CHATTANOOGA (WRCB)- Hamilton County Mayor Claude Ramsey will resign as mayor to join Governor-Elect Bill Haslam's administration. Ramsey will serve as Chief of Staff and Deputy to the Governor.

At a news conference in Chattanooga Friday morning, Haslam and Ramsey received a standing ovation in a packed Commission meeting room. Ramsey's resignation from Hamilton County will be effective January 11.  He says his last official act will be attending the unveiling of the new midsized sedan at Volkswagen's presentation in Detroit on January 10.

"Claude Ramsey is exactly the type of person I'm looking for as we build our team," said Gov.-elect Haslam. "I discussed throughout the campaign the idea of leveraging regional assets for job creation, and Claude brings a unique set of experiences and understanding to job creation in Tennessee.
"He understands how government works; he understands how businesses work; and he understands how to get things done," Haslam added.
"Claude brings communities together to benefit the region, and he knows the incredible importance of providing a quality workforce, which means offering Tennesseans a great education," Haslam said. "He'll serve Tennessee well, and I'm proud to have him on board. Most importantly, he's a man of great character, and the kind of man you want on your team."

A Hamilton County Commissioner first confirmed the information to Channel 3 Eyewitness News on Thursday. The 67-year-old Ramsey was elected to a fifth four-year term in August, attracting 77% of the vote against challenger Richard Ford. 

"I'm humbled to have the opportunity to work for my state and with a public servant such as Bill Haslam," Ramsey said. "We as a state have many opportunities, and with Bill Haslam at the helm, we'll focus on maximizing our potential in job growth, education reform and conservative budget management.  I think we can do a lot of good together, and I can still help Hamilton County.  If I didn't think so, I wouldn't take the job."  He says he will not get involved with the search for a replacement for County Mayor.

Ramsey is a Hamilton County native who was a strawberry farmer when he first entered politics in 1972, serving two terms in as a state representative.  He was a County Commissioner briefly before being elected Assessor of Property, and served fourteen years in that office, before running for County Executive (now County Mayor) in 1994.

He has been credited with playing a big role in attracting the Volkswagen plant to Hamilton County in 2008, followed by several other manufacturers since then.




Here is information from his official biography on the Hamilton County website:

Claude Ramsey is very active in a variety of roles in the community. He has served on the boards of numerous agencies including the Orange Grove Center, Chattanooga Neighborhood Enterprise, the RiverCity Company, and the United Way. He served on the Board of Trustees at Erlanger Medical Center and was Chairman of the Board of Associates at Chattanooga State Technical Community College.
Claude Ramsey exemplifies the spirit of individual achievement. Throughout his career, he has advanced into positions of growing responsibility. He has succeeded in his efforts through hard work and persistent pursuit of his goals.
He was named "Chattanooga Area Manager of the Year" in 2003. This award is the largest local awards program in the nation. In conjunction with Management Week in America, it is presented annually to an executive whose management skills have profoundly influenced the outstanding performance of a key element of American business, industry, governmental, or non-profit activity. He was most recently named Outstanding Legislator by the Southern Health Association.
His diligence in tackling issues that affect quality of life have become well known across the state. Initiatives such as Read 20, Step ONE, and Hamilton Shines are making headway in addressing literacy, obesity, and public littering. Mayor Ramsey has also played a key role in the creation of the Tennessee Riverpark, a facility considered by many as one of the nation's top greenway systems.
Claude Ramsey is married to Jan Fizer Ramsey. They have a son, Rich Balthrop, a daughter, Stacy Schorr, and five grandchildren. They are members of Bayside Baptist Church.