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On Jimmy Naifeh’s Retirement Announcement (including text)

House Speaker Emeritus Jimmy Naifeh announced today that he would not seek election to another term. Here’s the news release issued by his office:
News release:
NASHVILLE – Speaker Emeritus Jimmy Naifeh (D-Covington) announced today on the House floor that he will not seek re-election to his district 81 seat this fall. Naifeh has served in the House of Representatives for 38-years, 18 of which he spent as Speaker of the House.
“Governor McWherter always told me when it was time to go home, I’d know it. After talking with my family and friends, I believe the time has come for me to pass the torch to the next generation of leaders,” said Speaker Naifeh. “All told, I’ve given 40 years of my life to public service: 38 in the legislature and two as an Infantry Officer in the Army. Now I’m looking forward to a little more time for myself and a lot more time with my grandkids.”
Naifeh was elected to the House of Representatives in 1974, after losing his first bid for office in 1972 by 13 votes. Since that time he has never lost an election. In addition to being the longest serving Speaker of the House in Tennessee history, Naifeh served as Floor Leader, Majority Leader and President of the National Speaker’s Conference.
He has received numerous legislator of the year and service awards during his tenure, including the prestigious William M. Bulger award which is given every other year to one state legislative leader who has worked to preserve and build public trust and whose career embodies the principles of integrity, compassion, vision and courage.
“In all aspects of my life, I’ve always tried to be an effective leader. I think a lot of that stems from my army training. When I came to the House, it was no different. I got into leadership during my second term with the ultimate goal of becoming Speaker. I achieved that goal and I’m proud of what I accomplished during that time.”
Naifeh is a long-time supporter of public education and places the Jimmy Naifeh Center in Covington, a branch of Dyersburg State Community College, among his most proud accomplishments. Outside the legislature Naifeh’s work with St. Jude is well known. For the past 19 years, he has hosted an annual legislative golf tournament in Nashville to benefit ALSAC/St.Jude, where he serves on the Board of Directors.
“My Dad came here from Lebanon and couldn’t even speak English! He always told me what a privilege it was to live in this country and that we had a responsibility to give back. Whether it was my work with St. Jude or in the legislature, I’ve always tried to remember that and use what power I had to improve the lives of everyday people.”
Naifeh has 3 children (Jim, Beth and Sameera) and 6 grandchildren (Sarah, Jay, Sam, Jameson, Jack and Katherine). He plans to explore future options, while spending more time with his grandchildren.
NOTE: More below, including text of Naifeh’s remarks and other news releases.

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Biographies of Tennesseans Available Online

News release from Secretary of State’s office:
People around the world are familiar with Jack Daniel’s, but they may not know much about the man behind the brand name – the son of a wealthy Scottish immigrant who combined whiskey making techniques from his father’s homeland with Tennessee maple sugar to create a distinctive new type of libation. Nor do they know much about his nephew, a one-time Tennessee state senator who learned how to market that whiskey to the world
Tennesseans can now find the history of the Daniel family – along with more than 30,000 others – with the help of an online index available on the Tennessee State Library and Archives’ (TSLA) web page at http://www.tn.gov/tsla/history/misc/biography.htm
TSLA is a division of the Office of the Secretary of State.
For years, TSLA has been collecting books full of biographical information on famous and not-so-famous Tennesseans. The library’s holdings contain more than 90 books with such varying titles as “Who’s Who in Tennessee,” “Biographical Directory of the Tennessee General Assembly,” “Prominent Tennesseans,” “Over the Misty Blue Hills: The Story of Cocke County” and “Bench and Bar of Knox County.”
To make that information more accessible, TSLA staffers have transferred information from those books into an online index with biographical listings by name. Many of the listings include a birth and death year, followed by the book title and location. The index also indicates if a portrait of the individual is included.
People can search online for names of people that interest them and contact TSLA staffers, who will send copies of the available biographical information via mail or e-mail.
“The library has put together a huge collection of profiles on people across this great state,” said Secretary of State Tre Hargett. “While this information is available at TSLA’s building in Nashville, many Tennesseans don’t have the time or the resources to visit. Making this information available with the help of the online index is one more way we can better serve the citizens of Tennessee.”