When I posed the question about whether I should run for an open seat in the Tennessee House of Representatives, I got the same response from both my wife and mom: “It was just a matter of time!” I know no time is like the present for something that I have been preparing for since I first started working on political campaigns and in state government over twenty years ago.
So, why me and why now? I’m running for State Representative because I know we can do better for Tennessee, and I have the desire, experience, and mindset to help people, serve my community, and get things done — and done right.
Desire. The decision to run for public office is very personal. As an elected official, there are personal, financial, and professional sacrifices to consider. The decision doesn’t just affect me; it affects my family. So I did not take it lightly. After careful consideration, I feel called to serve in this role and will do so gladly and wholeheartedly. One of my favorite Bible verses is Luke 12:48, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” I am fortunate that I have the support of my family to run and that I have been given a lot in life. Now I feel called to give back through public service in the Tennessee Legislature.
I have decades of experience in the public square, and this service has always been a core passion of mine. I am now channeling that energy and passion from a supporting role to a leading one. I am doing this out of my desire to help people in my district, to get things done, and be a guiding light of common sense and decency at the Tennessee General Assembly.
Experience. I’ve been fortunate to find success in both government and business, and I know those experiences will serve me well as a member of the Tennessee General Assembly.
In government, I served proudly in the Bredesen Administration in various leadership roles including Assistant to the Governor and in the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (ECD) as a Legislative Liaison and Executive Assistant to the Commissioner. Those executive roles in state government allowed me to gain a deep understanding of state government and the function of the Tennessee State Legislature. I plan to use that knowledge to represent my district well.
I have already been successful in state government by passing legislation and creating smart and grounded policies. Throughout my career, I was fortunate to learn from great mentors in state government including Governor Phil Bredesen, Commissioner of Economic and Community Development Matt Kisber, State Senator Douglas Henry, and Congressman Bob Clement. Since 2014, I have served as a Commissioner on the Metro Fair Board of Commissioners and have led the redevelopment of the Nashville Fairgrounds, resulting in the redevelopment of the property including a new expo center and the Major League Soccer stadium, home to the Nashville Soccer Club.
I plan on bringing my experience as a successful entrepreneur in the private sector to work for affordable healthcare, sound fiscal management, and the formation of economic policies that create high-paying jobs and an economy that works for everyone. After leaving state government in 2011, I was a founding team member of the Silicon Ranch Corporation, a Nashville-based start-up focusing on utility-scale solar development and is one of the great Nashville economic success stories. For the last decade, I have been an executive in Nashville’s innovative healthcare industry, working in various management roles focusing on lowering inappropriate healthcare costs and utilization. Currently, I work in corporate development at American Health Partners to bring high-quality affordable healthcare to the most vulnerable senior citizens who live in post-acute care facilities.
I believe my own life experience has prepared me the most for holding this office. I am kind, understanding, and empathetic, and I believe those honorable qualities are missing from today’s civil discourse. I grew up in South Nashville with very humble beginnings. I am a product of the Metro Nashville public school system. I worked myself through college as a first-generation student at the University of Tennessee – Knoxville. I went on to graduate school at Tennessee Tech, earning my M.B.A. Now, I have a successful professional career. This experience allows me to have the perspective that not everything is given to us and as a community, we need to work together to ensure success is possible for everyone who lives in it.
Perhaps the most significant event in my life that forever changed me was surviving a diagnosis and relapse of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. I am only here today thanks to the grace of God, access to health insurance, excellent doctors, and great love and care given to me by my family. I know through firsthand experience, that life is fragile and not everyone is so lucky. Creating healthcare policies that focus on equity, affordability, and accessibility will allow better outcomes for all of us and ensure Tennesseans don’t have to struggle with their healthcare decisions.
Mindset. In today’s political climate, it’s hard to understand why anyone who is kind, fair, and good-hearted wants to be an elected official. However, I still see public service as honorable. I know I have the right values, mindset, and optimism to do what is right for Tennesseans. The composition of the new 59th state house district is evenly split among political parties and I plan on governing on behalf of all my constituents. I will be a common-sense elected official who is willing to work with anyone and everyone to get things done.
One of the great benefits of public service is the scale of the policies you create that can truly help people connect themselves and their neighborhoods to the many essential services that the state government provides. Today, too many politicians want to talk and not listen to their constituents’ needs. If elected, I plan on doing a whole lot more listening than talking.
A set of four questions keeps coming to mind as I prepare to launch my campaign. While working in state government, I attended numerous Rotary meetings across the state. The Four-Way Test is a set of guiding principles that are non-partisan and used to guide professional and personal relationships and decisions. With so much bickering and all the headline-grabbing fights going on with today’s elected officials, I think we can all use the Rotary’s Four-Way Test, and I certainly plan on it.
- Is it the truth?
- Is it fair to all concerned?
- Will it build goodwill & better friendships?
- Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
The once-in-a-decade redistricting process that recently took place has created a rare open seat and opportunity. I grew up in this district, and I continue to call it home. My wife, Lori, and I have chosen to raise our two children in this district and are dedicated to its continued success as a wonderful place to live. I am thankful for the love and support of my family and hope to continue to meet more friends and neighbors in the district. There is much work to be done on important initiatives such as: recovering from these past two years, improving our schools, job creation, providing affordable high-quality healthcare, protecting our democracy and our voting rights, and much more. I plan to spend these next few months meeting residents of the 59th district to hear what you have to say. I am looking forward to listening, learning, and sharing these experiences with everyone in the district and I hope to see you soon.
So how can you help?
- Fundraising: This district will be highly competitive, and we need to be ambitious in our fundraising to run an effective race. I need you to invest in my campaign and support me by donating whatever you can here or by sending a check to Friends of Caleb Hemmer, 6018 Sherwood CT, Nashville TN 37215. Can I count on you?
- Volunteer: Sign up for volunteering when the campaign season gets in full swing.
- Social Media: Follow us on our social media pages (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) to stay informed on news, events, etc. Please reshare our posts too!
Thank you for your support!
~ Caleb H