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One Statue The Tennessee Legislature Can Agree On? Dolly Parton

Emily Siner

It’s no secret that the Tennessee legislature tends to disagree over who gets at statue in the state capitol — an example is Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest.

But, if it’s Dolly Parton, then the story is different.


A measure being considered by the legislature would make the music legend the first living person with such monument.

“I don’t know of any living human being that’s done more or is doing more to help Tennesseans than Dolly Parton,” Rep. Tim Rudd, R-Murfreesboro, said Tuesday during the first hearing of HB 135.

The measure would instruct the State Capitol Commission to install a statue of Parton on the capitol grounds facing Ryman Auditorium.

Parton is the founder of Imagination Library, a program that mails free books to children from birth until they begin school in the U.S., Australia, Canada, United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. She also offers scholarships for students headed to college.

Rep. John Mark Windle, D-Livingston, is the sponsor of the bill. He said Parton’s values should be honored.

“She accepts everyone. She’s nonjudgmental,” Windle said. “She is the example of what I think a Christian ought to be.”

The proposal passed its first committee unanimously. It’s now headed to the House State and Local committee for further discussion.

Sergio Martínez-Beltrán is Nashville Public Radio’s political reporter. Prior to moving to Nashville, Sergio covered education for the Standard-Examiner newspaper in Ogden, Utah. He is a Puerto Rico native and his work has also appeared on NPR station WKAR, San Antonio Express-News, Inter News Service, GFR Media and WMIZ 1270 AM.
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