue Dog dation, chairwoman of the
Ned was the Speaker of Coalition, which is one of Prevent Cancer Foundation should be. He
the House back in the early
the most important voting
blocks in the House.
and was in the forefront of
the restoration of Wash-
was always atten-
I got to know John even The Blue Dog Coalition ington, D.C.’s cherished tive to the people
better when he came to is comprised of a group of Ford’s Theatre.
Nashville as a state repre- conservative Democrats She did all of this while of his district and
sentative and became an
active member of the Rural
who have helped shape
some of the most impor-
always keeping an eye on
the needs of John’s con- their needs, and
West Tennessee Caucus. As tant legislation in the last stituents at home. we had a num- GOV. BREDESEN
we all know, John moved 20 years and it continues to In all of these accom-
on to become a leader in be a force today, thanks to plishments, she served not ber of occasions
the legislature. John’s leadership. only the country but also
When he came to the For the last several years the people of the Tennes- to work together
United States House of John also served as chair- see’s 8th Congressional on issues both large and small. He
Representatives in 1989 JIM FREE man of the NATO Parlia- district.
John immediately began to John often spoke about mentary Assembly. His The nation will miss the should be particularly proud of the
play an important role in service as head of this in- service of John and Betty
the legislative landscape in
the critical problem of our
national debt and the deﬁ- ternational organization Ann Tanner in the United Northwest Port Authority, which
Washington. His pleasant cit, way before it became was indeed a great honor States Congress. has a huge potential to change
demeanor and, I might add, front page news. for him. James C. Free is presi-
his ability to tell a great Congressman Tanner, It should also be noted dent and CEO of The Smith- the economy of the entire region.
story and joke made him a with resounding applause Free Group, a business and
very popular guy with his
early on during the Bush
Administration, expressed that Betty Ann Tanner has political consulting ﬁrm in Right now jobs are at the top of ev-
Democratic and Republi- to the media how worried made immeasurable contri- Washington, D.C. He is a ery political ﬁgure’s priority list,
can colleagues in the Con- he was about the risks and butions to our country dur- native of Columbia and
gress. potential repercussions as- ing John’s time in public graduated from Middle but John has been working for jobs
His appointment to the ofﬁce. Tennessee State University.
House Ways and Means
sociated with China buying
up U.S. debt instruments. This town, like any com- Free served as administra- in his district for a long time. John
Committee, which many
consider to be the most im-
Many feel that Con- munity, is based on person-
al relationships and friend-
tive assistant to Speaker
Ned Ray McWherter, was
was for jobs before jobs were cool.
gressman Tanner never got
portant committee in the adequate recognition for ships. chief clerk of the Tennessee I’m also proud of the work we
House of Representatives, authoring (in partnership Betty Ann’s involvement House of Representatives
was a testament to the re- with Congressman Mike in good works and chari- and served as assistant to did together on the new spillway
spect that the leadership
had for him.
Castle) the Welfare Reform table organizations helped
not only John’s career but
President Jimmy Carter for
for Reelfoot Lake, and he was a
legislation that passed dur-
huge help in getting that done.
John thought of his district ﬁrst, but
was also a real force in D.C. for a
careful and conservative approach to
ﬁnances. Both his committee work
and his involvement in the Blue Dogs
reﬂected a nice West Tennessee com-
mon sense and will be missed, not
just here at home, but nationally.”
Former Gov. Phil Bredesen
ON A GRAND STAGE — In this photo provided by from all NATO-member nations elected Tanner to serve as
John Tanner’s staff, the former congressman addressed president of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, the alli-
the NATO Parliamentary Assembly during his term as ance’s legislative branch. This photo hangs prominently in
president of the Assembly. It was in 2008 that legislators Tanner’s Union City ofﬁce.
“In Washington, he was an BASEBALL FANS — In this photo provided by John Tan-
ner’s staff, the former congressman (left) is photographed
effective leader and he leads
at the former Busch Stadium in St. Louis alongside long-
time St. Louis Cardinals manager Red Schoendienst, an
unidentiﬁed dignitary and former U.S. Rep. Ed Jones. The
in the right direction, and historic photo is one of many photographs featuring promi-
nent sports ﬁgures that Tanner has on display in his Union
I’m very proud of him. He City ofﬁce. Schoendienst was the Cardinals’ manager from
1965 until 1976.
developed quite a following”
Tanner earned praise
Former Gov. Ned Ray McWherter for his public service
John Tanner has received The moderate-to-conser-
numerous honors and vative group was founded
awards during his years of in 1995.
public service. In early 2008, Tanner
On the state and national was honored by the group
levels, he has been honored for his longtime leadership
by his peers and by organi- in restoring ﬁscal responsi-
zations that have recognized bility and accountability to
his contributions to various government.
causes. “As a highly respected
MEETING STORMIN’ NORMAN — In this photo pro- It was in May 2010 that member of the Blue Dog
vided by former Congressman John Tanner’s staff, the U.S. the state House of Repre- Coalition, Representative
Navy veteran is shown meeting Four Star Gen. Norman sentatives took up a resolu- Tanner has played a major
Schwarzkopf, who served as commander of the U.S. Cen- tion presented by state Rep. role in putting our coun-
tral Command and was commander of the Coalition Forces Jimmy Naifeh of Coving- try back on track to eco-
in the Persian Gulf. Both men are now retired. ton to honor Tanner for his nomic stability after years
years of service in the state of reckless ﬁscal practices
Legislature. by President Bush and the
The resolution honoring Republican majority Con-
Tanner came during the gress,” Congressman Mike
time when he was planning Ross said.
