A look back at the political career of Claude Ramsey
CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – You wouldn’t bring in Claude Ramsey to fire up the troops.
He wasn’t a fiery speaker (although many of his acolytes remembered his quips on politics today).
But you would bring him in to run the mission those troops were going on.
Claude Ramsey’s gift of public service involved the handling of money and organization.
His political career began in the Tennessee legislature in the 1970s and concluded as Deputy Governor in 2015.
In between, he served on the Hamilton County commission, the County Assessor and the first County Mayor after the government reorganization.
The below video covers a pivotal year in that career, 1980. He started that year as a County Commissioner, then ran and won the job as County Assessor.
His proudest achievements involved money.
Ramsey pushed to turn the old TNT plant into an industrial park and then recruited Volkswagen to occupy it.
But VW wasn’t his only contribution to the Tennessee Valley.
He secured funds for the Hamilton
During his tenure, we launched the Hamilton County incubator that helped birth a number of start-up businesses.
He was proud of the County’s excellent bond rating under his watch, and what he brought to the school system.
It took none other than Governor Bill Haslam to pull him away from Chattanooga.
Ramsey served as his chief deputy in the first part of his administration.
“Claude is a smart, wise counselor, who is great at working out problems either
huge and visible or little things,” Gov. Haslam said.
The truth is, you’ll find a lot more flamboyant politicians here over the years.
But scratch just about any success here over the last 40 years, and he was involved.
And several generations of local Republicans call him a mentor.
State Senator Bo Watson said “He once told me, ‘Never forget to ask someone for their vote.’ Even though Claude was an incredible political force, he never took any election for granted. If people ran against him, he ran to win.”
You can read the funeral arrangements for Claude Ramsey, here.
Volkswagen officials expressed their sorrow today over Ramsey’s death.
They called him one of their first friends in Tennessee.
You can see what he thought of them in this story from the announcement in 2008.