Former Tennessee Rep. Van Hilleary Returns as Chief of Staff

Will join small fraternity of lawmakers-turned-staffers

Former Rep. Van Hilleary will head back to Capitol Hill to serve as chief of staff to Rep.-elect John Rose, R-Tenn. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Rep. Van Hilleary will head back to Capitol Hill next year, this time as chief of staff to Rep.-elect John W. Rose.

A member of the GOP class that swept to power in the mid-1990s, Hilleary represented Tennessee’s 4th District until 2003. He left office to run for Tennessee governor, but lost to Democrat Gov. Phil Bredesen. He ran unsuccessfully for the Senate in 2006.

“He will bring the Washington know-how to our team, but is not a Washington insider. He is my friend and I could not be more proud to have him on board. Together, we will work to bring the highest level of service to this office so the people I serve are represented in the fullest manner possible,” Rose said in a statement.

Hilleary came into Congress as one of the “Republican revolutionaries” of the GOP’s staunchly conservative Class of 1994, which ended a 40-year Democratic hold on the House.

He is not the only former lawmaker turned staffer. Former Rep. Ron Barberwill return to serve as district director for Rep.-elect Ann Kirkpatrick. Barber held that position for Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, a job he had when he was shot in the 2011 mass shooting that injured 12 others and killed six at a “Congress on Your Corner” event in Casas Adobes near Tucson. Giffords subsequently left the House, and Barber won a 2012 special election to fill her seat and re-election in the 2012 general election. He lost to Republican Martha McSally in 2014. 

And in 2004, after Republican Rep. Ed Schrock of Virginia did not run for re-election, he returned to the House as a staffer on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee. 

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.