Teague announced to the NETWORKS — Sullivan Partnership Wednesday morning that he is stepping down as Roe’s district office director effective Oct. 31 and will be replaced by Roe field representative Bill Darden.
The announcement came at the end of the meeting attended by both Teague and Darden, with Teague praising local officials including Tri-Cities Airport Executive Director Patrick Wilson, who also attended the economic development meeting.
NETWORKS is a regional economic development group for Sullivan County, Kingsport, Bristol, Tenn., and Bluff City that also markets the Phipps Bend Industrial Park in Hawkins County.
“This has been very much on the down low,” Darden said after the meeting, adding that Teague will be available for consultations after Oct. 31.
“I’ve had John Abe on speed dial for 40 years,” Darden said.
“He’ll make himself available to us,” Darden said. “He’ll be a part of Team Roe as long as the congressman is in office.”
Teague, who raises certified Angus beef cattle on his farm in Telford in Washington County, said he plans on concentrating on his farm, family and church.
“I think he’s one of the finest people in the region,” Wilson said after the meeting. Teague was a chairman of the Tri-Cities Airport Commission, a forerunner of the Airport Authority now in place.
Teague, in an interview after the meeting and during his presentation to NETWORKS, said he started with the Roe campaign for Congress in late 2007 and was treasurer during the 2008 campaign, all the while working at the Bank of Tennessee. He then went to work as a field representative in early 2009 and stayed until February of 2015. However, he came back in December after the retirement of then-District Director Bill Snodgrass of Hawkins County.
So Teague has worked for Roe in some capacity for more than eight of Roe’s nine years in office. Roe’s seat will be on the ballot in 2018.
“I’m going to be involved in my community. I’m going to concentrate on family, church and farm,” Teague said, adding that he also plans to take a “good, big breath” starting Nov. 1. “I’m done with getting up every morning and putting a tie on.”
Before working for Roe, Teague worked for Farm Bureau for 30 years and then was in business development for the Bank of Tennessee for 3.5 years.
UPDATE: Verbatim News release Wednesday, Oct. 18, from the office of U.S. Rep. Phil Roe:
Roe Announces District Staff Changes
JOHNSON CITY, TENN – Today, Rep. Phil Roe, M.D. (R-TN) announced that his District Director, John Abe Teague, will retire at the end of the month. Roe also announced his field representative, Bill Darden, will take over as District Director, and Daryl Brady, who worked for Leadership Knoxville, has joined the office as field representative.
Roe released the following statement on the staff changes:
“John Abe Teague is a dear friend who has been with me from day one. He is truly an invaluable asset to my team and to the constituents he served in East Tennessee. After a longtime career in the private sector, he has demonstrated remarkable commitment as a public servant, and has served the First District with humility and a tireless energy. While I’m sad to see him retire, I know his wife Vicki and their family look forward to enjoying more time on their farm together and traveling. I thank him for his service and wish him some well-earned downtime.
“I’m honored that Bill Darden has agreed to lead my district team. Bill also came from a private sector background and has put his experience in building relationships to use in service to East Tennessee. He is well-respected throughout the First District, and I know he will continue to serve constituents with the same dedication he demonstrated as field representative.
“I’m also thrilled that Daryl Brady has joined our team. Daryl has served in local politics in Jefferson County and has long worked to create a better environment for job growth and business development in East Tennessee, something that is so critical to my job in Congress. Bringing in someone with Daryl’s experience will ensure constituents who need assistance won’t miss a beat. As always, my entire district team stands ready to help anyone who is having trouble with a federal agency.”