Tenn. lawmakers, officials remember Douglas Henry

Courtesy: Tennessee State Library and Archives

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Tennessee lawmakers and others are remembering Tennessee’s longest serving political leader, Douglas Henry, after his death.

Colleagues called Henry a true statesman. Below are several comments on his passing released Monday.

Gov. Bill Haslam:“One of the most fun calls I have been able to make as governor was a call in 2015 to Sen. Henry when we knew we would be able to put funding for the new state museum in the budget. Sen. Henry was a tireless champion of the museum, its mission and the importance of preserving Tennessee history for future generations. His dedication to the museum may only be surpassed by his commitment to the state’s financial strength. I was fortunate to be able to visit with Sen. Henry Friday, and I can attest that the state’s finances were still top of mind to him. He served the state for nearly 50 years, and it is not an exaggeration to say that he is one of the primary reasons the state is on such solid financial footing today. He was a powerhouse intellect, courteous, kind, genuine and a statesman, and I will miss knowing that his wisdom and perspective are only a phone call away.”

Lt. Gov. Randy McNally: “It is impossible to quantify this loss or even put it into words. To me personally, Douglas Henry was an invaluable mentor and a trusted friend. To the state of Tennessee, he was far more. Douglas Henry was our state’s financial guardian and protector. He always wanted what was best for his state, never for himself. A true gentleman, he was consistently kind and gracious to everyone. Whether you were a Republican or a Democrat, a prince or a parolee, Douglas Henry treated you with respect. The kindness he showed toward me—a young Republican member of the finance committee serving in a Democratic-controlled legislature—is something I will carry with me for the rest of my days. And I am not alone. Nearly everyone he encountered can share similar stories. No one could spend time with him without coming away with an overwhelming sense of pride about being a Tennessean, or overwhelming envy if they were not. Douglas Henry loved Tennessee with all his heart. He truly was a man with no equal. I will miss him and I will never forget him.”

U.S. Sen. Bob Corker:“I first had the opportunity to work with Doug Henry in the mid-1990s during my time as commissioner of finance, and I last spoke with him on Friday to tell him how much I thought of him,” said Corker. “He was a true gentleman and a true Tennessee statesman. No one focused more over a longer period on the fiscal issues facing our state than Senator Henry, and with a steady hand and wise guidance, he set a tremendous example of bipartisanship and integrity in public service. I will truly miss Doug’s friendship and will keep the entire Henry family in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.”

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander: “There was no one in the Tennessee General Assembly who demonstrated integrity, courtesy and financial stability more than Douglas Henry. To him, party politics were of no importance. The citizens he served were what mattered. His example will be important for years to come.”

Rep. Jim Cooper: “Tennessee is a well-managed state today because of Doug Henry. As a state senator he made sure for over 50 years, that governors behaved, that the legislature behaved, that we didn’t spend money like drunken sailors.”

House Speaker Beth Harwell: “To me, he will always be known as The Senator,” she said. “I truly held him on a pedestal. A lot of people talk about ethics in government. He didn’t have to talk it because he epitomized it. He was the most kind, gracious man I’ve ever known.”

House Democratic Leader Craig Fitzhugh: “My few words cannot convey the impact of Senator Henry. His wealth of knowledge, understanding of the essence of state government, impeccable character, love of his family and fellow man, and genteel manner set the highest bar. He allowed me to be his friend and to learn from him. Our family is thinking of his.”

House Democratic Caucus Chair Mike Stewart: “Senator Doug Henry was absolutely in the progressive tradition in creating and maintaining strong enduring governmental institutions, protecting them from corruption and ensuring that they were properly funded.”

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry: “Senator Douglas Henry’s tremendous impact on the city of Nashville and the Tennessee General Assembly, where he served with unparalleled distinction, will undoubtedly last for generations to come. He was a fervent student and teacher of our shared history, he was an expert on the state budget, and he set a high standard for decorum and decency in public life. Nashville was proud to call him one of ours, and we miss him already. I know I am joined by many across the State of Tennessee, which Senator Henry loved so dearly, in celebrating the life and legacy of a true statesman.