State Republican Chairman Chris Devaney, just reelected to a new two-year term in December, has announced he is resigning the postition next month to become executive director of the Chattanooga-based Children’s Nutrition Group of Haiti.
Devaney informed members of the GOP’s State Executive Committee of his plans in a Monday afternoon conference call. He has previously done church mission work in Haiti. He says the new position opened up after his re-election to the chairmanship. He defeated former state Rep. Joe Carr in that vote before the executive committee, 47-17.
The party executive committee will decide his successor at an April 11 meeting.
Here’s the TNGOP news release on Devaney’s resignation:
News release from Tennessee Republican Party:
NASHVILLE, Tenn.—The individual who has been part of the Tennessee Republican Party’s rise to dominance is stepping down.
Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney today announced to the members of the State Executive Committee that he will be resigning his seat effective April 11th. That is the same date as the next meeting of the TNGOP SEC.
On a phone call with the SEC, Devaney announced he has accepted a position to lead CNP—the Children’s Nutrition Program of Haiti, a faith-based nonprofit headquartered in Chattanooga, Tennessee where Devaney and his family call home.
“We have had quite a ride. I have been honored and humbled to be a part of this remarkable history, but it is time for my family and me to embark on a new journey. Saturday, April 11, will be my final day as chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party,” announced Devaney.
At the conclusion of his tenure, Chairman Devaney will be remembered as one of the longest-serving chairmen in TNGOP history and the one who guided the Party to new heights.
Since 2009, when Devaney began serving as chairman, the TNGOP has become synonymous with success in the Volunteer State:
• In 2010, the Party gained a working majority in both chambers of the General Assembly.
• In 2010, the Party helped turn our Congressional delegation to a 7-2 Republican majority.
• And, in 2010, the Party elected a Republican governor.
• In 2012, both the State Senate and State House attained supermajority status.
• And just this past year, in our Red to the Roots program, we elected county and judicial candidates across the state, in some districts that haven’t had Republican representation since Reconstruction. In all, nearly 750 Republican candidates were elected at the statewide, federal, legislative, judicial, and county levels in the 2014 election cycle—a record for the Tennessee Republican Party.
“As a Christian and an American, I believe it is our duty, if we are fortunate enough, to help those who can’t help themselves, regardless of borders,” Devaney remarked about his next step. “Earlier this year, I traveled to the country of Haiti on a mission trip. It is a country where I have been on other similar visits. Haiti is a country that is a short plane ride from Tennessee. Yet, it is the most impoverished nation in the western Hemisphere.”
He continued, “That trip had a major impact on me and I feel it is time to get personally involved to help the children and families of Haiti. The CNP has a mission that I firmly believe in. As such, I have agreed to become the organization’s Executive Director. While it is in Chattanooga, its work is based out of Haiti. CNP’s mission applies, in my view, conservative principles to achieve its goals. It is not providing handouts, but is working to educate mothers and improve the health and development of Haitian children, particularly those suffering from malnutrition. I am excited about this new challenge and ready for the next chapter of my life.”
For more information about CNP, please visit cnphaiti.org.
In keeping with the procedure when Devaney was first elected in 2009 in a special election, he called a special meeting of the SEC to immediately follow the TNGOP’s regular session on April 11th. The special meeting of the SEC will be conducted by TNGOP Vice Chairman Betty Cannon.
Reacting to the news, Governor Bill Haslam stated, “During his time as Party Chair, Chris has helped lead Republicans to historic victories. He has been a driving force behind the history making streak the Party is on and Tennessee is a better state because of it.”
U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander remarked, “The Tennessee Republican Party has become one of the country’s most successful, and Chris Devaney deserves great credit for this. His leadership has encouraged diversity of opinion and welcomed new voters. As a result, our party is larger, more successful, and more conservative.”
“Chris has done an outstanding job of leading our party and building it so that it is strong for the future,” said U.S. Senator Bob Corker. “Chris’s tenure as chairman has been marked by tremendous success, and now, as he and Heather begin this new chapter of public service, I could not be more excited for them and their family.”
Devaney concluded his announcement by saying, “The Republican Party of Tennessee has a long proud tradition. I am confident that tradition will continue.”
• Chris Devaney has been elected Chairman four separate times: 2009 (to fulfill an unexpired term), 2010, 2012, and 2014.
• Devaney, originally from Texas, graduated from the University of Oklahoma began his career in journalism working for NBC Radio News in Washington.
• His interest in politics led him to a job in the U.S. Senate Republican Conference.
• Eventually, he would work for three U.S. Senators: Phil Gramm of Texas, and Fred Thompson and Bob Corker of Tennessee.
• He and his wife Heather live in Chattanooga with their four children and are members of the Lookout Mountain Presbyterian Church.
Note: This revises and considerably expands earlier post.