“Congressman Tanner has helped nu- to retire from public ser- “As a dedicated member
merous people throughout his career. vice.
of the Blue Dog Coalition
and a leader in Congress,
He has always been our friend and a passed the state House of Representative Tanner will
Representatives by a 91-0 continue to be a staunch ad-
very considerate representative for the vote. vocate of ﬁscally responsi-
constituents in his district. Many proj- Tanner served in the state
House of Representatives,
ble policies that will beneﬁt
generations to come,” the
ects would not have been successfully representing the 77th dis- Arkansas Democrat said.
trict, from 1976 until 1988. “I am proud of the suc-
completed had it not been for John It was in 1988 that he was cess the Blue Dogs have
and his support. Obion County owes elected to the U.S. House of
been able to help achieve
in restoring common sense
Congressman Tanner many thanks CHESTEEN HONORED — In this image published Feb. ing the 8th Congressional and accountability to our
14, 2008, in The Messenger, Congressman John Tanner District. federal budget,” Tanner
for his years of selﬂess service to us.” presented University of Tennessee at Martin history and He succeeded Ed Jones in said.
political science professor Richard Chesteen with a copy Congress and served there Since it was formed 16
of the Dec. 19, 2007, Congressional Record. It was in that for 22 years, until his retire- years ago, the ﬁscally con-
Obion County Mayor Benny McGuire Congressional Record that Tanner’s speech was document- ment earlier this year. servative Blue Dog Demo-
ed honoring Chesteen’s career as a teacher. Throughout his During his time in Con- crats have maintained a
career in public service, Tanner was known for meeting gress, Tanner was one of deep commitment to the
with his constituents at his Washington, D.C., ofﬁce and the founding members of ﬁnancial stability and na-
those photographs appeared regularly in The Messenger. the Blue Dog Democrats. tional security of the U.S.
The Messenger, Union City, Tennessee, Wednesday, March 30, 2011 Page Nine
THE ONE AND ONLY YOGI — During ﬁed dignitary. As a player, Berra won three GOLFING BUDDIES — In this photo D.C., and remained friends and enjoyed
his career in public service, former Con- American League MVP awards and played provided by John Tanner’s staff, the for- several rounds of golf while serving in
gressman John Tanner (right) had to oppor- in 14 World Series. He was named the mer Congressman is shown during one the nation’s capital. Tanner and the for-
tunity to meet some well-known and very Yankees’ manager in 1964. He is as well of his many rounds of golf with former mer president often enjoyed rounds at the
unique characters. In this photo provided known for his baseball skills as his “Yogi- President Bill Clinton. They knew each Army-Navy Club behind the Pentagon.
by Tanner’s staff, he is shown talking with isms.” His No. 8 Yankees jersey has been other before they came to Washington,
legendary New York Yankees player and retired.
coach Yogi Berra (left) and an unidenti-
SPORTS LEGENDS — During his ca- (continuing from left) track and ﬁeld star
reer in Congress, former U.S. Representa- Carl Lewis, boxing legend Muhammed Ali
tive John Tanner (left) had the privilege of and NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Johnny
meeting some of the sporting world’s most Unitas. The photo of Tanner with the three FELLOW GOLFERS — In this photo ing legend Arnold Palmer. Later on, Palmer
prominent athletes. Few of those meet- sports legends hangs prominently in his provided by John Tanner’s staff, the retired autographed the photo which now hangs in
ings could compare to his getting to meet Union City ofﬁce. congressman had his photo taken with golf- Tanner’s Union City ofﬁce.
for 35 years of service to
our state & community!
Tennessee House of U.S. House of
Representatives Representatives for
Tennessee’s 8th District
Th an k You!
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at Reelfoot Bank we would
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Tanner discusses life in politics
Page Ten The Messenger, Union City, Tennessee, Wednesday, March 30, 2011
By KEVIN BOWDEN “There weren’t that ——— top-down system of gov- ——— “It is clear what has hap-
Staff Reporter many votes at all that ernment. pened if one looks back to
John’s Tanner’s political you’d describe as partisan During one of several “We decided to try to In response to a question the last time we had a bal-
history dates back to his politics,” Tanner said. phone interviews with The form a group that would about what it was like to anced budget, which was
days in the state Legisla- Having worked with Al- Messenger, Tanner shifted be sort of in the middle ﬂy aboard Air Force One, in the ’90s,” he said. “At
ture, where he began his exander for eight years in his focus away from his and that hopefully would Tanner replied, “Well, it that time we had passed
career during the adminis- Nashville, the Union City memories of those lead- be some sensible way to was pretty nice accommo- what was called the Pay-
tration of Gov. Ray Blan- Democrat recalls his rela- ers he served with on the let the legislative process dations.” Go Rule, which basically
ton and ended his career tionship with the Repub- state and national levels work on the one hand and “I ﬂew back with Presi- said if you pass a bill that
during the administration lican governor, who now and brieﬂy discussed how yet, on the other hand, not dent George H.W. Bush automatically increases
of President Obama. serves as the senior U.S. Congress differs from the let it go back to where the when he came down to spending or reduces rev-
Since 1976, Tanner has senator from Tennessee. state Legislature. committees of jurisdiction Memphis to participate in enue it has to be offset ...
served with three Tennes- “Of course, I disagreed It was in 1989 that Tan- had exclusive say-so in the 1,000 Points of Light in other words, you have
see governors and four with him from time to ner succeeded Ed Jones to what was in the ﬁnal work there at The Commercial to pay for it.”
