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Mary Freeman Honored for Her Contributions During Women’s History Month

The Tennessee Senate Democratic Caucus is recognizing Mary Freeman, director of government relations at Baptist, during its second annual Women’s History Maker Program and Reception, to be held on Thursday, March 28, in Nashville. The caucus will honor Mary with a resolution in the Senate Chamber during the floor session, followed by a reception.

Mary received a letter from Sen. London Lamar informing her she will be honored for her historic accomplishments and outstanding contributions to her community and state. She was nominated by Sen. Raumesh Akbari, minority leader of the Tennessee Senate.

“Mary is highly deserving of this recognition. It is an honor to work with her. Mary’s determination and commitment is an inspiration, and her contributions have made a positive impact on patient care and our operations,” said Keith Norman, vice president/chief government affairs and community relations officer for Baptist.

In her position at Baptist, Mary provides leadership and direction relative to government and legislative matters affecting patient care and business operations. She is instrumental in shaping Baptist’s external engagement with policymakers, third-party organizations and influencers in support of Baptist’s policy agenda at the local, state and federal level.

Before joining Baptist, Mary served as one of four directors of the Tennessee Regulatory Authority (TRA), leading the state’s regulatory arm for setting rates and service standards for telephone, natural gas, electric and water utilities for more than five million consumers. Having been jointly appointed to a three-year term in 2008 by Gov. Phil Bredesen, Lieutenant Gov. Ron Ramsey and Speaker of the House Jimmy Naifeh, she became the first African American woman to serve in this capacity. In 2010, her peers elected her to serve as chairwoman of the Authority, making her the first African American woman to serve in that role. As chairwoman of the TRA, she oversaw regulatory hearings and served as chief administrative officer of 75 employees and an $8 million annual budget.

Prior to her appointment to the TRA, she served as a legislative liaison and legislative director in the administration of Gov. Phil Bredesen. In that role, she was instrumental in developing the administration’s legislative agenda, as well as managing the Governor’s office legislative team and 23 departmental legislative liaisons. Before joining the Bredesen administration, Mary served as executive assistant to State Representative Lois DeBerry, Speaker Pro Tempore of the Tennessee House of Representatives.