Public offices in Tennessee
A native of Alabama Mathews studied in his home state at Jacksonville State College, where in 1949 he earned his bachelor 's degree; it joined a study of public administration at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. This he finished with the master's degree.
Mathews remained in Nashville and entered the service of the State of Tennessee in 1950. First employed in the state administration, he was later on the staff of Governors Gordon Browning, Frank G. Clement and Buford Ellington. In 1961 he was appointed as Commissioner of Finance and Administration in the State Government. He held until 1971 this office; during this time he brought in a night school in Nashville to his law degree.
After the Republican Winfield Dunn had assumed the office of governor in January 1971, Mathews left the state cabinet and went into the private sector. For two years he was vice president of a construction company in Memphis. In 1973 he returned to the state administration and was Deputy Chief of the long-standing financial management ( Comptroller ) from Tennessee, Bill Snodgrass. The following year he was by the Tennessee General Assembly as Finance Minister ( State Treasurer ) elected after his predecessor, Tom Wiseman had resigned to run for the governorship. He remained until 1987, in office when he took over the post of lieutenant governor under the new Governor Ned McWherter.
Senator in Washington
Finally, in 1993, he was appointed by Governor McWherter for U.S. Senator. He took over in Washington, D.C. the mandate of the recently elected to the side of Bill Clinton for U.S. Vice President Al Gore. It was clear from the outset that Mathews would only take the role of a placeholder and not seek re-election. The appeal was on the one hand seen as a long- deserved award politician; Moreover, the governor sat in this way not to suspicion to pursue in the long- term succession Gore's own party-political goals.
So Harlan Mathews was also during his time mostly in the background; he agreed to the policies of President Clinton and the former Democratic majority in the Senate majority. When it came to the successor within his party, the number of candidates was limited because with Fred Thompson, who quite enjoyed as a prosecutor and actor great popularity, on the Republican side took an obviously difficult to compelling opponents. Ultimately, Congressman Jim Cooper was nominated, the subject clearly Thompson.
Thompson was sworn in December 1994, the Harlan Mathews followed the tradition to vacate his seat in the event of a by-election for a term not ended earlier. He left the Senate as silent as he had acted there, and then joined in a law firm in Nashville one.