(from left) Knoxville Chamber Board Chair Terry Turner, Chamber President and CEO Mike Edwards, Chamber Government Relations Committee Chair Susan Richardson Williams, Rep. Rick Staples, Rep. Roger Kane, WGU Tennessee Chancellor Kim Estep and AT&T Regional Director Alan Hill.


Those attending the final legislative panel discussion of the Capitol Connections series gave retiring state Rep. Harry Brooks a standing ovation in honor of his 16 years of service, which included leading efforts to bring greater accountability to Tennessee public education.

Both Mike Edwards, the Knoxville Chamber’s CEO, and fellow legislator and panelist, Rep. Rick Staples, praised Brooks’ calm, steady and nonpartisan leadership in steering through reform initiatives under two governors – Gov. Bill Haslam and Gov. Phil Bredesen. Brooks served as chair of the House Education Administration & Planning Committee and as a member of the House Education Instruction & Programs Committee.

The departure of Rep. Roger Kane after six years of service was also acknowledged, including his interest in reading proficiency as chair of the House Education Instruction & Programs Subcommittee and a member of both House education committees.

“Skillfully moderated by Susan Williams, chair of the Chamber’s Government Relations & Public Policy Committee, the Capitol Connections discussions have provided Chamber members timely information about bills traveling through the Tennessee General Assembly,” said Mike Edwards, president and CEO of the Knoxville Chamber.

“We appreciate members of the Knox County legislative delegation taking the time to keep us up-to-date on issues of interest to the business community,” he added.

The series is sponsored by AT&T and WGU Tennessee, and resumes again in February 2019.