U.S. presidents. time, as I did with almost represent Tennessee’s 8th product,” Tanner said. Appeal ... and then I rode Tanner said the Pay-Go
He represented House all of the governors and Congressional District in And so the Blue Dog in Air Force One a couple Rule worked and by the
District 77 in the Ten- presidents I’ve worked the U.S. House of Repre- Democrats came into ex- of times with President late 90s America had a
nessee General Assem- with,” Tanner said. sentatives. istence. Clinton,” Tanner said. small surplus.
bly from 1976 until 1988 “I subscribe to the old “In the state Legislature, “We actually had some He described the presi- Then came 9/11.
and he served in the U.S. theory of General George everyone is focused on a Republicans in the early dent’s jet as very impres- Then came the second
House of Representatives Patton, who said, ‘If two bill or issue at the same days that wanted to meet sive. The president has an major disaster of 2001, ac-
representing the 8th Con- people agree on every- time in the House,” Tanner with us, but I think the ofﬁce aboard the plane, as cording to Tanner.
gressional District from thing, one of them is not said. “Congress is much Gingrich leadership put a well as a sitting room and The Congressional Bud-
1989 until his recent re- thinking.’” more fractured by com- stop to that,” he said. bedroom for long overseas get Ofﬁce that year fore-
tirement from public ser- From the state Capitol mittee jurisdiction than the The Blue Dog Demo- trips. cast a $5 trillion surplus
vice. to the U.S. Capitol, Tan- Legislature is.” crats, according to Tanner, over the next decade.
Looking back on his ner shared his thoughts Tanner explained that could be described as right ——— “People acted like that
political career, Tanner on some of the presidents in Washington, D.C., just of center on money issues was money in the bank,”
offered The Messenger a he worked with while he because a congressman and a little more tolerant The former congress- Tanner said.
glimpse into his personal served in Congress. introduces a bill, it doesn’t in dealing with social is- man was recognized for “I remember saying,
and professional relation- “I got along very well necessarily mean it will sues. his passionate support for ‘Wait a minute, this is
ships with some of the with George H.W. Bush. ever be heard. The system “Which meant we were a balanced budget and just a forecast ... there’s
state and national leaders He worked with the Dem- of committees in Congress pretty well targeted by against the growing na- no money here, we’re just
he served with while in of- ocratic Congress and he is very complex and there the left wing and the right tional debt. breaking even for the ﬁrst
ﬁce. was a very reasonable are times that bills never wing all the time, which Next to national securi- time in 25 years. If it’s sup-
While serving in the guy,” Tanner said. make it out of committee. meant to many of us we ty, Tanner’s dedication to posed to be 75 (degrees)
state Legislature, Tanner The Union City Demo- “Other than the State of must be doing something the federal budget was at and sunny and when you
served in the state House crat also enjoyed a close the Union (address) there’s right,” he said. the top of his agenda while get up it’s 45 (degrees)
of Representatives dur- personal and professional almost no time that all the he served in Congress. and raining, you don’t put
ing former Gov. Lamar friendship with former members of the House or ——— “The government, in my on ﬂip ﬂops, shorts and
Alexander’s eight years President Bill Clinton that the Senate are focused on view, has always been an sunglasses and go for a
in ofﬁce and during two dated back to when Clin- the same thing at the same Tanner described his economic model of capi- walk.’”
years of former Gov. Ned ton served as governor of time,” Tanner said. early years in Congress talism,” he said. “One of Tanner’s analogy rep-
Ray McWherter’s term in Arkansas. He explained that when as going through an in- the things that has to hap- resents a philosophy he
ofﬁce. It was then Governor he ﬁrst arrived in the na- doctrination process, after pen is government must worked hard to instill
“Blanton was governor Clinton who worked with tion’s capital there was a which he earned a level of invest in two areas — in- among his fellow leg-
only the ﬁrst two years I Tanner’s predecessor, Ed huge Democratic majority seniority that got him ap- frastructure and human islators and one that he
was in the Legislature and Jones, to create the Delta in Congress and the com- pointed to the House Ways capital. preached long and hard to
then Governor Alexander Regional Authority. mittee chairmen all had and Means Committee, Tanner explained that in anyone who would listen.
was governor for eight Tanner described Clin- like little ﬁefdoms. He said which is considered the order for any community Despite all his efforts, in
years and then Ned was ton as being very good at the committee chairmen premier committee in the — from a small town to June 2001 the federal eco-
governor for the last two handling the country’s ﬁ- were the ﬁnal arbiters of U.S. House of Representa- an entire nation — to suc- nomic plan was enacted
years I was in the Legisla- nancial matters. the bill content that ended tives. ceed, there must be a solid with some fairly dramatic
ture,” Tanner said. “When he left ofﬁce, the up on the House ﬂoor in He described that com- foundation. tax cuts. What the plan
“The majority of the country was in pretty good many cases. mittee as have the most “It’s just not possible didn’t take into account
time I was in the Legis- shape ﬁnancially,” Tanner Tanner said there were jurisdiction in Congress, to make any money on a was the economic impact
lature, Lamar Alexander said about Clinton. many disagreements and and the only committee dirt road that goes across of 9/11.
was the governor,” he said. On several occasions, arguments over committee mentioned in the founding a creek where there’s no “Almost all of the as-
“We got along ﬁne.” the two enjoyed hitting the jurisdictions. documents in regard to the bridge and there’s no wa- sumptions that went into
“In the Legislature back links at the Army-Navy “In 1994, when the Newt organization of Congress. ter, sewer or electricity,” the conclusion that there
in those days, most of the Club behind the Pentagon. Gingrich Republicans took Having served with Tanner said. “It’s just not would be a $5 trillion sur-
different points of views “Oftentimes, it would over, the pendulum swung distinction on the House possible to develop your plus over the next 10 years
were expressed in rural just be the two of us,” Tan- the other way, so that al- Ways and Means Com- country or to develop were no longer valid. But
versus urban. It was not ner said. most every bill that came mittee, Tanner’s career in people’s opportunities we never changed our di-
Democrat versus Republi- Tanner’s ﬁnal years in to the ﬂoor was written in Washington, D.C., shifted without infrastructure, and rection, or course ... went
can,” Tanner said. Congress were spent dur- the speaker’s ofﬁce and the focus to the NATO Parlia- I’ve always been a strong to war in Afghanistan and
He went on to explain ing the Obama adminis- committees of jurisdiction mentary Assembly. advocate of infrastructure then Iraq, and we stayed
that the cities of Nashville, tration. He said that he became virtually meaning- About four years ago, spending as well as human with the same economic
Memphis, Knoxville and disagreed with President less,” Tanner said. Tanner was named the capital.” plan that had been enacted
Chattanooga dominated Obama on several major It was during that period head of the U.S. delega- Throughout history, in June of that year,” Tan-
urban issues and the rest issues, but described him that Tanner said he and tion to the NATO assem- no country has ever truly ner said.
