Bob Corker

Bob Corker

Infobox Senator | name=Bob Corker

jr/sr=Junior Senator
term_start=January 3, 2007
alongside=Lamar Alexander
preceded=Bill Frist
date of birth=birth date and age|1952|08|24
place of birth=Orangeburg, South Carolina
date of death=
place of death=
spouse= Elizabeth Corker
children=Julia, Emily
alma_mater=University of Tennessee
residence=Chattanooga, Tennessee
profession=construction executive, a real-estate magnate, state commissioner of finance, mayor of Chattanooga
religion=Presbyterian [cite news |url= |work=WORLD Magazine |title=Religion-baiting |first=Joel |last=Belz |date=2006-10-28]

Robert Phillips "Bob" Corker, Jr. [] (born August 24, 1952) is the junior United States Senator from Tennessee. He was formerly the mayor of Chattanooga, Tennessee and a successful businessman. He is the only freshman Republican Senator in the 110th Congress.

Early life and family

Born in Orangeburg, South Carolina, [ [ CORKER, Robert (Bob) - Biographical Information] ] Corker moved to Tennessee at the age of 11. He graduated from Chattanooga High School in 1970. Corker attended the University of Tennessee, Knoxville where he was a member of Sigma Chi Fraternity and graduated in 1974 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Management. He and his wife Elizabeth, whom he married on May 18, 1987, have two daughters, Julia and Emily. The family's permanent residence is at the Anne Haven mansion built by Coca-Cola Bottling Company heirs Anne Lupton and Frank Harrison. ["The Spirit of the Luptons", " [ Old Money, New South] ", Dean Arnold, 2006.]

Business career

After working four years as a construction superintendent, he started his own construction company, Bencor, which he sold in 1990. In 1999, he purchased the two largest real estate companies in Chattanooga, Osborne Building Corporation and the Stone Fort Land Company, making him the largest private land owner in Hamilton County, Tennessee. He sold most of these holdings in 2006 to Henry Luken. His business successes have made Corker a multimillionare. [,1406,KNS_630_4816805,00.html Corker appreciates 1994 loss] , "Knoxville News Sentinel", Tom Humphrey, July 2, 2006.]

Political career

Corker first ran for the United States Senate in 1994, losing the Republican primary to eventual winner Bill Frist.

In 1995, Corker was appointed Commissioner of Finance and Administration for the State of Tennessee, working for Governor Don Sundquist.

As mayor of Chattanooga from 2001 to 2005, Corker oversaw a $120 million renovation project, including an expansion of the Hunter Museum, a renovation of the Creative Discovery Museum, an expansion of Chattanooga's River Walk, and the addition of a new salt water building to the Tennessee Aquarium. After announcing his intent to run for Senate, some of his actions in office as Mayor of Chattanooga have been scrutinized. [Bob Corker#Controversy and criticism| [a]

2006 United States Senate race

In 2004, Corker announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate seat. Incumbent Republican Senator Bill Frist had said that he was not going to run for reelection in 2006. Corker faced two other Republicans in the August primary, Ed Bryant and Van Hilleary, which he won with 48% of the vote to Bryant's 34% and Hilleary's 17%. Corker invested $4.2 million in television advertising in the course of the primary, especially in the western portion of the state, where he was relatively unknown before the primary. Not long after Corker's primary victory was assured, his Democratic opponent, Harold Ford, Jr., challenged Corker to seven televised debates across the state. In response, Corker said he would debate Ford, though he did not agree to seven debates. [ [,1426,MCA_1496_4892535,00.html Corker wins; Ford challenges him to debates] , "The Commercial Appeal", Richard Locker and Ruma Banerji Kumar, August 3, 2006.]

President Bush hosted a campaign fund-raiser for Corker on August 30, 2006. The $2,100-per-person dinner, which was held in a "glitzy Nashville hotel with 500 contributors," raised over a million dollars for Corker's campaign. [ [,1426,MCA_1496_4965864,00.html Commercial Appeal : Memphis News, Business, Homes, Jobs, Cars, & Information ] ]

Corker and Ford participated in a televised debate in Memphis on October 7 [ [,1426,MCA_1496_5051668,00.html Senate candidates spar over Corker's comments about Ford's Memphis 'political machine'] , by Richard Locker, "The Commercial Appeal", October 8, 2006] , in Chattanooga on October 10 [ [,1426,MCA_1496_5057333,00.html Ford treads Corker's turf] , by Beth Rucker, Associated Press, October 11, 2006] , and in Nashville on October 28. [,1426,MCA_1496_4973610,00.html Corker silent on invitation to debate] , "The Commercial Appeal", Bartholomew Sullivan, September 7, 2006.] In January 2006, NBC's "Meet the Press" extended an open invitation for the candidates to debate on the nationally-televised show. Ford accepted the invitation, stating that "any weekend would work for him." The Corker campaign, however, "has thus far not given ["Meet the Press"] a date they wanted to do it and have not said they want to do it for sure... nine months after the invitations have gone out."

