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Tenn. legislator credits Hooters job

Associated Press / February 9, 2011

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NASHVILLE — A newly elected Tennessee legislator writes in the current issue of Hooters Magazine that her experience working in the restaurants known for waitresses’ skimpy outfits led to her later success in business and politics.

Republican state Representative Julia Hurley, 29, was elected in November after defeating incumbent Democrat Dennis Ferguson in a mostly conservative district west of Knoxville.

Hurley writes that her experience at Hooters helped prepare her for a run for public office — even when opponents tried to make a campaign issue last summer about her past employment and photos from her modeling career.

“I have taken quite a bit of flak from the public at large during my run for State House in Tennessee for being a Hooters Girl,’’ she said. “But I know that without that time in my life I would not be as strong-willed and eager to become successful.’’

The link also became a direct benefit to her electoral bid when former customers made campaign contributions “without question or hesitation,’’ she said.

The article appears in the magazine’s “Orange Pride Spotlight,’’ which features “the success stories of Hooters Girls both past and present.’’ Much of the rest of the magazine is devoted to full-page photos of women posing in bikinis and Hooters uniforms. A spokeswoman for the restaurant chain did not return a message seeking comment.

Hurley now works as a consultant and entrepreneur. She is a Southern Baptist and a member of the National Rifle Association and the Gun Owners of America.

Her House bid last year was her first run for public office, and she told The Knoxville News Sentinel during the race that her top issues included reducing illiteracy, creating jobs, and filling empty retail space in her district. The General Assembly began its full schedule this week, and Hurley has not yet introduced any bills.

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