NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – While the political climate across the country might be divided, lawmakers across party lines in Tennessee are in agreement of at least one thing.
Democrats and Republicans alike introduced a bill Monday to name the new Nashville federal courthouse in honor of former U.S. Senator Fred Thompson.
Thompson, who was also a notable actor, died in Nashville in November 2015 following a recurrence of lymphoma.
He graduated from Memphis State University in 1964 and the Vanderbilt University School of Law in 1967. He also served as the Assistantant U.S. Attorney in Tennessee serving as minority counsel to the Senate Watergate Committee in 1973.
Thompson was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1994 and served until 2003.
The legislation introduced Monday will be considered by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
It was filed by U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander (R) and Bob Corker (R) along with U.S. Representatives Diane Black (R), Marsha Blackburn (R), Steve Cohen (D), Jim Cooper (D), Scott DesJarlais (R), John J. Duncan, Jr. (R), Chuck Fleischmann (R-Tenn.), David Kustoff (R) and Phil Roe (R).
The new courthouse will be constructed by the General Services Administration and will be located at 719 Church Street.
Senator Alexander said: “Tennesseans and our country were fortunate that public service attracted Fred Thompson. His personality had a streak of magic – he was authentic, purposeful and principled – and he worked hard. After graduating from Vanderbilt University law school, he served in Nashville as Assistant United States Attorney. In 1973, Sen. Howard Baker named him minority counsel in the U.S. Senate Watergate hearings. In 1994, Tennesseans elected him United States Senator and two years later re-elected him to a full six year term. He was an actor in more than 20 movies. It is appropriate to name the new federal courthouse in honor of Fred’s distinguished career as an attorney, Senate investigator and United States Senator.”
Senator Corker said: “Fred Thompson served the people of Tennessee and our country with great distinction. Through his many different roles in public life, Fred never forgot where he came from, and our state and country miss his common sense approach to public service. I was proud to call him a friend and am pleased to join my colleagues to honor his life in this way.”
Representative Black said: “Fred Thompson was a statesman who led with conviction, and he was a visionary who helped turn our state into the conservative success story that it is today. Tennessee shines brighter because of Fred Thompson’s service. This courthouse will serve as a worthy tribute to his enduring legacy.”
Representative Blackburn said: “Dedicated to first principles and conservative values from the start of his career in Sen. Howard Baker’s office, Fred Thompson made a lasting impression on the state of Tennessee. Thompson attended school in Lawrence County and later went on to receive degrees from the University of Memphis and Vanderbilt University. He began his career in Nashville and excelled in every endeavor. He loved our state and her people. Passing legislation to allow the federal courthouse in Nashville to bear his name is an appropriate way to show our respect for his commitment to the people of Tennessee.”
Representative Cohen: “It is an honor to be a cosponsor of the bipartisan bill in the House to honor my friend Fred Thompson. Fred served the United States Senate and the state of Tennessee with distinction for 8 years. He was a proud graduate of the University of Memphis and the only U of M grad to ever serve in the Senate. I was present when the National Conference of State Legislatures awarded him the Restoring the Balance Award for his dedication to federalism. For Fred, it was not a political or campaign issue, it was his philosophy. Despite our different political parties, Fred was always encouraging to me and I valued our friendship. He led an eclectic life from his time as an outstanding congressional staffer during the Watergate hearings and as a fine attorney, actor, and public servant. It is most appropriate that we name the federal courthouse in Nashville after this great American.”
Representative DesJarlais said: “From working as a young attorney highlighting corruption in the White House and Tennessee’s governor’s mansion, to being a familiar face on movies and television, to serving our state as a United States Senator, Fred Thompson will always be known as a favorite son of Tennessee. His service will be a part of the rich history of our state, and I am happy to join my colleagues in supporting this initiative.”
Representative Duncan said: “Fred Thompson was a strong, independent voice for Tennessee and somebody for whom I had great admiration and respect. Even though he achieved great national prominence, he never forgot his Tennessee roots.”
Representative Fleischmann said: “Senator Fred Thompson was a respected legislator who had an extraordinary career. He was one of Tennessee’s finest and I am happy that a Federal Courthouse could soon be named after him.”
Representative Kustoff said: “Fred Thompson was an exceptional talent and a true inspiration to lawyers and lawmakers across America,” said Kustoff. “I was proud to know him and could not think of a better way to honor his dedication to public service and love for the great state of Tennessee.”
Representative Roe said: “Senator Thompson rose from humble beginnings to national prominence through hard work and perseverance. Fred dedicated much of his life to serving the state of Tennessee and this great country, and I am proud to join the Tennessee delegation to honor the memory of a great man I was lucky to call a friend.”