News release from the governor’s office:
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced Leslie Hafner as the new director for legislation handling legislative affairs for the administration. She has served since February as deputy director for legislation to Dale Kelley who is returning to West Tennessee to handle special projects for the governor’s office.
“Dale’s leadership during our successful first legislative session was critical, and I look forward to working with him on special projects – such as the Haywood County megasite – in West Tennessee,” Haslam said.
“I am pleased Leslie will take on this new role,” Haslam continued. “We have a lot of work to do over these next several months to define our priorities next session. Similar to this year, we plan to focus on several key initiatives that will have the most impact on making Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs.”
Hafner has worked around Legislative Plaza and Capitol Hill since the mid-1990’s. She served as director of government advocacy for the law firm Bass Berry & Sims after overseeing government affairs across six states for Nashville-based Corrections Corporation of America. She also served in Gov. Don Sundquist’s administration, working with education experts to develop the Education Improvement Act, an initiative to boost K-12 test scores.
“I’m honored and excited to take on these additional responsibilities for the governor,” Hafner said. “And I look forward to working with the administration and the General Assembly on making Tennessee the best place in the country to live, work and play.”
“Leslie will do a great job, and I have enjoyed working in the Capitol with Gov. Haslam,” Kelley said. “I’m excited to continue working with the administration on projects close to home in West Tennessee.”
Hafner has served on the boards of the Nashville Women’s Political Caucus and the Tennessee Lobbyist Association. For the last three election cycles, she was on the TLA’s Election Information Panel, which required extensive research on candidates and districts.
She has a B.S. in Communications from Middle Tennessee State University, and she is married to Matt. They attend Christ Episcopal Cathedral in Nashville.