Statement of Sen. Alexander: Nomination Hearing of Bishop William Graves for the TVA Board

Posted on September 13, 2006

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), chairman of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Congressional Caucus, today introduced Bishop William H. Graves of Memphis, President Bush’s nominee for the TVA Board of Directors, at a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee nomination hearing. Alexander’s remarks follow: “I’m honored to be here today to introduce one of Tennessee’s most distinguished citizens who has been nominated by President Bush for the board of the Tennessee Valley Authority. Bishop William Graves is from Memphis. He’s well known in our state and in the entire mid-south region. “First, he has plenty of experience in the job that he’s been nominated to take, because over the last ten years, he’s been a member of the board of commissioners of the Memphis Light Gas and Water company, which is the Tennessee Valley Authority’s largest customer. If confirmed, Bishop Graves would be one of two members of the TVA Board with experience as distributors of TVA’s power. “William Graves is the 42nd bishop of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. He was elected to that position in 1982. He has served pastorates in Georgia—which is one of the states served by TVA –and Indiana, Wisconsin, and California. He has represented the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church in the World Methodist Conference on several occasions. He is the immediate past president of the board of directors of the National Congress of Black Churches and currently presides over the First Episcopal District, with headquarters and residence in Memphis, Tennessee. “Mr. Chairman, Bishop Graves’ nomination by the President represents two important milestones. First, Bishop Graves will be the first Memphis citizen ever to serve on the Tennessee Valley Authority Board, and since Memphis is the largest customer of TVA’s electricity, that’s especially appropriate. And second, Bishop Graves will be the first African-American member of the Tennessee Valley Authority Board. “He is a distinguished citizen, and on behalf of Senator Frist and myself, we welcome him. “The new TVA Board is off to a terrific beginning. They’re a very good board. They are doing exactly what a modern governance structure of a $7 billion-a-year company ought to do. They’re developing a strategic plan. TVA is becoming a national leader in the production of carbon-free energy by reopening a nuclear power plant. Nuclear power, of course, produces 70 percent of our carbon-free energy in the country and TVA, as the federal agency, is taking the lead in doing that. So I salute that, Mr. Chairman, and I applaud this nomination, as I know all Tennesseans do.” ###