of the state was classiﬁed as being “very open,” others in the U.S. House of bly, and then in 2008 he been strong and free with By 2003, the country’s
as rural Tennessee in the “courteous” and “inquisi- Representatives decided was elected president of an unhealthy and unedu- revenue stream was below
Legislature. tive.” they’d had enough of the the entire Parliamentary cated population, accord- 17 percent of the Gross
Assembly. Tanner was ing to Tanner. He said Domestic Product and ex-
elected by the approxi- that philosophy becomes penditures were over 20
mately 250 delegates from even more relevant in an percent, which meant a
all the member nations. increasingly global econ- structural deﬁcit had been
“My interests have al- omy. created and still exists, ac-
ways been geared toward “We must have healthy, cording to Tanner.
national security matters educated young people “That’s one of the rea-
and the economic viability in order to compete,” he sons we’re in the shape
of the government,” Tan- said. “Education has al- we’re in right now,” he
ner said. ways been a priority along said.
“Those are the two with health care in terms Kevin Bowden may be
things I worried about of childhood prevention contacted by e-mail at
most of the time I was in and all the things that go kmbowden@ucmessenger.
Congress.” with that.” com.
REACHING OUT — In this photo pro- dent Boris Yeltsin. He was the ﬁrst elected
vided by John Tanner’s staff, the former president of the Russian Soviet Federative
congressman is shown reaching out to Socialist Republic.
shake the hand of former Russian Presi-
KINGS OF THE DIAMOND — In this to are (front from left) Pete Sorrell, Tommy PAYING RESPECT — In this image pub- in the state and U.S. House of Representa-
photo provided by John Tanner’s staff, the Edwards, Don Cleek, Charles Green, Jim lished Nov. 14, 2008, in The Messenger tives, Tanner was a strong supporter of the
former congressman is shown in his young- Bondurant, Joe Foster, Steve Speed and Congressman John Tanner and his wife, U.S. military. He is a U.S. Navy and Army
er days as a member of the 1959 Old and (back from left) coaches Harold Cotton and Betty Ann, lay a rose on the gravesite of a National Guard veteran and chaired the
Third National Bank Babe Ruth team. The Charles Copeland, Al Spivey, Tanner, John World War II veteran from Tennessee at the U.S. delegation to the NATO Parliamentary
black and white print of the Babe Ruth team Blackwell, Barry Lofton, Jerry Benthel and Sicily-Rome American Cemetery in Net- Assembly prior to being elected president
hangs in Tanner’s Union City ofﬁce as one manager C.E. Green. tuno, Italy. Throughout his years of service of the Assembly in November 2008.
of many images from his youth. In the pho-
The Messenger, Union City, Tennessee, Wednesday, March 30, 2011 Page Eleven
STRATEGY SESSION — In this photo surrounded himself with key advisers, of
from John Tanner’s ﬁrst year in Washing- which Sharble was one of his early allies
ton, the congressman is shown working in Congress. Another faithful ally during
with his then-chief of staff Kelly Sharble. Tanner’s years in Congress was Joe Hill.
During his years in public service, Tanner
BIG ENDORSEMENT — It was a very 1976 until 1988. In the November 1988
special night in Trenton in 1988 when re- election, Tanner defeated Jackson attorney
tiring Congressman Ed Jones formally en- Ed Bryant. Tanner carried 85 percent of
dorsed the man who would take his place Obion County in his election to Congress.
in Congress. Jones ofﬁcially endorsed He and his family celebrated his victory at
John Tanner to take his seat in the U.S. the former Falkoff building in downtown
House of Representatives representing Union City. Tanner was welcomed to his
the 8th Congressional District. It was a victory night celebration with then-Miss
major step for Tanner, who had served in Tennessee Carrie Folkes singing “Rocky
the state House of Representatives from Top” while the large crowd cheered.
WELL STAFFED — In this photo from staff members Kathy Becker, Gina Wright,
John Tanner’s ﬁrst year in Washington, the Kelly Sharble, Emily LeRoy, Vickie Wall-
congressman (front center) is ﬂanked by ing and Candra Callicott. This image is one
his staff as they posed in Tanner’s ofﬁce of many retained by Tanner documenting
at 512 Cannon Building in Washington, his career in the U.S. House of Representa-
D.C. Tanner is surrounded by (from left) tives.
“He recognized his responsibility to the district and
the nation’s well-being. He, in my judgment, balanced
AT THE TABLE — In this photo sup- high-level meetings involving presidents, those roles with a temperament not often found in
plied by John Tanner’s staff, the congress- heads of state and world leaders. The
man (far right) is shown at a presidential Union City Democrat retired from public people who represent swing districts in Congress.”
brieﬁng in the White House with then service earlier this year. Tanner’s Union
President George W. Bush. During his 22 City ofﬁce is packed with photos from his Longtime Tanner aide Joe Hill
years service in the U.S. House of Repre- meetings, as well as a variety of memen-
sentatives, Tanner attended a number of tos from his years of service in Congress.
Thanks for your
We appreciate all
From everyone at
Aloha Pools & Spas in
We want to thank you for your hard work
and service in the U.S. Congress.
