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Bob Corker 2016: 6 Facts About Political Background of Potential GOP Presidential Hopeful

Image: Bob Corker 2016: 6 Facts About Political Background of Potential GOP Presidential Hopeful
President George W. Bush waves with US Senate candidate Bob Corker, right, during a fundraiser to help Corker replace Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R) 30 August 2006 in Nashville. (Tim Sloan/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Sunday, 01 Feb 2015 12:25 PM

Sen. Bob Corker, a 2016 presidential hopeful, has represented the state of Tennessee in Washington since he was elected to the Senate in 2006 — the only Republican that year — but the political career of this potential GOP hopeful began as a humble one in his community of Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Nearly a decade before he took his first political office, Corker, a successful contractor and developer, founded the Chattanooga Neighborhood Enterprise, a nonprofit that works to revitalize the city's underserved communities through home ownership and business development with low-interest loans and counseling services.

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1. In 1994, Corker was appointed Tennessee’s finance and administration commissioner, the state’s highest appointment. He served the office until 1996. He lists among his accomplishments: tightening the state budget and moving almost 40,000 people “off welfare and into jobs.”

2. Corker was elected mayor of Chattanooga, Tennessee, in 2001. He counts among his achievements: revitalizing the city’s waterfront; improving student achievement in “the city’s most challenged schools” with a merit pay program for teachers; and working with local law enforcement “to cut violent crime in half.”

3. GovTrack reports that Corker co-sponsored 54 bills and resolutions introduced by fellow lawmakers, noting that “co-sponsorship shows a willingness to work with others to advance policy goals.” However, the site ranked Corker second-lowest among Senate Republicans and fourth-lowest among senators serving 10 or more years for getting co-sponsors for bills he introduced. The site said he introduced seven bills in 2013, ranking him in the lowest 11 percent among senators serving 10 or more years.

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4. On an idea he proposed to fund highway construction by raising the federal gas tax, Corker told the Nashville Scene: “We realize today it’s not popular. Most people are not hearing the second part of our discussion and that is reducing other taxes so that this ends up being revenue neutral, but we’ll see.”

5.   Corker, who was named Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman in January 2015, promises a “robust hearing process” in an effort to understand the ramifications of normalizing relations with Cuba now that President Obama has ended the 50-year-old embargo. Nonetheless, he told the Nashville Scene, the embargo “has not yielded a result that we had hoped it would yield. I think that’s pretty apparent. On the other hand I think the hearings that we’ll have will illuminate some of the direct effects that the embargo itself has had.”

6. Columnist George Will says Corker “may be the senator who matters most” in shaping U.S. foreign policy in 2015. “(Corker) has now visited 64 countries, some of them multiple times,” Will wrote in The Washington Post, “and his mind is unclouded by long immersion in the conventional thinking of the foreign policy (intellectual elite), with its inclination to disparage strong congressional initiatives in foreign policy.”

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Sen. Bob Corker, a 2016 presidential hopeful, has represented the state of Tennessee in Washington since he was elected to the Senate in 2006 — the only Republican that year — but the political career of this potential GOP hopeful began as a humble one in his community of Chattanooga, Tennessee.
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2015-25-01
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