Pinion reflects on years of service

Pinion reflects on years of service
Pinion reflects on years of service | Phillip Pinion

Tyler Barker, outgoing state Rep. Phillip Pinion and volunteer campaign worker Bill Parks
By JOHN BRANNON Messenger Staff Reporter For state Rep. Phillip Pinion, time is truly of the essence. Time had much to do with his decision not to seek re-election. Time has much to do with his transition from public official to private citizen. And time — 20 years worth of time — was much on his mind Thursday as he watched election returns. First elected in 1988 to represent House District 77, he won reelection time after time. But not this time. Not with his decision to retire in November at the end of his current term. And so he sat this one out. With great interest he watched the campaigns of those who wanted to succeed him in office. “I’d drive around during the campaign and see all those yard signs from the candidates. But not mine. For 20 years my signs were all over the district. But not this time. It was a funny feeling,” he said. “I look back with a lot of good feelings. I got to live a dream, a dream I had as a young boy. I got to work for a congressman, Mr. Fats Everett. I had the honor of being elected by the people of Obion, Dyer, Weakley and Gibson counties over a 20-year period. “I got to be a part of some very good things that will help the future of this area I love so much. I am a sixth generation Pinion from Obion County. My grandson is the eighth generation. This is home. I tried my best to represent the citizens. Good roads, the prison, the riverport, the airport. These are the things I’m proud of. Also, we were able to get funding for ball parks and community clubs. “I’ve had the privilege of serving three governors. I’m the ninth-longest serving member of the House. I had the good fortune to be chosen to chair one of the most powerful committees in the legislature. “So as I look back, I can say it’s been an honor and a privilege to represent the people of our district and a humbling experience for me to know the people chose to reelect me so many times. My name’s been on the ballot about 20 times, primary and general elections combined.” Pinion, who has had open heart surgery — he has eight stints in one artery — said health had a lot to do with his decision to retire from the political arena. He’s 57, and time — the future, that is — was a major factor in his life. He said his doctor told him that if he’d change jobs while in his mid-50s, it would add years to his life. So he gave it some thought. He quit smoking and started exercising. And he gained 15 pounds. “So I decided to take the doctor’s advice. I announced my decision not to run again, and I began planning for the future,” he said. “I landed a good job with a large engineering firm in Nashville. They have offices in India and 15 places here in the states. I am working mergers and acquisitions. I’m already at work and I’m enjoying it. I travel a lot. I was in Birmingham (Ala.) last week, in New Orleans two weeks ago and next week I’m going to Orlando, Fla.” Published in The Messenger 8.8.08

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