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Election Commission Members

Chairman Jim DeLanis

Commissioner Jim DeLanis

Mr. DeLanis was born and raised in Parma, Ohio, where he attended and graduated from public school. He received his bachelor's degree from Dartmouth College in New Hampshire and came to Tennessee in 1975, where he has lived ever since. Mr. DeLanis graduated from Vanderbilt Law School in 1978. He served one year as law clerk to Nashville Circuit Court Judge James Swiggart and two years as Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division, State of Tennessee. In 1981 he joined the Baker Donelson law firm where he now is a shareholder.

Mr. DeLanis is past President of the Nashville Humane Association and has served on its board, and in other capacities, since 1997. He has been President of the Nashville Bar Association Pro Bono Program and was the Chairman of the fundraising campaign for Legal Aid in 2012, among other bar activities. He has been active in Big Brother and Big Sisters of Nashville, the YMCA Community Action Program, and other local charities.

Jim is an avid handball and tennis player, enjoys hiking and gardening, and has a dog and a cat. He lives in the Hillsboro/West End neighborhood.

Mr. DeLanis' law practice focuses on business litigation. He has been recognized in Best Lawyers and Super Lawyers.

Secretary Tricia Herzfeld

Commissioner Tricia HerzfeldTricia Herzfeld is Senior Counsel at Ozment Law. She is a 2001 graduate of George Washington University Law School. Ms. Herzfeld focuses her practice on the criminal defense of immigrants, Padilla counseling and constitutional law. Before joining Ozment Law in 2012, Ms. Herzfeld served as legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee, where she successfully litigated dozens of high - profile civil rights cases in state and federal courts in a variety of areas including: Free Speech, Freedom of Religion; Election Law, Equal Protection and Racial Profiling.

Ms. Herzfeld has focused a great deal of her efforts on election protection issues in Tennessee including: developing Know Your Rights materials and trainings; frequently speaking on issues of election law and systemic voter disenfranchisement throughout the state; staffing Election Protection hotlines; investigating suspicions of efforts to suppress the vote through open records requests and other advocacy methods; and litigating numerous election law cases in state and federal court.

Herzfeld was also a public defender in Miami, where she conducted over 80 trials. Ms. Herzfeld is a graduate of the 2010 Tennessee Bar Association Leadership Law program and a member of the Tennessee Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education Committee. She is a frequent lecturer on a variety of civil rights and civil liberties issues. Ms. Herzfeld is also a member of the Legal Advisory Board of the Workers' Dignity Project and i s an ACLU - TN Cooperating Attorney. She is licensed to practice law in Tennessee (active), Florida (inactive) and West Virginia (inactive).

Commissioner Jennifer Lawson

Commissioner Jennifer LawsonJennifer Lawson practices law in Nashville, handling a broad range of complex civil litigation including contract disputes, trade secrets litigation, officers’ and directors’ liability issues, copyright and trademark infringement, entertainment law matters, and business bankruptcy representation and litigation . She has extensive experience in litigation in federal and state courts and in alternative dispute resolution. She provides advice regarding corporate governance issues to for - profit and nonprofit boards of directors. Ms. Lawson is a former member of Lassiter, Tidwell, Davis, Keller & Hogan, PLLC , where she represented clients as diverse as alcohol beverage distributors, hospitality firms, non - profit corporations and internationally renowned entertainers in complex litigation and bankruptcy matters and landowners in condemnation and eminent domain proceedings.

Ms. Lawson received a B.A. degree from Carson - Newman College in 1988, where she was an Honors and Dean’s List graduate. She earned a J.D. degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 1991, where she was on the Dean’s List and active in the Student Bar Association and Phi Alpha Delta legal fraternity.

Ms. Lawson is married. She attends First Baptist Church and is involved in community organizations in Historic Old Hickory Village. Ms. Lawson has volunteered as a poll watcher and has been involved in various political campaigns. She is a member of the Tennessee Bar Association , Nashville Bar Association (including the Bankruptcy Practice Committee and a former board member of the Solo and Small Firm Committee ), Lawyers’ Association for Women and a founding member of the Tennessee network of the International Women’s Insolvency and Restructuring Confederation (IWIRC) .

Commissioner A.J. Starling

Secretary A.J. StarlingA.J. Starling's career in the Labor Movement began with the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1235 in Nashville, Tennessee in 1971 as a bus operator. He was later elected to the union executive board and then as the Recording Secretary of Local 1235, where he served for 12 years.

While he was a bus operator, he received several awards including "Operator of the Year", "Perfect Attendance" and safe driving award for 18 years. A.J. also received a yearly award that was named in his and his supervisor Frank Brook's honor. The Brooks-Starling Award given annually to the operator who had gone above and beyond the call of duty. Before leaving as an operator, A.J. worked in numerous political campaigns with the Tennessee AFL-CIO and the National AFL-CIO.

In 1988, A.J. was selected by Tennessee AFL-CIO President Jim Neeley to serve as labor coordinator in the Technical Assistance Program where his responsibilities were to work with the Tennessee Department of Labor in the dislocated workers unit, assisting hundreds of people to get training and re-employment opportunities.

In 1990, A.J. was promoted to Director of Technical Assistance Program where he was responsible for the directing, planning and supervising of all phases and operations of this program. Under A.J.'s direction, the program has increased from three to six employees and now has a budget of nearly a half a million dollars.

In January 2003 he became the director of Political Affairs, A.J. is very involved in community and political activities. He is a member of the Workforce Investment Board (WIA#9), State of Tennessee Tax Structure Study Commission, a Red Cross board member, State President of the Asa Phillip Randolph Institute, a trustee of Westwood Baptist Church, Coach of the AAU Basketball Boys' ages 13-17. A.J. and his wife Marieta have been married for 27 years and have two sons, Jeff and Andrae.

Commissioner Jesse Neil

Jesse Neil

Jesse C. Neil was born and raised in Nashville, Tenn. He received his bachelor's degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2001 and his law degree from the University of Mississippi School of Law in 2004. While in law school, he served as an editor on The Mississippi Law Journal, the school's law review publication.

Mr. Neil is Vice President & Associate General Counsel at Community Health Systems, a hospital and health care management company located in Franklin, Tennessee. He provides strategic and operational guidance to corporate departments and to hospitals, clinics, and ancillary service providers throughout the country. Prior to joining Community Health Systems, Mr. Neil served as Assistant Attorney General for the Office of the Tennessee Attorney General. In that position, he represented the State of Tennessee in complex litigation and administrative matters in Tennessee and in federal courts around the country.

In 2013, he was elected Vice-Chair and Chair-Elect of the Tennessee Bar Association’s Health Law Section.

Mr. Neil is an avid fly fisherman. He lives in the Green Hills neighborhood with his golden retriever, Grady.

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