Bill Hagerty says economic development deals are documented./The Tennessean
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Bill Hagerty is stepping away from his role as commissioner of the Economic and Community Development Department to work for Republican Mitt Romney's presidential campaign.
Hagerty will serve a member of the campaign's presidential readiness team in Washington. He held a similar role in Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign four years ago.
Gov. Bill Haslam praised Hagerty's selection and said he expects him to "do a great job." Claude Ramsey, the governor's deputy, will also run the agency until Hagerty's return after the election.
The state Democratic Party criticized the move as illustrating that Haslam and Hagerty are more interested in presidential politics than in improving the state's unemployment rate.
Hagerty's unpaid leave begins Sept. 17.