Andrea Conte (born February 13, 1941) was the First Lady of Tennessee from 2003–2011. She is the wife of former Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen (2003–2011). She is a 1968 graduate of the University of Washington and a registered nurse. Not to be confused with the field hockey player at Villanova University.
Early history and education
Andrea Conte was born in Great Barrington, Massachusetts to Louis and Roaslie Conte. She spent her childhood in Great Barrington, graduating from Searles High School in 1958. She trained as a nurse at Mercy Hospital in Springfield, MA, receiving her RN in 1961 and subsequently her bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Washington in Seattle in 1968. After moving to Nashville, she attended night classes at the University of Tennessee downtown campus (now Tennessee State University Avon Williams campus) and received an M.B.A degree in 1983.
Marriage and family
Andrea Conte and Philip Bredesen were married in Wheatley, Oxfordshire, England on November 22, 1974. Bredesen was working in the United Kingdom at the time. She has retained her own name. Following their marriage, she obtained a job with Hospital Corporation of America in Nashville, TN, and the couple moved to Tennessee in 1975. They have one son, Benjamin (b. 1980).
On December 7, 1988 she was kidnapped and injured in the parking lot of her retail shop in Nashville She fought, and was able to escape the kidnapper’s car as it drove on the road. The kidnapper was not identified or captured immediately. The following year, he killed a woman in a Nashville park and was captured after fleeing. Under questioning, he admitted to the Conte kidnapping, as well. Following her experience, Ms. Conte founded a non-profit organization, You Have the Power, to assist victims in dealing with the criminal justice system and to advocate for victims' rights.
Activities as First Lady
As first lady, she continued her work on victims' rights issues, a commitment that arose from her 1988 kidnapping. In 2004, she walked 605 miles across Tennessee (from Memphis to Bristol) to spotlight and raise funds for child advocacy centers in her state. She is a frequent speaker on these and other subjects, both in and outside of Tennessee.
She also headed a project to restore and renovate the Tennessee Governor's Residence. The renovation includes a subterranean addition built underneath the Residence's front lawn called Conservation Hall, designed by the Memphis architecture firm archimania.
- Nashville Banner, December 7, 1988
- Locker, Richard (29 September 2009). "Memphians planned governor's mansion change: Architects envisioned underground spaces". The Commercial Appeal. Retrieved 7 May 2010.