Monday, December 17, 2018

Senator Lamar Alexander not to seek reelection in 2020

Press release, NASHVILLE, Tenn., December 17, 2018 – United States Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today released the following statement:

I will not be a candidate for re-election to the United States Senate in 2020. The people of Tennessee have been very generous, electing me to serve more combined years as Governor and Senator than anyone else from our state. I am deeply grateful, but now it is time for someone else to have that privilege. I have gotten up every day thinking that I could help make our state and country a little better, and gone to bed most nights thinking that I have. I will continue to serve with that same spirit during the remaining two years of my term.
Alexander is the only Tennessean ever popularly elected both Governor and U.S. Senator.  His 2008 general election vote total of 1,579,477 is the largest ever received by a statewide candidate.  Alexander is chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. He authored opioids legislation signed into law in October which President Trump called “the single largest bill to combat a drug crisis in the history of our country.”

In 2016, he wrote the “21st Century Cures Act,” which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) called “the most important law of this Congress.”

In 2015, Alexander authored the “Every Student Succeeds Act,” fixing “No Child Left Behind.” President Obama called the new law “a Christmas miracle,” and the Wall Street Journal said it was the “largest devolution of federal control to the states in a quarter century.”

As chairman of the Energy and Water Development Appropriations subcommittee, Alexander provided four years of record funding for national laboratories, supercomputing and waterways, including restarting Chickamauga Lock.  

You can read more about the senator’s work here.

A seventh-generation Tennessean born and raised in Maryville, Alexander was twice elected governor of Tennessee.  He was chairman of the National Governors Association and of President Ronald Reagan’s Commission on Americans Outdoors. He then served as president of the University of Tennessee and U.S. Secretary of Education under President George H.W. Bush.   In 2002, he was elected to the United States Senate and was re-elected in 2008 and 2014.  His Republican colleagues elected him three times to be chairman of the Senate Republican Conference.

He is a country and classical pianist who has performed on the Grand Ole Opry and for the Billy Graham Crusade. When not in public office, he co-founded a law firm and two successful businesses. He and Leslee Kathryn [Honey] Buhler married on January 4, 1969. They have four children and nine grandchildren.

 Rod's Comment: I remember when Lamar Alexander was publicly sworn in as Governor. A mass of people walked up Charlotte Avenue to the Capitol and I was among them.  Along with many others, I wore a red plaid flannel shirt and a button that read, "I walked the last mile with Lamar Alexander," or something like that.  For those who may not know, Lamar ran a very unusual campaign and walked the full length of the State, starting in Mountain City and ending in Memphis.  After being elected he was privately sworn in early to stop outgoing Governor Ray Blanton from making massive last minute prison pardons.  Blanton was extremely corrupt, selling liquor license and pardons and engaging in other corruption. Lamar Alexander was young, handsome, and wholesome and a breath of fresh air.

I think Lamar Alexander has served the people of our state well. He may not be a partisan bomb thrower but he is a good legislator and is thoughtful, principled, and respectful.  Those seem to be qualities not in high demand these days.  While I have respect and admiration for Lamar, everyone at some point probably ought to retire. It is time to let a younger generation have a seat at the table. I wish Lamar Alexander the best in his retirement.

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