Ned McWherter

Tennessean of the Year
Year Honored:


Born to sharecropper parents in Palmersville at the height of the Great Depression, Ned McWherter provided progressive leadership for Tennessee as its forty-sixth governor. His career in state government began in 1968 when he won a seat in the Tennessee House of Representatives. His down-to-earth business sense and commitment to progress quickly earned him the respect of his legislative colleagues. After just two terms, he was elected Speaker of the House, a position he held longer than anyone in Tennessee history. In 1986 McWherter’s desire to keep Tennessee moving forward led him to seek the governorship which he won by more than 100,000 votes. As governor, he stressed tough financial management, elimination of bureaucratic red tape, and finding creative solutions to the problems facing Tennessee. During his time in office, Tennessee enjoyed a period of record economic growth and development. With his emphasis on education for creating a highly trained Tennessee workforce by the year 2000, the state became known throughout the world as a premier location for new industry and business. McWherter also initiated the first state-financed program for low-income housing, began community-based Drug-Free Tennessee organizations, and used new methods to make health care more available and affordable for all Tennesseans. With accomplishments, values, and goals like that, it is no surprise that Ned McWherter was selected as the 1990 Tennessean of the Year by the Sports Hall of Fame.

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