John Ray served on the House Health Committee and Health Subcommittee, as well as the Business & Utilities Committee, during the 110th Session of the Tennessee General Assembly (2017-2018).  During his first term in the state legislature (2015-2016), John Ray served on the House and Joint Government Operation Committees, in addition to the Health committees. 

Despite being one of only 25 Democrats out of 99 members in the Tennessee House, John Ray has worked across the aisle and passed several key pieces of legislation for the benefit of District 55 and our entire state.   

During his first term in the state legislature (2015-2016), John Ray primarily focused on Nashville’s dire need for affordable and workforce housing, education, public transportation, including mass transit, and increased safety for bicyclists and pedestrians.  To this end, John Ray authored and passed four bills during his first term as District 55's state representative. 

HB 1174 and HB 1351 facilitate the development of affordable and workforce housing in Nashville, one of which will help facilitate the mission of the Barnes Fund for Affordable Housing and other non-profits that work to develop affordable and workforce housing.  HB 904 is aiding our state and LEA's ability to recruit, retain, and promote highly trained educators and educational administrators. 

John Ray also successfully secured a commitment from TDOT to conduct a needs assessment of public transportation in Tennessee and report its findings to the legislature.  This written commitment made John Ray's legislation mandating this study unnecessary.  This needs assessment, as well as other data, were vital resources in his work to create local funding mechanisms for a new public transit system in Nashville.

HB1487, cosponsored by Sen. Massey (R-Knoxville) protects the integrity of bike lanes and increases safety for bicyclists across the state by keeping drivers of motor vehicles out of dedicated bike lanes.

During the first year (2017) of his second term, John Ray continued his focus on providing the greater Nashville region with the opportunity to build a forward-thinking transportation system.  He played a vital role behind the scenes to ensure that the IMPROVE Act passed and contained various tools for local governments, such as Metro, to be empowered and enabled to generate revenues to address their unique transportation needs.   

After years of research on how to begin addressing the mental health and addiction treatment needs of Tennesseans and working with various stakeholders, John Ray focused on the mental health parity and addiction equity laws.  Securing passage of HB480 with the help of Sen. Briggs (R-Knoxville) was a significant step in the right direction to help enforce the Wellstone Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act at the state level. This law requires every managed care organization  (MCO) participating in the TennCare program to submit an annual report to the TennCare bureau demonstrating its compliance with parity laws.  It also requires the bureau of TennCare to monitor MCO's and study their compliance rates.

In response to the escalated attacks on houses of worship and religious cemetaries across the state and country, John Ray and Sen. Dickerson (R-Nashville) passed HB1402.  This law increases the punishment for anyone who intentionally desecrates a place of worship or burial.

Search for all bills and resolutions that Representative Clemmons has introduced and cosponsored in the Tennessee General Assembly here.


  • Parent of John (4), Finn (2), and Henry with wife, Tamara.
  • Attorney, co-founder of law firm.
  • Chairman of the Board, Nashville RBI (Returning Baseball to the Inner Cities).
  • Past President, Belmont-Hillsboro Neighbors, Inc.
  • Co-founding Member, Board of Directors, Friends of Sevier Park, Inc.
  • Former Member, Tennessee Civil Service Commission – appointed by Governor Bredesen.
  • Former Member, Metro Board of Fair Commissioners – appointed by Mayor Dean.
  • Former Political Director, Tennessee Democratic Party, and Former Legislative Aide, U.S. House of Representatives.
  • University of Memphis School of Law and Columbia University.