, Tennessee , United States
|Last Modifed||Barack O-blame-a|
May 31, 2004 11:17pm
|Info||John grew up in a family dedicated to service and hard work. His mom and dad owned a local restaurant - Norman Couser’s Country Cooking - which has served home-style cooking in South Nashville since the 1960s. John now owns the restaurant where he helped out as a boy. In those years in between John has worked for everything he’s gotten - at the Nashville Sheraton, stripping tobacco and even unloading trucks one summer. |
After attending Glencliff High School, which is in his legislative district, John enrolled at the University of Tennessee-Martin in 1974, and he worked to pay his way through school. While in college, John worked at local hospitals, and after graduating he went to work at Nashville Memorial Hospital as an assistant administrator. He worked his way up to vice president of the hospital and helped guide the hospital’s new cancer center project, outpatient surgery and diagnostic centers, which brought state-of-the-art services to the people of Davidson County.
John met his wife, registered nurse Michelle Elliott, while working at Nashville Memorial. They were married in 1988, and now have two daughters and live in the 5th Congressional District, not far from where John grew up.
In 1987 John left Nashville Memorial to work for his friend, Cumberland University President Bob Clement. John worked in Clement’s first 5th district congressional campaign, and after he was elected Clement hired John as his executive assistant. John helped establish district offices in Davidson and Robertson Counties and played a major role in handling constituent affairs.
With his wife Michelle’s encouragement, John left Congressman Clement’s staff in 1990 to run for the 53rd district seat in the Tennessee House of Representatives. His baby daughter Jessica Nicole, born January 8, 1990, starred in his first campaign commercial. John won the tough primary and has continued to serve his home community in the General Assembly ever since.
John and Michelle’s second daughter, Katie Elizabeth, was born in 1991, and in 1996 John was elected assistant majority leader of the Tennessee House of Representatives - a position he has been reelected to three times since.
John has brought common sense to the problems hardworking people face everyday. John has dedicated his public service career to giving more security and freedom to Tennessee’s senior citizens and their families. As a hospital administrator, John saw the number of people sent to nursing homes with failing bodies but sound minds. So many only needed minimal help with basic tasks. What John saw helped established much of the agenda for his legislative career.
John believes Tennessee’s seniors and their families deserve a choice in deciding how to live their lives, and he’s championed the effort to provide home and community-based care for Tennessee’s elderly and disabled citizens. John has worked across the aisle and achieved bipartisan solutions to real world problems. People across Tennessee now have the option to remain in their homes rather than being placed in nursing homes, thanks in large part to John’s work.
As a small business owner himself, John’s time working in the restaurant has made him acutely aware of the issues and concerns of hardworking Tennesseans. Through his restaurant, John stays in touch with the community. When he wakes the next day after serving customers he goes to the State Capitol to serve the people of Tennessee.
John helped draft the legislation for Families First - a program designed to move welfare recipients into jobs by offering them training, childcare reimbursements and other help. And John supported "three strikes and out" legislation to keep repeat offenders behind bars and out of our communities. Today, John’s leadership in early childhood development is helping to improve the education and safety for children in daycare.
As a representative of the district for more than a decade, John has seen firsthand the impact the federal government has on the lives of everyday Tennesseeans. Now he wants to continue fighting for working Tennessee families in Congress. John wants to ensure that the 5th Congressional District has a strong voice in Washington, D.C. on the issues that matter the most to them.