McWherter – The Life and Career of Ned McWherter by: Billy Stair

As I have posted here before, I attend the annual Friends of the Public Library sale every year. I normally attend more than one day during the sale. This year was no exception. On one of the final days, the whole family attended and each one of us got a bag or box of books. One of my books was McWherter The Life and Career of Ned McWherter written by Billy Stair.

It is less than 200 pages and can be read in a three hour setting. In the book it reveals the early history of McWherter. The fact that he was a shoe salesman, selling the shoes by traveling out of the country. How he became a beer distributor, etc.

Many of his legislative accomplishments as Governor, included the creation of TennCare. Donna Shelala the DHS Secretary under President Bill Clinton was instructed by Clinton in a phone conversation to award a waiver in order for Tennessee to create TennCare. McWherter also gave us the appointed School Superintendents, because it would bring up test scores. Test scores have not risen to the level the legislature promised. Also, included in this massive educational reform was funding that has never been approved or adopted. I do not want the funding approved, as it was a proposed income tax. However, that is one arguement that the legislators could make, rescind portions of the BEP program because the funding was never implemented.

I was involved in the 1986 and 1990 Republican campaigns for Governor, where we opposed McWherter. In 1986, I served as the 19th legislative district director for Governor Winfield Dunn’s campaign. Governor Dunn served our state as Governor and created the Kindergarten program in the 1970’s. He opposed McWherter in 1986. In Knox County, we carried Dunn. In 1990, I supported State Representative Dwight Henry of Cookeville. It was a long shot, but I stood with Henry on principle.

In reading this book it reminded me of actions of the former Republican Congressman from TN’s First Congressional District, Jimmy Quillen.

Overall, the book is an interesting read.

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1 Response

  1. Mr Turnbow says:

    Yeah Ned’s a nice man. I met him a few times at democrat rallies back in the 80’s. I wonder though if he could get elected today by counting on west tennessee. The GOP controls every office in Madison and Henderson except the Sheriff. The counties south of I-40 are very reliable GOP areas in statewide elections. I think Bush and Corker won most of the counties north of I-40 in ’04 and ’06 and then there’s Chris Criders landslide wins. Its a much more favoable landscape today for the GOP in the west state than it was back in the 70’s and 80’s.