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Bob Corker 2016: 7 Highlights From Pre-Politics Life of Potential GOP Presidential Hopeful

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By    |   Sunday, 01 Feb 2015 03:49 PM

Before entering the partisan pressure cooker of Capitol Hill, GOP 2016 presidential hopeful Sen. Bob Corker’s life was an unbroken string of business and political successes.

The Tennessee multimillionaire built his own lucrative construction company, invested in profitable real estate, and crafted a sunny career in local politics that eventually earned him voter support in his 2006 run for the Senate. In the last nine years he’s built relationships and brokered deals between Republicans and Democrats. With that résumé, Bob Corker for president in 2016 is not such a far-fetched ambition.

Throughout his pre-Beltway life, the 62-year-old Chattanooga native says he relied on a skill he is now known for on Capitol Hill: problem-solving through deal-making.

“I never did one business deal where the person on the other side of the table said ‘We will do it exactly the way you just said.’ There was a negotiation that took place … I think sometimes that part is forgotten about here” in Washington, Corker told C-SPAN in a 2013 interview.

Urgent: Do You Support Bob Corker for the GOP Nomination? Vote Here Now

If Corker launches a 2016 run for the presidency, he has a solid network of supporters and fundraisers including Jimmy Haslam, owner of the NFL Cleveland Browns, and Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam.

Here are some highlights from Corker’s path to the Senate.

1. Corker was brought up in middle-class home, his father a DuPont engineer. During his college years at the University of Tennessee, his roommate was Jimmy Haslam, son of the wealthy founder of a convenience store chain. Their relationship would benefit Corker down the road with Haslam acting as Corker’s financial manager during the 2006 Senate race.

2. After graduating with a major in industrial management, Corker landed a construction job. Within a year, he was made a supervisor. “After four years, I had built malls around the country and learned how to build projects,” Corker said in the C-SPAN interview.

3. With that experience and $8,000 in savings, Corker started his own company, Bencor. The commissions grew, allowing the young Corker to build a national clientele with retail projects in 18 states. “About the time I was 28 to 29, I knew that I was going to be financially independent,” he told CityScope magazine.

Vote Now: Which Potential GOP Candidate Would You Support in 2016?

4. At 30, enjoying his success, Corker saw a notice in his church bulletin-seeking volunteers with construction experience for a housing improvement mission in Haiti. Corker joined and came back with a mission of his own: making decent and affordable housing available in his own city. Corker joined forces with local nonprofit housing experts, conducted a needs study of Chattanooga, Tennessee, and launched a nonprofit called the Chattanooga Neighborhood Enterprise. The group had made $280 million in improvements prior to Corker's Senate campaign, according to a 2005 article in The Greeneville Sun.

5. Politics would enter Corker’s life through this housing venture. In 1986, a newly elected Tennessee governor Ned McWherter appointed Corker to a state low-income housing task force. “That was actually the beginning of any interest whatsoever in the public arena,” he said in the CityScope interview.

6. Corker made an earlier unsuccessful run for the Senate in 1994 against Bill Frist in the GOP primary. The two would later become friends. Soon after, Corker was tapped by the governor to serve as the Tennessee finance commissioner from 1994 to 1996.

After a brief hiatus from civil service, Corker became the mayor of Chattanooga, the city he calls home, in 2001. As mayor, Corker told C-SPAN he had a “bold vision” to transform the city’s riverfront — of his proudest accomplishments. Working with state officials and securing private-sector donations, the area is now a thriving business, civic, and cultural center.

Urgent: Who Should the GOP Nominate in 2016? Vote Here Now

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Before entering the partisan pressure cooker of Capitol Hill, GOP 2016 presidential hopeful Sen. Bob Corker’s life was an unbroken string of business and political successes.
bob corker, 2016, pre-politics, highlights
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2015-49-01
Sunday, 01 Feb 2015 03:49 PM
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