U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander announced Monday he will not run for re-election in 2020.
The Tennessee Republican released the following Monday morning:
“I will not be a candidate for re-election to the United States Senate in 2020. The people of Tennessee have been very generous, electing me to serve more combined years as Governor and Senator than anyone else from our state. I am deeply grateful, but now it is time for someone else to have that privilege. I have gotten up every day thinking that I could help make our state and country a little better, and gone to bed most nights thinking that I have. I will continue to serve with that same spirit during the remaining two years of my term.”
Alexander is the only Tennessean ever popularly elected both Governor and U.S. Senator. His 2008 general election vote total of 1,579,477 is the largest ever received by a statewide candidate.
Alexander is chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. He authored opioids legislation signed into law in October which President Trump called “the single largest bill to combat a drug crisis in the history of our country.” In 2016, he wrote the “21st Century Cures Act,” which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) called “the most important law of this Congress.” In 2015, Alexander authored the “Every Student Succeeds Act,” fixing “No Child Left Behind.” President Obama called the new law “a Christmas miracle,” and the Wall Street Journal said it was the “largest devolution of federal control to the states in a quarter century.” As chairman of the Energy and Water Development Appropriations subcommittee, Alexander provided four years of record funding for national laboratories, supercomputing and waterways, including restarting Chickamauga Lock. You can read more about the senator’s work here.
A seventh-generation Tennessean born and raised in Maryville, Alexander was twice elected governor of Tennessee. He was chairman of the National Governors Association and of President Ronald Reagan’s Commission on Americans Outdoors. He then served as president of the University of Tennessee and U.S. Secretary of Education under President George H.W. Bush. In 2002, he was elected to the United States Senate and was re-elected in 2008 and 2014. His Republican colleagues elected him three times to be chairman of the Senate Republican Conference.
He is a country and classical pianist who has performed on the Grand Ole Opry and for the Billy Graham Crusade. When not in public office, he co-founded a law firm and two successful businesses. He and Leslee Kathryn [Honey] Buhler married on January 4, 1969. They have four children and nine grandchildren.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam released the following statement on Alexander’s announcement:
“It is almost impossible to measure the impact of Lamar Alexander’s commitment to Tennessee. His time as governor paved the way for the economic position we enjoy today as a leading state for business, and his educational reforms were ahead of his time. As a senator, he has distinguished himself as a national leader, while always reminding everyone that our founders designed our government for most of the power to be delegated to the states. No one has served our state longer as a governor and senator, and few, if any, have served it better than Lamar.”
Governor-elect Bill Lee released the following statement:
“Sen. Lamar Alexander has faithfully served Tennesseans at the state and federal level for decades. A seventh-generation Tennessean and principled conservative, our state benefited from his thoughtful leadership. I am thankful for Lamar’s friendship and wish him the best.”
Lt. Gov. Randy McNally released the following statement:
“Lamar Alexander is a Tennessee legend. The foundation of Tennessee’s modern success as a state and a people was built upon his wise governance. All Tennesseans owe him a great debt. Lamar, along with Howard Baker and Winfield Dunn, was responsible for the modern rebirth of the Republican Party. But he always put principles over party, people over politics. Lamar always did what was best for Tennessee. As a young legislator, I was honored to work with then-Governor Alexander and was consistently impressed with his diligence and integrity. His mentorship of me and countless others has been invaluable. Though he may not be running for re-election, I have no doubt Lamar will continue to serve our state with distinction for the next two years as Senator and as elder statesmen beyond that. We will need him.”