Results showed the election was close, with Corker winning by less than three percentage points. [cite web |url= |title=U.S. SENATE / TENNESSEE |work=CNN]

Issue positions and ideology

In the 2006 Senate race, Corker positioned himself as a conservative on most social and economic issues through television advertisements, his campaign website, and in debates. Corker supports broad Second Amendment rights, "appointing Federal judges who practice judicial restraint," making the 2001 tax cut and the 2003 tax cut permanent, and increasing security on U.S. borders by hiring more border agents and constructing barriers in high traffic areas. [ [ Corker campaign website, issues] ]

Corker has expressed skepticism regarding the claims of human-caused global warming; supports continued U.S. involvement in Iraq; and has shown interest in replacing the federal progressive income tax with a flat tax. ["Knoxville News Sentinel", Scott Barker, June 30, 2006.]

In the primary campaign, Corker's opponents pointed out that Corker has changed his view on abortion since his first Senate campaign in 1994. [,1426,MCA_1496_4849272,00.html GOP Senate candidates conclude debates ahead of Aug. 3 primary] , "The Commercial Appeal", Richard Locker, July 17, 2006.] Corker responded that he "was wrong in 1994" when he said that the government should not interfere with an individual's right to an abortion, stating that he now believes that life begins at conception. Corker now says he opposes abortion rights except when the life of the mother is endangered or in cases of rape and incest.

In the general election, Corker received the endorsement of the National Right to Life Committee, but the state branch of the group, Tennessee Right to Life, refused to endorse Corker, calling him a "pro-abortion" politician. [ [,1426,MCA_1496_4900879,00.html National right to life supports corker, but state affiliate does not] , "The Commercial Appeal" by the Associated Press, August 8, 2006.]

Tennessee holds the distinction of being the only U.S. state to elect a new Republican to both houses of Congress in the 2006 mid-term elections.

Corker was one of the original members of the Gang of 10, now consisting of twenty members, which is a bipartisan coalition seeking comprehensive energy reform. The group is pushing for a bill that would encourage state-by-state decisions on offshore drilling and authorize billions of dollars for conservation and alternative energy. [cite news |url= |title=Klobuchar joins bipartisan energy group |first=Mitch |last=Anderson |date=2008-09-12 |work=Star Tribune]

enate career

Corker was sworn in as Senator on January 4, 2007, at the ceremony he was accompanied by “two former Senate majority leaders from Tennessee, Howard Baker and Bill Frist”. [cite news|title=Corker sworn in as U.S. Senator| date=2007-01-04 04:11 PM CST| url=| publisher= Associated Press Retrieved on Jan. 7, 2007] Corker was the only new Republican Senator in the 110th Congress. Corker has become a defender of the Iraqi war under management by President Bush since taking his seat in the 110th Congress. [cite news |first=BILL |last=THEOBALD |url= |title=Corker says further withdrawal will need to be 'measured' |work=The Leaf-Chronicle |publisher=Gannett News Service |date=April 8, 2008]

Committee assignments

*Committee on Foreign Relations
**Subcommittee on European Affairs
**Subcommittee on International Development and Foreign Assistance, Economic Affairs and International Environmental Protection
**Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Peace Corps and Narcotics Affairs (Ranking Member)
*Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship
*Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
**Subcommittee on Energy
**Subcommittee on National Parks
**Subcommittee on Water and Power (Ranking Member)
*Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs
**Subcommittee on Financial Institutions
**Subcommittee on Securities, Insurance and Investment
*Special Committee on Aging

Republican Main Street Partnership controversy

On December 6, 2006, "Roll Call" reporter Nicole Duran reported that Senator-elect Corker and Dean Heller (Rep.-elect, NV) would be joining the moderate Republican Main Street Partnership, according to its executive director. [" [ Elections Jolted GOP Main Street Group] ", "Roll Call", Nicole Duran, December 6, 2006.] This caused a stir in conservative circles, since Corker ran in Tennessee as a conservative, and several bloggers attacked him for this apparent act of betrayal. By the end of the day, however, Corker's office responded to the report to say that not only was he was not joining the organization, but that he "only learned of the group’s existence when this story was reported today." [ [ Pathetic Moderates Resort to Lying - The Right Angle @ ] ] . "Roll Call" subsequently reported that the group's executive director stated she had been "misinformed", and only Heller would be joining the group. ["Director: Corker Won't Join Main Street Group", "Roll Call", Nicole Duran, December 11, 2006.]