Our country is a better place because of your dedication.
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UNION CITY, TN
Tanner reﬂects on life in public service
Page Twelve The Messenger, Union City, Tennessee, Wednesday, March 30, 2011
By KEVIN BOWDEN 2001. We were on the road to getting out on by the contestants in the contest, which “It’s been a life that has been, on the
Staff Reporter of debt and we created this structural prob- was something he felt quite proud of as one hand, very hectic and almost harried
During a telephone interview last week, lems where the revenue stream was below her father. from time to time, but one that has given
former Congressman John Tanner dis- 17 percent of GDP and the expenditure “It’s pretty special when you think about us a lot of opportunities that we may
cussed some of his memories and thoughts stream was over 20 (percent). being with young women from all 50 never had otherwise had and gave both of
from his career in Washington, D.C. “The polarization that has occurred and states for a week and you’re elected as the us the opportunity to help other people,
It was a discussion that revealed Tanner’s the inability of some members of the person they liked the most. That was really whether they called us at home or called
deep family ties and detailed his strong media, as well as elected officials, to a special time for us,” he said. the office.
sense of pride in the work he did in extend to one who disagrees with them One of Tanner’s fondest memories “I will say this, one of the other highlights
Congress. The interview also revealed a the same intellectual honesty and purity of and proudest moments involving his son was the staff that I had. From Washington,
very personal side of Tanner in which he motive they claim for themselves. It makes (Portis) comes from when he interned for and all the folks in the Washington office
talked about some of his frustrations. it awfully difficult for the members to U.S. Sen. Jim Sasser and also when he to the Union City office to the Jackson
Tanner has started a new chapter in his come together to address in a meaningful worked at the Embassy for Kazakhstan. office to the Memphis office. As they say,
life, but last week’s interview provided way the country’s problems.” Kazakhstan is one of six independent a turtle doesn’t get up on a fence post all
him with a chance to reflect on the 22 Turkic states and the republic is geographi- alone ... if you see a turtle on top of a fence
years he served in Congress. ——— cally located on the border of Central Asia post you can bet he didn’t get up there by
The interview also provided Tanner with National Guard Armory Dedication and Eastern Europe. himself.
a chance to talk about his family and his While serving with the embassy, “I was very, very fortunate. We were
congressional staff. On March 17, 1996, dedication ceremo- Portis Tanner was attending a conference very fortunate to have had loyal, dedi-
nies were held in Union City to name the in Houston, Texas, and got to meet St. cated, competent staff (members) who
——— local National Guard armory in Tanner’s Louis Cardinals legend Ted Simmons. The were truly and sincerely interested in our
High Points and Low Points honor. young Tanner told Simmons that when he constituents.”
“Well, it was a surprise to me,” Tanner was about eight or nine years old he got Looking back on his political career,
“I suppose one of the high points, domes- said about the dedication. Simmons to autograph one of his base- Tanner also takes away memories of get-
tically speaking, was the work I did with “They did that in the Tennessee General balls. ting to meet with all the U.S. presidents
Congressman Mike Castle, a Republican Assembly and of course it was a great The stories about his children illustrate dating back to Jimmy Carter. As a member
from Delaware, on the welfare reform honor. I served on active duty in the U.S. Tanner’s strong family ties and the impor- of Congress, he worked with all the U.S.
bill that Congress passed and President Navy, but I spent 26 years in the Tennessee tance he places on his family. presidents dating back to George H.W.
Clinton signed back in about 1997 or Army National Guard and I remember the Tanner is also quick to praise his wife, Bush.
1998,” Tanner said. occasion when Adjutant Gen. Gus Hargett Betty Ann, for her support and her involve- “That’s something you don’t think about
“From the standpoint of foreign affairs, came down here and both my mother and ment in a wide range of activities in when you’re here ... it’s part of the job”
being elected president of the 28-member father were still alive, so I’m glad they got Washington, D.C. Tanner said. “But when you look back on
NATO Parliamentary Assembly, which is to be there that day. “Betty Ann has done a remarkable job,” things, you realize how fortunate a guy
composed of parliamentarians from all “As a guardsman, it had great meaning Tanner said. “I guess she has been chair from Obion County was with his life, and
28 NATO-member nations. Another high to me and still does. or co-chair of the March of Dimes effort to have had the opportunities that we’ve
point was seeing the fruition of the Cates “It’s an honor that I certainly don’t here, the American Cancer Society, the had thanks to the will and the generosity
Landing Port.” deserve. It came as a surprise more than American Heart Association, and she’s of the people who sent us here.”
“Unquestionably (one of the low points) anything else.” on the board of Ford’s Theater. She’s a “The travels that I did with NATO and
was the inability of Congress to come to past board member of Meridian House meetings with world leaders and heads of
grips with the economic problems that ——— International, where she has gotten some state and trying to do what I could from
are facing our country that I’ve been talk- Capitol Memories exhibits for Nashville and Humboldt ... at that forum to promote cooperation and
ing about since 2003 when we created a the West Tennessee Art Museum.” help from our allies wherever they might
structural deficit. And really, the inability “Early on, our daughter (Elizabeth) Meridian International is a leading non- be is something I’ll take with me for the
of conveying to the American people the was the Cherry Blossom Princess from partisan, not-for-profit organization dedi- rest of my life,” he said.
sense of urgency that I think our financial Tennessee. That would have been 1991 cated to strengthening international under- Staff Reporter Kevin Bowden
problems hold for us. And it all goes back or so.” standing through the exchange of people, may be contacted by e-mail at
to the structural deficit that was created in Tanner explained the honor was voted ideas and culture. firstname.lastname@example.org.
“John Tanner and I have
worked together for 30
years, both in state gov-
ernment and in Congress.
