G. McConway
August 28, 2023

Former Tennessee Governor, GOP Leader Dead at 87

In Tennessee, the name Don Sundquist is legendary.

He is a former two-term governor of the state of Tennessee as well as a former US Congressman for the state.

Sadly, word came of his passing on Sunday at the age of 87, reported AP News.

Longtime GOP Leader in Tennessee

The legacy that Sundquist leaves behind is one that few politicians today can claim… the ability to bring people together from all walks of life, regardless of their political affiliation.

Beth Fortune, a former Nashville Banner reporter who was Sundquist’s communications director, stated, “Gov. Sundquist was a connector. He delighted in bringing people together from all walks of life to work for the common good. It was a hallmark of his governorship,” reported the Tennessee Lookout.

She continued, “Similarly, he brought many really young people together almost thirty years ago to serve in his administration, entrusting us with great responsibilities and giving us opportunities to learn and grow at the highest levels of government and public policy.

“His support of and faith in us never wavered, even when others may have urged otherwise. He mentored and guided us and treated us like family, which to this day, we all, by and large, remain so. It was an honor to serve in his administration, and Tennessee is a better state because of his leadership.”

Sunquist was actually born in Illinois, moving to Memphis, TN, in the early 1970s, where he dove right into the local political scene.

He first took his congressional seat in the 1982 election, winning the seat for Tennessee’s 7th district, winning by a mere 1,476 votes.

Sunquist used his popularity as a congressman to win the governor’s mansion in the 1994 election, beating Nashville Mayor Phil Bredesen in that election.

He won his second term easily, but his legacy took a hit after he proposed a state income tax, a time that saw massive protests from Republicans, including then-State Rep. Marsha Blackburn.

Sundquist is survived by his wife, three children, and two grandchildren.

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