Alexander, Corker, Blackburn and DesJarlais lose 18 staffers (combined) to Trump administration

Eighteen congressional staff employees who were working for members of Tennessee’s congressional delegation have moved to positions working for President Donald Trump administration since January, reports Michael Collins.

Sen. Lamar Alexander has lost 10 staffers from the Senate office committee he chairs and his own office. Sen. Bob Corker has similarly seen six staffers depart to join Trump. Reps. Marsha Blackburn and Scott DesJarlais each have lost one staffer to Trump’s team.

Alexander says at times he has felt like a college football coach watching his star running back bolt for the NFL.

“You’re sad about it,” the senator said, “but you’re happy for him. And it’s also a compliment to your team.”

…All but one of the 10 Alexander staffers who have gone on to work for Trump previously were on the staff of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, which Alexander chairs. In some cases, their new jobs will involve implementing the laws they helped draft and push through Congress while working for Alexander.

Peter Oppenheim, for example, served as Alexander’s education policy director and counsel. In that role, he managed the drafting, negotiation and passage of a school-reform bill that replaced the Bush-era No Child Left Behind law.

Oppenheim has been nominated to become the Education Department’s assistant secretary for legislation and congressional affairs.

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Former Knoxville News Sentinel capitol bureau chief Tom Humphrey writes about Tennessee politics, government, and legislative news.
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