Throughout his entire public
career he has been conscien-
tious, willing to work across
party lines and tight-fisted with taxpayer
GUEST SPEAKER — Eighth District the best person to run for president. Tan-
Congressman John Tanner of Union City
was guest speaker Jan. 13, 2006, at South
ner said Virginia Gov. Mark Warner, U.S.
Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana and retired Gen.
U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander
Fulton High School, where he addressed Wesley Clark, former commander of U.S.
a group of about 50 students in the school forces, Europe. “I am more concerned right
library. During a question-and-answer ex- now with the performance of the Congress
change, SFHS senior Lydia Mudd asked over the next three years in terms of getting
him who in the Democratic Party would be a handle on problems,” he said.
Drs. Jordan & Bondurant
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your hard work
the lives of
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The Messenger, Union City, Tennessee, Wednesday, March 13, 2011 Page Thirteen
Longtime aide reﬂects
on years with Tanner
By JOE HILL roles with a temperament not often found
Special to The Messenger in people who represent swing districts in
In 1976, I was on the staff of then-Con- Congress.
gressman Ed Jones. In Obion, Lake and Dyer counties, John
I took a leave of absence to manage his will long be associated with the Northwest
campaign for re-election that year. Tennessee Port.
This is when I met John Tanner. With what has happened with Goodyear,
John was a successful candidate for the this port is becoming more important with
Tennessee House of Representatives in each passing day.
Henry, Obion and Weakley Counties. We John organized the ﬁrst meeting con-
became friends during that campaign in cerning the port. Included were Gov. Phil
1976 and, until I retired from his staff 32 Bredesen and a host of cabinet ofﬁcials.
FUNDING ANNOUNCED — With the of the lake. Among those attending were years later in 2008, there were not many John shepherded the funding and the sup-
dilapidated spillway in the background, (continuing from left) Tony White of Cy- days that we did not either talk, work on port to bring the project to where it was
former Congressman John Tanner (left) press Point Resort, Tanner aide Joe Hill and some project, travel some place or just destined to be operational before his term
and former state Rep. Phillip Pinion (sec- former Obion County Mayor Gaylon Long. have a good laugh. expired last year.
ond from left) held a news conference at Lake County Mayor Macie Roberson and In 1983, I Iearned ﬁrst-hand about John’s Like any public ofﬁcial, John Tanner
Reelfoot Lake April 16, 2004, to formally Tennessee Department of Transportation leadership abilities. has a few detractors but I think even they
announce funding of a new bridge-spillway ofﬁcials also attended. He appointed me as a member of the would agree, that this port, which may be
complex on Highway 21 on the south shore Reelfoot Lake Task Force. northwest Tennessee’s economic salvation,
Tanner gets credit for his work
The task force made a number of sig- would not be there if it were not for John’s
niﬁcant recommendations with the most effort.
important being a new spillway that would But John’s work was not parochial.
on Cates Landing port project
literally save Reelfoot Lake, as we know All 19 of the district’s counties have enti-
it. ties, which are the products of his work.
John fought with all of his heart for this There are water and sewer systems,
project. schools, police departments, economic
By KEVIN BOWDEN and federal funds will ﬁnance the construc- After securing the support of Gov. Phil development programs, Veterans’ Admin-
Staff Reporter tion of a loading dock and connecting in- Bredesen, John ultimately saw it under con- istration facilities, armories, airport im-
Amid all the excitement over the recent termodal barge and truck transport facili- struction while he was still in Congress. provements, roads, agricultural programs,
approval of $20 million in state and federal ties at a site just north of Tiptonville and on Make no bones about it, the new spill- recreational facilities, community centers,
funds for Lake County’s Cates Landing, the eastern shores of the Mississippi River. way would not be in place without John rural ﬁre protection, high-speed rural Inter-
those closest to the project recognized how Phase II funding will make the port opera- Tanner. net access and improved rural health care
hard John Tanner fought for its funding tional within two years. When Congressman Jones retired in in place because of policies that John sup-
while serving in Congress. All along, those involved in the proj- 1988, I was among a large number of ported in Congress.
Just ask Jimmy Williamson, who serves ect have pointed out that since 1990, the people who urged John to seek to succeed While not listed, but equally important
as chairman of the Northwest Tennessee northwest Tennessee region has lost more him. are infrastructural features like Interstate
Regional Port Authority. than 7,700 jobs and then there is the recent John ran and received 62 percent of the 69, as well as the many improvements to
At a recent news conference at the Obion announcement by Goodyear that another vote and that was his lowest percent of the Fort Campbell near Clarksville and the Na-
County Public Library, Williamson singled 1,900 will be eliminated by the end of this vote in the next 10 elections. val Personnel Center at Millington.
out Tanner for his hard work on the proj- year. Even in 1994 when Democrats in Ten- All will be a part of John’s legacy.
ect. The region’s bleak economic outlook is nessee were routed, John received a thump- Throughout the years, I had the oppor-
“I personally believe that we got the TI- offset by its potential and by its central lo- ing 64 percent. tunity to be around many public ofﬁcials,
GER II grant because of John Tanner,” he cation, which is within one day’s drive to His percentages were routinely in the including a host of congressmen, a number
said. 76 percent of the nation’s major markets. 70s. of senators and several governors.
The news conference featured Gov. Bill The Cates Landing port project has been After the 1988 win, John asked me to John was respected by all of them.