The sale of protected wetlands

In 2003, Corker's real estate company sold protected wetlands near South Chickamauga Creek in Chattanooga to Wal-Mart for $4.6 million while he was mayor of Chattanooga. [,1426,MCA_1496_4930394,00.html Old lawsuit back to haunt Corker in race] , "The Commercial Appeal", Marc Perrusquia and Richard Locker, August 20, 2006.] According to Joe Prochaska, an attorney representing the Tennessee Environmental Council, "What they did was outrageous. They just ran roughshod over this public property for private gain." Environmental educator Sandy Kurtz filed suit in 2003 to stop the land deal, but the lawsuit was dismissed.

New allegations, however, surfaced in August 2006, and a suit was filed by Kurtz and the Tennessee Environmental Council over the alleged encroachment of Wal-Mart onto an adjacent protected nature area that is also held by a company owned by Corker. The suit alleges that Corker did not fully disclose his interest in the property where the Wal-Mart was built or in the adjacent nature area at the time the deal was made. The Corker campaign has countered that Corker's company filed papers to develop the wetlands in 2000, before Corker became mayor, and that it was widely known that Corker had an interest in the property.

On September 18, 2006 a Memphis, Tennessee newspaper, "The Commercial Appeal", reported that Corker's attorneys acquired city authorization to cut a road through the protected property owned by Corker in July 2003 while Corker was mayor. [,1426,MCA_1496_5001493,00.html Land sale predates Corker as mayor, But road to Wal-Mart on site prompts questions of conflict] , Marc Perrusquia, "The Commercial Appeal", September 18, 2006.] City records show that Corker's attorneys won concessions from the city as details of the deal were worked out, much of which was done in private.

Corker's campaign manager has said that a blind trust kept Corker from the details of the project.

On October 13, 2006, lawyers involved in the case announced a settlement agreement. Details of the settlement were not announced, but court records indicate that a portion of the settlement involved a 45 day option for the Tennessee Environmental Council to purchase over thirteen acres of the land in dispute that the Council hopes to dedicate for public use. [ [,1426,MCA_1496_5093961,00.html Suit settlement aids Corker and nonprofit] , by Marc Perrusquia, "The Commercial Appeal", October 26, 2006]

Missing papers

On September 9, 2006 "The Commercial Appeal" reported that official records from both Corker's 2001 to 2005 service as mayor and his 1996 service as state finance commissioner are missing. [,1426,MCA_1496_4979605,00.html Commercial Appeal : Memphis News, Business, Homes, Jobs, Cars, & Information ] ] The missing records include letters written and received by Corker during a six month period in 1996 and e-mails written and received by Corker in his official capacity as mayor between 2001 and 2005.

Some of the e-mails were discovered on his former assistant's computer by "The Commercial Appeal" in October. [,1426,MCA_1496_5057186,00.html Corker saw to interests in 'blind' trust, records show] , by Marc Perrusquia, "The Commercial Appeal", October 11, 2006]

Blind trust

On October 11, 2006, "The Commercial Appeal" reported that the blind trust that Corker set up to run his businesses to avoid conflicts of interest while he was mayor "may not have been all that blind". According to e-mails discovered by the "Appeal" (some of which had previously presumed to be lost):

"Corker met often with employees from his private companies while mayor from 2001 to 2005, and he shared business tips with others. Corker also got help organizing his 2001 mayoral campaign from City Hall, where a government secretary passed on voting lists and set up meetings for the millionaire commercial real estate developer."
The e-mails show that Corker often met with officials from his private company, the Corker Group, which was part of the blind trust, while he was mayor.When asked about these e-mails by the "Appeal", Corker said that he thought the blind trust had "worked very well" and that he had sold most of his business holdings so that he could avoid the appearance of conflicts of interest in the Senate.

Electoral history

Election box candidate with party link
party = Republican Party (US)
candidate = Bob Corker
votes = 929,911
percentage = 50.7
change =
Election box candidate with party link
party = Democratic Party (US)
candidate = Harold Ford, Jr.
votes = 879,976
percentage = 48.0
change =


External links

* [ Senator Bob Corker] official U.S. Senate website
* [ Bob Corker for United States Senate] official campaign website

* [ Ford Campaign Hits "Shady Corker Land Deal" at Eastgate] , press release, "" September 19, 2006
* [ Corker interview with WGOW radio in Chattanooga — Part 1] [ Part 2]

U.S. Senator box
before=Bill Frist
alongside=Lamar Alexander

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