Governor Lee Taps Ousted Democratic Representative John DeBerry to Become Cabinet Senior Advisor


Governor Bill Lee tapped former State Representative John DeBerry (D-TN-Memphis) to join his Cabinet as a senior advisor. Lee’s announcement came shortly after DeBerry lost his re-election.

The governor appears to hold high regard for the former representative, though their party alignments differ.

“John DeBerry is a respected leader and man of faith who has served our state with integrity for decades as both a legislator and civil rights champion,” stated Lee in his statement. “John has fought to protect life, provide better education options for Tennessee students, and to reform our criminal justice system and I’m honored to have his counsel within the Cabinet.

The Democratic Party quietly removed DeBerry from the ticket earlier this year following conflict over his support for school voucher and pro-life policies. Specifically, DeBerry voted against the Party on a fetal heartbeat bill and Education Savings Account legislation.

As a result of the Party’s decision, DeBerry was forced to run as an independent for his own re-election. He had served as the District 90 state representative for the last 26 years.

“I am proud of the work accomplished throughout my time with the Tennessee General Assembly and I look forward to serving Tennesseans in this statewide role,” stated DeBerry in the press release.

Democratic candidate Torrey Harris received 77 percent of the vote compared to DeBerry’s 23 percent. Harris became Tennessee’s first openly bisexual state representative, coming into office with mainly a decade’s worth of activism as his background.

Harris previously challenged DeBerry in 2018, unsuccessfully.

DeBerry will be paid around $165,000 a year. The former representative is scheduled to assume his new position within Lee’s cabinet on Tuesday.

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Corinne Murdock is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and the Star News Network. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to [email protected].






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6 Thoughts to “Governor Lee Taps Ousted Democratic Representative John DeBerry to Become Cabinet Senior Advisor”

  1. 83ragtop50

    Another loser in Lee’s inner circle. The governor is a lost cause. I cannot wait to vote him out. Can we get a true conservative to run against him?

    1. jamesb

      there is no such thing as a true conservative. your statement implies no room for any other political beliefs, republicans need mountains of help in those blue districts in memphis, perhaps this will help.

      i am a conservative but my mind is open.

      1. Tim Price

        I believe this is a good move by Lee for the future of Tennessee. It shows that standing for principles is important. Standing up for life is a great thing.

  2. Kevin

    John DeBerry would be a valuable addition to any professional organization! This is not only one of the best decisions that Bill Lee has made, probably one of the best uses of State tax dollars too!

  3. Julie

    You have to admire a politician who doesn’t fall in line with everything his party supports. Maybe Mr. DeBerry believes that poor parents should be able to choose where their children attend school (the wealthy including politicians love to send their kids to private schools) and knows that the #1 killer of black Americans is abortion (per the census data blacks are 13% of the population but represent 30% of abortions). The offloading of this man tells you all you need to know about the new progressive Democrat party. Governor Lee has made a good choice.

  4. rick

    A very smart move. Mr DeBerry is a great appointment to this position. A good man!