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Veteran Tenn. lawmakers bid farewell to colleagues

Veteran Tenn. lawmakers bid farewell to colleagues

Posted: Wednesday, May 2, 2012 8:00 pm

AP Nashville Bureau chief
NASHVILLE (AP) — When Tennessee’s 107th General Assembly adjourned for the year tonight, two veteran West Tennessee lawmakers — House Speaker Emeritus Jimmy Naifeh of Covington and Sen. Roy Herron of Dresden — headed out on westbound Interstate 40 for the last time as lawmakers.
Naifeh, 72, a Democrat first elected in 1974 and who served as House speaker longer than anyone in Tennessee history — 18 years — gave a brief farewell to his colleagues and received an ovation on both sides of the aisle. He acknowledged the Republicans’ rise to power, commended Speaker Beth Harwell, R-Nashville, and encouraged civility.
“It is time for changes because the elections told us two years ago that they wanted this particular leadership in place. The Republicans have the votes and we’re following along best as we can,” he said.
“One thing I’m going to leave you with is, when we’re in committee and we’re debating very hard and you’re upset with each other, make sure you leave it in that room. Especially when you’re up here on the floor and when you get into hot debate, when you walk out this door here, leave it in here. You’ll find it helps a whole lot,” said Naifeh.
Herron, 58, a Democrat, was first elected to the House in 1986, where he served 10 years before winning election to the Senate in 1996. He’s returning to his Dresden law practice and to head the Ned McWherter Center for Rural Development, a nonprofit organization founded in 2008 with the backing of the late governor McWherter to provide scholarships and other educational opportunities for Tennessee students and to help create jobs in the region.
Both lawmakers were previously honored by their respective chambers. They are among 15 senators and representatives not running for re-election to the General Assembly this year. Two more House members are leaving the House to run for the state Senate.

Published in The Messenger 5.02.12