Chairman 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 Senior Counsel.
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
Tricia Herzfeld is a partner at Branstetter, Stranch & Jennings, PLLC. She is a 2001 graduate of George Washington University Law School. Ms. Herzfeld focuses her practice on civil rights and complex litigation. Previously, Ms. Herzfeld served as legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee and as Senior Counsel at Ozment Law, 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, Immigrants’ Rights 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. She is a frequent lecturer on a variety of civil rights and civil liberties issues. Ms. Herzfeld is also an ACLU-TN Cooperating Attorney. She is licensed to practice law in Tennessee, Florida, and West Virginia.
Commissioner A.J. Starling
A.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 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.
Commissioner Emily Reynolds
Nashville native Emily J. Reynolds has had an extensive career in public service since 1980. Tennessee has had two Senators who served as Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate, and she has worked for both, Senator Howard Baker and Senator Bill Frist.
In 2003 she was elected by the U.S. Senate to serve as the 31st Secretary of the Senate where she managed the Senate’s legislative, financial and administrative operations for the 108th and 109th Congresses. She had previously served as Chief of Staff and State Director for Senator Frist.
In 2007, Ms. Reynolds joined the Tennessee Valley Authority as a senior vice president, and she completed her service at TVA in 2013.
She has continued her commitment to public service as a member of the Tennessee Board of Regents. Originally appointed by Governor Phil Bredesen in 2010, she was reappointed to the board by Governor Bill Haslam, and has served as TBR Vice-Chairman for four years.
Ms. Reynolds is a former regent (Board Chairman) of the Ladies Hermitage Association, now the Andrew Jackson Foundation. In 2012 she was named to the Nashville Public Education Foundation’s Public Schools Hall of Fame. This year, she received the Distinguished Leaders Award from Women in Numbers, a nonpartisan local organization encouraging women to become more involved in government and politics. She is a graduate of Stephens College in Columbia, MO.