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Kenyan appointed to US State Cabinet

42-year old Hodgen Mainda, who first moved to the US in 1997 as a rugby player becomes the first Kenyan to hold such a position in the State of Tennessee after working in government relations and business development roles in Nashville, Knoxville and Chattanooga/COURTESY

NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 10 – Tennessee Governor Bill Lee has appointed a Kenyan native to serve in his government as the new commissioner of Commerce and Insurance.

Forty two year old Hodgen Mainda, who first moved to the US in 1997 as a rugby player becomes the first Kenyan to hold such a position in the State of Tennessee after working in government relations and business development roles in Nashville, Knoxville and Chattanooga.

“Hodgen joins my cabinet after an outstanding career as a community leader in Chattanooga,” Gov. Lee said in an announcement Thursday. “He is respected for his ability to build partnerships across multiple sectors and we welcome his leadership to such a multifaceted department like Commerce and Insurance.”

In addition to his work with the Electric Power Board of Chattanooga (EPB) where he built partnerships across the state and federal level and increased EPB’s role in regional economic development, Mainda serves on the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Chattanooga Rotary Club, the United Way of Greater Chattanooga, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Chancellor’s Roundtable and the College of Business Advisory Board. He is also a member of the Leadership Tennessee Class of 2019 and a 2018 graduate of the Harvard Business School Young American Leaders Program.

“I am thrilled for the state of Tennessee to have such a wonderful young leader in such a very important role,” said state Rep. Robin Smith, the chairman of the House Insurance Committee. “Hodgen will do a fantastic job based on his history of working on many number of projects in the Hamilton County area.”

Hodgen, whose father, Dr. Steve Mainda serves as Board chairman, HF Group as well as Continental Reinsurance and a Board member of Shelter Afrique amongst other finance and insurance companies, is expected to take up his new role in October.

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