The Look in Brief

Former U.S. Rep. Bob Clement honored by national transportation association

By: - October 9, 2023 3:11 pm
Passengers prepare to board an Amtrak train. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Passengers prepare to board an Amtrak train. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Former U.S. Rep. Bob Clement will receive the Distinguished Service Award on Tuesday from the American Public Transportation Association (APTA)  for his advocacy of public transit throughout his career. 

Clement, who represented Tennessee’s Fifth District in Congress for eight terms, served on the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and held the position of Ranking Member on the House Railroads Subcommittee.

“It is an enormous honor and privilege  to receive the APTA Distinguished Service Award,” said Clement. “I am grateful to APTA’s leadership for this recognition and for all that the APTA community is doing to advance critical transit and rail projects across the country and in Tennessee.”

Bob Clement, former Tennessee congressman. (Photo: Submitted)
Bob Clement, former Tennessee congressman. (Photo: Submitted)

During his congressional tenure, he introduced legislation to promote commuter and passenger rail nationwide and advocated for the restoration of Amtrak city service, which was eliminated in 1979. 

One of Clement’s greatest transit achievements was his securing of funding for the WeGO Star Commuter rail line between Nashville and Lebanon. 

Nashville Mayor Freddie O’Connell, who formerly chaired the WeGo Public Transit board, will join Clement at the presentation in Orlando, Fla., as will Jason Spain, executive director of the Tennessee Public Transit Association. 

In a statement, O’Connell called Clement an “inspiration.” 

Clement’s public service career spans more than 30 years. He was elected to the Tennessee Public Service Commission (now the Public Utilities Commission) in 1978 at the age of 29, and remains the youngest person elected to statewide office in Tennessee. 

He served as president of Cumberland University, as a member of the Tennessee Valley Authority Board of Directors and retired from the Tennessee Army National Guard as a colonel in 2001. He is also president emeritus of the Clement Railroad Hotel Museum in Dickson, Tenn., which features programming around the history of Dickson County and of Clement’s father, four-time Tennessee Gov. Frank Clement, who was born in the hotel in 1920.


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J. Holly McCall
J. Holly McCall

Holly McCall has been a fixture in Tennessee media and politics for decades. She covered city hall for papers in Columbus, Ohio and Joplin, Missouri before returning to Tennessee with the Nashville Business Journal. Holly brings a deep wealth of knowledge about Tennessee’s political processes and players and likes nothing better than getting into the weeds of how political deals are made.