Haslam, who brought with him the good in the planning and development stage for join his staff. They knew he was honest and that he
news that a $13 million TIGER II grant more than 20 years, and with Tanner’s help I accepted his offer to head up his district would do what he thought to be right.
funding had been approved for the project. now the project will soon become a real- operation and had the good fortune to work They knew he had a well-grounded core
That $13 million coupled with $7 million ity. for him for the ensuing 20 years. of values that his constituents respected,
in state funds will ﬁnance the construction Former state Rep. Phillip Pinion under- I think John looked upon his role as a thus allowing him to be a major player in
phase of the Lake County port. stands how hard Tanner worked for the U.S. Congressman from a two-pronged national policies involving domestic, mili-
Like so many who have been involved project’s funding. perspective. tary and foreign policy priorities.
in the project since its inception, Tanner “John’s ﬁngerprint is on just about every He recognized his responsibility to the He served his district, state and nation
recognized its importance in terms of eco- project I worked on for the district during district and the nation’s well-being. well.
nomic development for the entire region. my 20 years in Nashville,” Pinion said. He, in my judgment, balanced those This will be his epitaph.
Just ask longtime Tanner aide Joe Hill. Through Tanner’s efforts, West Tennes-
“In Obion, Lake and Dyer Counties, John see has a bright future ahead, according to
will long be associated with the Northwest Pinion.
Tennessee Port. With what has happened In addition to the 9,000-foot slack wa-
with Goodyear, this port is becoming more ter harbor and intermodal dock, the Cates
important with each passing day,” Hill Landing project also features a 350-acre Get the test.
said. “John organized the ﬁrst meeting con- industrial park adjacent to the port.
cerning the port. Included were Gov. Phil For Tanner, getting the port project fully Get the polyp.
Bredesen and a host of cabinet ofﬁcials.
John shepherded the funding and the sup-
funded was a top priority and one that he
and others can now watch become a ma- Get the cure. for your service to our
port to bring the project to where it was
destined to be operational before his term
jor asset for the entire northwest Tennessee
region. 1-800-ACS-2345 or cancer.org
state & community!
expired last year.” Staff Reporter Kevin Bowden may be
For those unfamiliar with the Cates contacted by e-mail at kmbowden@uc
Landing project, the $20 million in state messenger.com. GOLDEN SERVICE REALTY
#1 IN LISTINGS & SALES IN OBION COUNTY!
204 W. WASHINGTON ST • 885-8000 • UNION CITY
“John Tanner has been a very good friend to
Williams Sausage Company over the years,
and he was instrumental, on several occasions,
in helping us secure grants and loans through
the USDA Rural Development program to ex-
pand our business. I always appreciated the
fact that John did his best to help the people hard work &
and businesses in his district, and we will cer- service to the
tainly miss his representation and leadership.” 8th District!
-The Kizer Family
Roger Williams 2004 West Reelfoot Ave
President of Williams Sausage Co. AUTO Jim Kizer SALES 885-2344 Union City, TN
for serving Tennessee’s 8th District
HONORING JOHN TANNER the past 22 years!
We would like to thank
you for your leadership CONLEY
& dedication to the 8th CAMPBELL
District of Tennessee! MOSS
ATTORNEYS AT LAW
TRI-STATE INTERNATIONAL 317 South Third Street
Union City, Tennessee
Union City, TN 731‐885‐1482
Page Fourteen The Messenger, Union City, Tennessee, Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Tanner represents the people There’s no place
It’s the ofﬁcial
source of federal and
REFORM SOUGHT — state government
Congressman John Tanner information. It can
(center) talked with Con- make you as
gressman Mike Castle (R- all-knowing as the
Del.) before a Capitol Hill Wizard of Oz.
press conference in June
2009. Joining them was J.
Gerald Hebert, executive
director of the nonpartisan
Campaign Legal Center,
which supported the Tan-
ner/Castle bill, introduced
that month to ease political
polarization by reforming
MEMORIAL DAY —
Bringing a 2009 Memorial
Day message, Congress-
man John Tanner addressed
the ship’s crew and guests Many thanks to our
friend & neighbor!
aboard the USS Porter, a
Navy destroyer, when the
ship was docked in Stock-
holm, Sweden. Tanner was
in Stockholm to lead a dele-
gation of 10 members of the Most complete menʼs store
in West Tennessee
U.S. House of Representa- Down Town • Union City
tives attending a meeting
of the North Atlantic Treaty
Assembly. “Today (May 25,
2009) we Americans com-
memorate a solemn occa-
sion as we honor all those
who have worn the uniform
of the United States military
and who have sacriﬁced
their lives for the sake of
their nation,” Tanner said.
Members of the House del-
egation visited with sailors
and Marines whose state- We appreciate all
side homes included many
of the states represented by you’ve done for our
County & Country!
VISITING — Congress-
man John Tanner talked
with Maj. Gen. John F.
general of the Army’s 101st
Airborne Division, during a
visit to Fort Campbell Army
Base in 2009 to discuss the
101st’s recent deployments Debbie & Trent Ams
and ongoing operations in
Afghanistan and Iraq. Tan-
ner served on the House
Foreign Affairs Commit-
UNION CITY CARPET
tee and as president of the 602 Perkins St. • 885-2830 • Union City, TN
NATO Parliamentary As-
Building Solutions, Inc.
of Union City
wants to help you with all types of
Residential Building, Any Plumbing Needs,
SPECIAL GUEST — Con- Apartment Rentals and Warehouse Space with
gressman John Tanner (left) Maxi-Storage Rentals.
and a special guest — Mi-
chael Astrue, commissioner
of the federal Social Secu-
rity Administration — re-
viewed a booklet as they
awaited the start of a dedi-
cation ceremony in Union
City in June of 2009. The
high-ranking ofﬁcial of the
Obama administration vis-
ited Union City to be guest
speaker at the dedication of
a new $1.4 million building
to house the district head-
quarters of SSA. Construc-
tion was ﬁnished in late We would like to thank you
2008 and manager Carey for your hard work & all
Capps and his 11-person you’ve done for our area!
staff, along with ofﬁcial re-
cords, relocated from 1003
East Reelfoot Ave. shortly
thereafter. The ﬁrst Social
Security ofﬁce in Union
City opened in 1973 in the
old Westover School build-
ing on Florida Avenue. STILL LOCATED AT 2305 WEST MAIN STREET • UNION CITY, TN
Union City Civitan Club
“People Helping People”
Second and Fourth
Tuesday — 6 p.m.
