Bill Hagerty takes leave to help Mitt Romney

photo Bill Hagerty, commissioner of economic and community development for Tennessee
Arkansas-Tennessee Live Blog

NASHVILLE -- Tennessee Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty is taking a temporary leave of absence to volunteer for Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney's "readiness team."

Claude Ramsey, deputy to Gov. Bill Haslam, will assume oversight of the department during Hagerty's leave of absence, the governor said.

Hagerty, a longtime Romney supporter who worked with the candidate at Bain Capital, will take unpaid leave beginning Monday through Nov. 6.

"Bill's background makes him a logical choice to serve in this role," said Haslam, a Republican. "He will do a great job."

The presidential readiness team is led by former Gov. Mike Leavitt of Utah. Hagerty served in a similar role for the 2008 presidential campaign of Republican John McCain.

Despite going on unpaid leave, Hagerty will be in Nashville on Oct. 18-19 to oversee the Governor's Conference on Economic and Community Development.

Haslam said that "creating and growing Tennessee jobs is a top priority for our administration, and I appreciate Claude for his willingness to serve in this capacity in the upcoming weeks. His experience will be an asset to the department as we continue to focus on new jobs in Tennessee."

Ramsey is a former Hamilton County mayor.