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U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper’s longtime chief of staff Lisa Quigley is leaving his office this summer.

She has run the Nashville Democrat’s Washington office for 13 years and has previously worked for other members of Congress and ran for Congress herself in California. Jason Lumia, deputy chief of staff and legislative director for Cooper, will take over as chief of staff. Cooper also announced that finance and operations director Cheryl Mayes will be promoted to district director based in Nashville.

“Lisa is my confidant, and the best strategist I’ve ever worked with,” Cooper said. “She is kind, compassionate, smart and believes that government can work for everyone. She is energetic, determined, and knows how to get things done. She is a leader in her own right in our community, and I will miss her daily counsel.”

During her time in Cooper’s office, Quigley has been heavily involved in Tennessee politics and has advised Cooper on more than half a dozen successful elections. She was a co-founder of Women for Tennessee’s Future, which recruits Democratic women to run for state and local offices in Tennessee. Her departure from his congressional office comes as Cooper faces a 2022 primary challenge from local nonprofit leader Odessa Kelly, whose bid is backed by prominent national progressives, including the organization Justice Democrats.

A Cooper spokesperson, Katie Feldhaus Jackson, said Quigley “doesn’t have any idea what she’s going to do next, and she is taking time to figure it out.”

Mayes is a former Metro Nashville School Board member who joined Cooper’s staff in 2019, after Cooper’s brother, Nashville Mayor John Cooper, hired away one of Jim Cooper’s aides.

Lumia has served in the deputy role on Cooper’s staff for more than a decade.

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