Tanner’s return to private life official
Posted: Wednesday, January 5, 2011 8:59 pm
By KEVIN BOWDEN
For the first time since 1976, John Tanner is easing into life without politics.
His name will now be accompanied by the word “former” when it comes to his long career in public service.
Republican Congress-man-elect Stephen Fincher of Frog Jump will be taking Tanner’s place in Washington, D.C., after he is sworn into office today.
Today’s swearing-in ceremonies signal a new era in the U.S. House of Representatives, and for Tanner and his wife, Betty Ann, it marks a significant transition in their lives.
Tanner, a Democrat, represented the 77th Dis-trict in the state House of Representatives from 1976 until 1988.
It was in 1988 he was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and began a long and impressive career.
His public service actually reaches beyond politics. Tanner served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy from 1968-72 and he was a member of the Tennessee Army National Guard from 1972 until his retirement in 2000, with the rank of colonel.
“I feel good,” Tanner told The Messenger this morning. “I really thought after 20 years it would be time for me to do something else.”
He extended his service in Congress for an additional two years in order to serve as president of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.
He said he felt it was important for an American to serve in that capacity, considering the status of the war in Afghanistan.
Now it’s time for Tanner, 66, to adjust his life schedule.
Swearing-in ceremonies were scheduled for today in the U.S. House of Representatives, and with it a shift of power from Democrats to Republicans will take place. California Democrat Nancy Pelosi will turn over control of the House to incoming House Speaker John Boehner and, for the first time since he was sworn in in 1989, John Tanner will not be a member of the legislative body.
He and his wife have been in Union City since the lame duck session of Congress ended in late December, but the couple was returning to their Washington, D.C., condo today.
Since being home for the past few weeks, Tanner said he has had the privilege of seeing his grandchildren on a regular basis.
“I’m fortunate that they’re nearby,” he said.
Family is obviously a high priority for Tanner, and having family in West Tennessee will keep him coming back.
“I’m going to keep a foot in Tennessee, certainly,” he said.
He went on to say he has enjoyed his time in public office, but is looking forward to life without preordained schedules.
“I’ll get to set my own schedule — which is pretty exciting — for the first time in a long time,” Tanner said.
Published in The Messenger 1.5.11