J. Scott Applewhite—AP
April 15, 2015 8:49 PM EDT

Curious about tunnels smuggling supplies from Egypt to Gaza, U.S. Senator Bob Corker hailed a jeep, rode to the border, inspected the tunnels and that afternoon showed photographs to a startled Benjamin Netanyahu. In Chattanooga, Corker’s penchant for aggressive fact finding caused this former construction executive and mayor to help 10,000 families find decent homes.

Now it has thrust the junior Senator from Tennessee into bipartisan deals on debt, financial regulation, immigration and Iran. In 2014 he voted with the majority of Republican Senators 85% of the time, but he is a conservative who prizes results over speeches. He is unafraid to challenge President Obama and unafraid to work with him.

His tough-minded pragmatism and grasp of economics have restored prestige to the Foreign Relations Committee and are reminiscent of George H.W. Bush’s skilled team. If he is not President himself, Corker is an obvious choice for Secretary of State or Treasury.

Alexander is the senior Senator from Tennessee

More Must-Reads From TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com.

You May Also Like