JOHN TANNER John Tanner
Union City Civitan Club for all your hard work and
Meal and meeting
“People Helping People”
Second and Fourth
For information, dedication to our state and Thank you
community! - Benny McGuire
Tuesday — 6 p.m.
Meal and meeting for your
for your hard
dedication to community!
our state &
235 Westgate Drive • Union City, TN
JOHN TANNER Industrial, Commercial, Residential
Tanner represented OC with style
The Messenger, Union City, Tennessee, Wednesday, March 30, 2011 Page Fifteen
BLUE DOGS — In this photo provided by John Tanner’s
staff, the former congressman (far right) is shown with
DRESSED TO THE NINES — In this image provided House Christmas Tree alongside former ﬁrst lady Hillary fellow members of the Blue Dog Coalition as the group
by John Tanner’s staff, the former congressman is shown Clinton, Edith Tanner and former President Bill Clinton. stands out in front of the NASDAQ sign in New York City.
attending a formal function at the White House during the The image is one of several photographs Tanner has on The photo was taken in 2003 and is one of many images on
Clinton Administration. Tanner poses in front of the White display in his Union City ofﬁce. display in Tanner’s Union City ofﬁce.
Tanner praises staff
Entrepreneur Ray Kroc what they and others have for all the volunteers he
once said, “You’re only meant to me during my has worked with during his
as good as the people you years in public service,” years in public service.
hire.” Tanner said. He speciﬁcally cited the
John Tanner understands In addition to all the work of three campaign
that principle. people who worked with treasurers — Jim Glasgow
During his years in pub- him over the years, Tanner Jr., Ron Cooper and Bim
lic service, he certainly said he was thankful, too, Barker.
surrounded himself with a
qualiﬁed, capable and dedi-
During interviews for
this special section, Tanner
praised all the many people
who had worked for him
during his years in the state
House of Representatives
as well as in Congress.
He identiﬁed several staff
members who were instru-
mental in the work he was
involved in during his years
in public service.
Tanner inherited a highly
capable adviser from Con-
gressman Ed Jones’ staff
— Joe Hill — who served
with Tanner for two de-
3636 Hwy. 45E (Martin Hwy) • South Fulton, TN
cades. During that time,
Tanner described Hill as a 731-796-1344 •• bbswholesale.com
very valuable adviser.
Another staff member
Tanner singled out was
SWEARING IN — In this photo provided man Ed Jones representing Tennessee’s 8th
by John Tanner’s staff, the former con-
gressman recreated his ofﬁcial swearing in
Congressional District. Tanner enjoyed a
prominent career in public service, which
Vickie Walling. She worked
with Tanner for 22 years
and served as his chief of
to the U.S. House of Representatives with a
little help from U.S. Rep. Jim Wright. The
photo was taken on Jan. 3, 1989, when Tan-
included serving in the Tennessee House
of Representatives and the U.S. House of
staff in Washington, D.C.,
for many years. JOHN TANNER
On the local scene, Tan-
ner was ﬁrst sworn in to replace Congress- ner praised the work of
Judy Counce, who worked
out of Tanner’s Union City
ofﬁce. She, too, worked on
Tanner’s staff for 22 years.
He also praised the work
of Lou Ann White, Kathy
Becker, Doug Thompson
and Margaret Black, all
of whom served with Tan-
ner for 22 years. He also
cited the work of Shirlene Thank You for your many years of
Mercer, who worked at his
Jackson ﬁeld ofﬁce.
service to our state & community!
“I can’t say enough about
Get the test.
Get the polyp.
Get the cure.
1-800-ACS-2345 or cancer.org
Buffet – Carry-Out – Delivery
509 South First Street 885-SNAP (7627)
HONORING YOUR SERVICE
TANNER GATHERING — In this pho- um curator Pat Higdon; Tanner and Betty
to from The Messenger’s archives, John Ann Tanner; Abby Atkins, Tanner Atkins,
Tanner is shown alongside his family at Elizabeth (Tanner) Atkins and Kyle Atkins
a dedication ceremony held near Halls in
August 2010. The image was taken at the
formal presentation of a large oil painting
(back). In 1942, the late Mrs. Tanner was
a major in the ROTC Sponsors Brigade at
the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.
of Tanner’s mother, the late Edith (Sum- On Sept. 22, 1944, she delivered the future
ners) Tanner, to the Dyersburg Army Air congressman at the air base near Halls. Her
Base Veterans Museum. A new museum painting was done by Union City artist Dr.
pavilion was named in memory of the late Paul Marsidi, who used a black and white 1968 - 1972 United States Navy
Mrs. Tanner. On hand for the presentation image of her from her days at UT Knox-
were (from left) Portis and Cindy Tanner ville. 1974 - 2000 United States Army
and their children, Beck and Edie; muse- National Guard
1976 - 1988 Tennessee House of
1989 - 2011 U.S. House of Representatives
from Tennessee’s 8th District
Thank you for your service to our
country, our state and our communities.
Dave Schlager, AAMS www.edwardjones.com Member SIPC
Financial Advisor Union City
100 E. Reelfoot Ave. • 885-7090
201 West Main St. Ste H Other ofﬁces in Dresden, Dyersburg, Greenﬁeld, Humboldt, Jackson,
Union City, TN 38261 Kenton, Lexington, Martin, Rives, Sharon, South Fulton and Troy
Page Sixteen The Messenger, Union City, Tennessee, Wednesday, March 30, 2011