Tue. Feb 27th, 2024

Roy Herron, a longtime Tennessee state lawmaker and former chairperson of the state Democratic Social gathering, died Sunday from accidents sustained in a jet ski accident. He was 69.

Herron died at Vanderbilt Medical Heart in Nashville, in line with an announcement from his household. He had been hospitalized since a July 1 collision with one other jet ski on Kentucky Lake, through which he suffered inner bleeding and in depth accidents to his arm and pelvis, in line with his household’s Caring Bridge web site.

The Tennessee Wildlife Assets Company was investigating the collision, the main points of which weren’t instantly out there.

“Roy liked his household with all his would possibly,” Herron’s spouse, Rev. Nancy Carol Miller-Herron, stated. “He handed doing what he liked most — spending time with our sons and their associates within the Tennessee outside the place his spirit was all the time most free.”

Herron, an lawyer from Dresden, Tennessee, served a mixed 26 years within the state’s Home and Senate, the place he grew to become flooring chief and caucus chair for the Democrats. He by no means missed a day of session, apart from when his youngest son was born, in line with his web site. He chaired the state Democratic Social gathering from 2013 to 2015.

A graduate of the College of Tennessee at Martin, Herron was additionally one of many first college students to earn joint levels in divinity and legislation from Vanderbilt College. An ordained Methodist minister, Herron additionally authored three books, together with one titled, “God and Politics: How Can a Christian Be in Politics?”

Funeral companies had been deliberate for Saturday at First United Methodist Church in Martin.

Condolences poured in on Sunday. On Twitter, former Vice President Al Gore known as his fellow Tennessee Democrat “a pricey good friend and considered one of Tennessee’s most devoted residents.” Democratic Rep. Steve Cohen known as Herron “shiny, diligent, and trustworthy. A politician destined for greatness.” Republican Rep. David Kustoff stated Herron ”devoted his life to serving West Tennessee, and the whole Volunteer State.”

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Tennessee Home Republican Caucus Chairman Jeremy Faison stated on Twitter he was “the form of man that you simply couldn’t assist however like.”

Joe Hill, a longtime Tennessee Democratic political operative who labored with Herron on a number of campaigns, stated he “introduced a zeal for making well being care extra accessible to deprived Tennesseans” when he was elected to the state Home. Hill stated he additionally introduced that dedication to “training, victims’ rights, environmental high quality and so many different issues that have an effect on common individuals.”

“His legacy of advocating for ‘the least amongst us’ will characterize the gold customary of service for Democrats and Republicans in Tennessee’s future,” Hill instructed The Related Press on Sunday.

That nature utilized to Herron’s friendships as nicely, Hill stated. He recalled how Herron drove 140 miles (225 kilometers) to be with him and his household in Memphis, after considered one of Hill’s kids was concerned in a automotive crash.

“We left house in such a rush and didn’t carry additional garments,” Hill stated. “My spouse, Susan, was freezing within the chilly hospital ready room, and Roy gave her his shirt so she might be heat. That’s the form of real human being he was.”

In 2010, after briefly working for governor, Herron grew to become the Democratic nominee in Tennessee’s eighth Congressional District, when then-Rep. John Tanner introduced his retirement, after greater than 20 years within the seat. Herron in the end misplaced the final election to Republican Stephen Fincher.

“I hoped after I retired, that he would win the seat,” Tanner instructed the AP on Sunday.

After a twister devastated his hometown of Dresden simply earlier than Christmas in 2021, Herron marshaled a fundraising effort, amassing greater than $100,000 to assist restoration efforts.

“It is an overused time period — that he was a devoted public servant — however that actually was Roy,” Tanner stated. “He labored tirelessly for causes that he took up, and he had a great coronary heart.”


Meg Kinnard might be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP

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