Former U.S. Congressman Bob Clement, was an eight-term congressman from Tennessee’s Fifth Congressional District from 1988 to 2003. He is the son of the late three-term Governor of Tennessee, Frank G. Clement. Growing up in the Tennessee Governor’s Residence since he was a boy and being exposed to many of the country’s top political leaders, Clement learned the value of public service at an early age. After graduating from the University of Tennessee with a Bachelor of Science Degree, and an MBA Degree from the University of Memphis, Clement, after completing an R.O.T.C program, was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army. He served two years, then returned to Tennessee after his father passed away in a tragic automobile accident to take care of family matters. Clement continued his military service by serving in the Tennessee National Guard for twenty-nine years, eventually retiring as a colonel.
Clement began his career in public service when he was only twenty-nine years old when he ran for a seat on the Tennessee Public Service Commission and won. He became the youngest state-wide office holder in the history of Tennessee. Later, he was appointed as a director of the Tennessee Valley Authority by President Jimmy Carter. When the role of president of Cumberland University became available, the board of directors of the university named Clement as its new president. He is credited for turning around what was once a financially-troubled private college, into a university that now has a reputation for academic excellence and a vibrant student population.
During his fifteen years of service in the U.S. Congress, Clement was known as a bipartisan member, often voting with the opposition on issues he championed. He chose committees which would have major economic impact in Tennessee, as well as across the nation. During his fifteen years in Congress, he served on the House Transportation Committee, improving infrastructure projects such as highways, public and mass transit, airport improvements and preserving waterways. He was co-author of legislation on funding and establishing a nationwide system of greenways and bicycle paths. Clement also supported more passenger rail service in Tennessee and around the country, and he launched Tennessee’s first commuter rail line-the Music City Star. While in Congress, Clement also served on the Foreign Affairs, Budget and Veteran’s Affairs Committees, and assisted Gulf War veterans suffering from illnesses after the first Gulf War. He’s also responsible for major upgrades to the Veteran’s Affairs hospitals in Middle Tennessee. A life-long champion of education and public service, Clement founded and co-chaired the Education Caucus promoting and supporting more federal funds for public education. He helped found the New Democrat Caucus that concentrated on high-tech and trade issues. As an active member of the Tourism Caucus, he promoted trade and tourism at home and abroad.
After leaving Congress, Clement formed Clement & Associates a public affairs consulting firm in Nashville, Tennessee. Clement, is also the author of the acclaimed political memoir, Presidents, Kings and Convicts: My Journey from the Tennessee Governor’s Residence to the Halls of Congress and is a sought after public speaker. The book highlights his colorful life from growing up in the Tennessee Governor's mansion to being eyewitness to the politics of world events during the second half of the twentieth century. Clement tells the story of his multi-faceted life and reveals many untold stories about notable people and events. He also narrates the shaping of his life as a moderate Democrat growing up in the South in the 1950s and shares his front row seat to some of America’s most noteworthy events.
Clement’s wife, Mary, served as president of the Congressional Club, which represents the spouses of the House and the Senate when her husband was in Congress. She was also Director of Consumer Affairs for the State of Tennessee. They are both life-long Tennesseans and residents of Nashville. They have four children and five grandchildren.