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Ned McWherter Dead at Age 80

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Ned McWherter, a onetime factory worker who became a millionaire businessman and two-term Democratic governor after two decades as a legislator, died Monday afternoon. He was 80.
Madelyn Pritchett, his longtime assistant, said McWherter died after a battle against cancer, at Centennial Hospital in Nashville where he had been taken Saturday.
McWherter, of Dresden, was governor from 1987 to 1995, following 20 years in the Legislature — and 14 as House speaker. He also was political adviser to Bill Clinton during his presidency.
A child of sharecroppers, he became a millionaire through various business enterprises before entering politics.
As governor, he supported education improvements — called the “21st Century Classroom” — that put more computers and technology in classrooms, increased teacher’s pay, shrunk class sizes and gave local school boards more control.
He was a member of the U.S. Postal Board after he left the governor’s office. Mike McWherter, his son, lost the race for governor in 2010 to Bill Haslam. Mike McWherter was at his side when he died, Pritchett said.
Funeral arrangements were not immediately announced.

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