From the world's top leaders to the Senate floor, Tennessee Senator
Bob Corker has made a name for himself in Washington after just one
"I've got a new position as ranking, Republican member of
the Foreign Relations Committee," says Senator Bob
It's a political career he never dreamed of growing up in
Chattanooga. He loved sports.
"I played football and baseball in high
school and played for a couple of years up at University of
Corker was also passionate about working.
started working when I was 13."
Then, downtown Chattanooga
was very different.
"When I was 15, 16, 17 business people
during those days would bring 2 shirts to work because there was so
Corker went to the University of Tennessee in
1970. In addition to his studies, he worked construction labor and took a
job with a Chattanooga company after graduation.
"I was the
guy on job sites in a trailer, drinking day old coffee who actually
supervised the building of shopping centers."
And at 25, he
decided to go off on his own.
"I had saved $8000 and went
in business and started a very small company."
Corker, he got many breaks along the way. Eventually in 1981, he built
his first shopping center.
"We did retail projects
throughout the company in 18 states. It was just an energy filled, grow at 80
Corker never once thought about
the public arena. And, he found new purpose in the church
"They needed somebody who knew something about construction to
help organize this effort and lead it."
It was a mission
to Haiti. And for Corker, it was life changing.
around people in such need, seeing their response to us being there, had a
huge effect on me."
It fueled a passion to help others back
"I began working on Saturdays down in the inner
Overwhelmed by the need, Corker created the Chattanooga
"I did it as a civic endeavor and
created a non profit. Overtime, It ended up affecting about 10,000
Corker was slowly moving into the public
eye... eventually becoming Tennessee's Commissioner of
"And, that's a huge, great job for a business person. You can have so
However, after a couple of years in
Nashville, he returned to Chattanooga.
"About that time, people
began talking to me about running for mayor."
And, in 2000,
Corker was elected Chattanooga's 71st Mayor.
"I just loved
everything about it!"
He and his administration accomplished a
"We built this waterfront in 35 months from scratch
with no drawings and no money. We did so much. And, we built Enterprise
South where Volkswagen now resides."
But toward the end of
his term, Corker got a call from then Senate Majority Leader Bill
Frist, who was retiring.
"One of the things people have
forgotten, I ran for the Senate back in 1994."
He lost to Frist
in the Republican primary. But they went on to become great friends.
And, he convinced Corker to run for his Senate seat.
2006 Senate Race got national attention. Corker defeated Harold Ford, Jr.
with 51% of the vote and went to Washington.
unfortunately a financial crisis in the country. My business background
allowed me to be involved in a way that I wouldn't have been as a
However, the last 2 years of his first term
were very frustrating.
"There was so much gridlock. Nothing
But now, 4 months into his second term, the
junior Senator is much more optimistic.
"I have a feeling
over the next short period of time, there's going to be some
constructive actions in Washington, solving some of the major problems we
And, if a round of golf with the president is any
indication, Corker seems to be right on par. While the Senator enjoys the
greens, he treasures his weekends with his wife in downtown
"She thought she was marrying a business guy, and she was
very happy about that."
Still, it's worked out well for them,
married now 26 years.
"On the weekends, we're not talking
about public policy. You know, we're talking about other kinds of
things. I feel like I'm a pretty blessed person."
Senator Corker was awarded the Center for the Study of the Presidency and
Congress "Publius Award" for Bipartisan Leadership in Congress. It's
an honor he share with fellow East Tennessean Howard Baker,
Senator Bob Corker.
"I'm proud of our state. East
Tennessee is home and it always will be."
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