Corker Not Such A Self-Made Man - And Response

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Conspicuously absent from all the assertions by Corker about being “a self-made man” is his actual background.

First, he is definitely not an “up by the bootstraps” businessman. When he got out of college, his father was the mayor of Signal Mountain and a management employee of Dupont Corporation. By most Chattanooga standards, a product of the lily-white Signal Mountain enclave is a child of some privilege.

Secondly, even if had managed to save some money to start his business, through his family connections he certainly had access to whatever financial resources he needed.

Finally, as Talk Radio has pointed out repeatedly, local media have refused to deal with this issue, and the Times-Free Press under Tom Griscom’s direction certainly seems to confuse hard news and editorial policy in its coverage.

The Oct. 11 edition of the Memphis Commercial Appeal is challenging Corker’s ethics in the administration of his blind trust while he was mayor, yet our “award winning” local paper wouldn’t touch these substantive issues that define the character of the man who wants to be our next Tennessee senator. “Poor Bob,” self-made man, does not play any longer.

Ron Patton

* * *

Being raised on Signal Mountain doesn’t make one wealthy or privileged. Bob Corker, like most of our children attended public schools. His father was indeed a great man whom I count it an honor to have known and served in the same office. . . who later in life chose to volunteer his time as mayor of Signal Mountain (an unpaid position) – long after Bob graduated college and built his construction business from the ground up. . . without privileged or third-generation connections.

Ironically, Harold Ford born into political wealth and privilege continues to play some misconstrued class card – challenging Bob’s credibility singularly upon his career success in the private sector. I’m not sure if Harold has ever held a job outside the public sector in his entire life. If so, I am sure he has never had to make a payroll.

I can’t possibly imagine what financial or family connections you speak of. I know Bob Corker, I pass by the house he grew up in daily; I know his family. Bob is an honest man from a family of great character. I couldn’t be more proud to support Bob Corker for United States senator from Tennessee.

Bob truly is a self-made man who will serve the citizens of Tennessee well in the United States Senate. He isn’t a career politician with a polished act and says whatever is necessary to get elected. He isn’t a hypocrite who uses religion as some sort of political tool.

All Tennesseans would do our country well by voting for Bob Corker.

Bob Linehart
Council Member
Town of Signal Mountain

* * *

In the upcoming election, voters should rally behind former Mayor Bob Corker. Why? Because he has worked for what he has earned in his career. When did it become a crime to become successful?

It is an urban myth that those who possess wealth are corrupt.

Mr. Corker is a small businessman who is running against a "Willie Stark" clone supported by a huge political machine.

Carl Miller

* * *

In regard to Mr. Ron Patton’s editorial of Oct. 11, it is apparent to me that he is truly ignorant of Mr. Corker’s actual business background and beginnings.

I was fortunate enough to have been hired by Mr. Corker to work in his construction company (Bencor) shortly after I got out of college. I know first-hand how devoted he was to making not only his company successful, but the individuals who worked with him as well.

It was not uncommon for Mr. Corker to work well into the night and early morning, only to be back at his desk by 4 or 5 a.m. Weekends were working days as well, often traveling to various out-of-state project to witness the construction in the field and evaluate what could be done to make the projects and personnel more productive. While I am certain this was (and continues to be) a significant strain on his family life, he was and continues to be the most impassioned person with whom I have ever worked.

After selling Bencor, the majority of his senior staff went on to start their own construction businesses which now employ hundreds of local professionals and laymen. This is a clear testament to this enduring legacy of his personal commitment to not only make himself successful, but help mentor and prepare his staff to do the same for themselves.

Lastly, to address another recent misrepresentation, I am compelled to respond to Mr. Ford’s television spot admonishing Mr. Corker’s position on the immigration incident at the construction project in Memphis. I was personally involved with that project, and know first-hand what the circumstances were. In no way do Mr. Ford’s allegations accurately reflect Mr. Corker’s attitude or position in this matter. It is clear to me that Mr. Ford was, and continues to be, either ignorant of the facts or conveniently does not care what the real facts are.

I personally know how hard Mr. Corker works, how much he cares for the people who work with him and the integrity I know he can carry to the office he now seeks. I for one will be voting for Mr. Corker based on the facts as I know them to be, not what advertising professionals working for Mr. Ford want to be believed.

Sheridan Ames
Project Manager
Hudson Construction Company

* * *

The writer of the above letter has been listening to people on the radio more than he has spent checking the facts behind his first two statements. As Bob Linehart explains, Bob Corker's dad was mayor long after Bob was out in his own post-college life.

The Signal Mountain of the 1960's was definitely not an enclave of privilege. Most families had one car and lived in very modest homes. The daily coal trucks from the mines under Thrasher elementary school are just one example of the 1960's Signal Mountain. The Corkers were definitely not a family of money or privilege. They were, however, well received after they first moved to the mountain in the 60's. The Corkers were of the same modest "means" as everyone else and they were extremely friendly and hard-working.

Both Corker children participated in almost every school sport and activity possible - and both did well due to hard work, energy and enthusiasm. When Bob was elected president of his class at City High - it was not given to him - he was voted by his fellow students. Those of us who know the first workers of Bencor can attest that it was definitely a small start up construction business. Yes, Bob has done well, but it was not given to him.

While his Signal Mountain family connections did not include money, his connections do include a bunch of friends who remember well the Corkers that rode the bus to Signal Mountain Junior High and carpools to City High.

Bob Venable
Trenton, Ga.

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