Sen. Douglas Henry confirms he will not seek reelection

Wednesday, May 8, 2013 at 12:17pm

After a legislative career spanning six decades, state Sen. Douglas Henry will leave the state legislature for good next year.

Henry’s office confirmed that he will not seek reelection in 2014, as first reported by The Tennessean. An official statement from Henry is expected later today.

His Democratic colleagues in the Tennessee House of Representatives lauded his service in a statement Wednesday morning.

“Sen. Douglas Henry is the type of legislator we all aspire to be,” read a joint statement from the House Democratic Caucus. “Through numerous administrations and changes in leadership, Sen. Henry has remained a stalwart advocate for fiscal responsibility and Tennessee values. There is no greater champion for the State of Tennessee than Sen. Henry.”

After first being elected to the state House of Representatives in 1955, Henry has been a fixture in the Senate since 1971. He survived a 2010 primary challenge from Nashville attorney Jeff Yarbro by just 17 votes. Since then, redistricting has reshaped District 21, but it remains a Democratic stronghold.

Henry’s exit immediately led to buzz in Nashville’s political circles about the race to succeed him.

Yarbro is expected to make another run at the seat, and Metro Councilman Jason Holleman is widely assumed to have an interest as well. Neither immediately responded to calls from The City Paper requesting comment.


12 Comments on this post:

By: shinestx on 5/8/13 at 11:52

Good riddance... this guy is a typical Demwit... staying in office until well past his retirement age because of his greed for power. He is bad for the Demwits' image too... as there's no place in the party for an old white guy.

By: govskeptic on 5/8/13 at 5:50

Sorry to see him go. Far from being a typical Demwit, he has serve with distinction
for, yes, many years in fairness and least of all power hungry. He's donated his
salary back to the state for at least the last 30 yrs serving in the Senate. Chaired
the Finance Committee for many years under previous Lt. Gov with a steady,
frugal, but thoughtful mind. Old white guy, yes, but I don't count that as much
a "sin" as some. Not as liberal as many of his constituents would like, but always
honorable in every vote. In fact, he's probably one if not the only true Statesman
serving in the Tenn Senate. Yes, it's time for him to retire, but he will be missed.

By: WmTharonChandler on 5/8/13 at 10:35

His Retirement isn't soon enough to undo terrible damage done by the support structure that has propped him up - just in the time of my own political awareness .

W. Tharon Chandler

By: Loner on 5/9/13 at 6:30

Wow...this Henry character has never had a real job in his entire life, or so it appears...he became a politician in 1955 and has never really worked since then....this incumbent's incumbent has sat on his ass for nearly sixty years....virtually unopposed, except by a recent primary challenge, which he weathered....then they re-gerrymandered the District to keep it even safer.

This relic goes back to the old Dixiecrat days, when the Democratic Party was the party of Jeff Davis and the GOP was the party of Lincoln....Tricky Dick pulled of the Great Switcheroo in 1968....somehow, Henry survived the purge(s).

After nearly six decades in the sleaziness of TN politics, Henry must be guilty of some measure of inexplicable would be difficult to believe that his hands are clean....I mean, how much does a TN politician make? Of course, the answer is, not that, before this guy rides off into the sunset...let's audit his @ss....just to be sure.

By: BenDover on 5/9/13 at 6:41

Hate to see Henry go. Hope that little snot-nosed commie who ran against him in the primary last time doesn't get the seat.

By: govskeptic on 5/9/13 at 6:47

Loner: Thanks for the history lessons and NY satire about the south from a
self-appointed expert. Sen. Henry has probably sat on his ass much less
(although he could have) than you and your co-horts at the upstate Post Office.

By: Left-of-Local on 5/9/13 at 8:49

ABOUT TIME. He should have stepped gracefully out of Yabro's way when he had the chance. One less useless old relic in the way of progress within the party.

By: PKVol on 5/9/13 at 9:58

Loner's "facts" are so off-base, he might as well be on a football field as a baseball diamond.

Henry did not serve nearly 60 years, he served one term in the '50's and then ran again in the early '70's and has served since then.

He is and has been a lawyer while serving, this is why he has donated his salary back to the state, he has a means of income and considered it an honor to serve the people, he did not need the income from being a legislator.

The district he served was mostly conservative, not heavily democratic, he was re-elected with the votes of many republicans because he served with distinction and not politically. The district has just recently been redrawn to be strongly democratic, he isn't liberal enough to satisfy most democrats, but he has been conservative enough to satisfy most republicans.

To accuse Senator Henry of 'enrichment' is slanderous and unfounded. You need to apologize for that accusation unless you have proof.

Senator Henry should be a model for all legislators, both Democrat and Republican, you have to choose to be one or the other, but it is the people you represent that should influence your vote most of all. If we had 33 Senators and 99 Representatives who served as he has, so many good things would get done.

There are very few democrats I like, I am a conservative and appreciate his conservativeness.

By: Kelliente on 5/9/13 at 10:35

Thanks for the rational thoughts, PKVol. Vox clamantis in deserto.

By: readerheretoo on 5/9/13 at 11:08

Thank you Senator Henry for your devotion to public service. Tennesseans have been fortunate for your principled leadership which is exactly why you were re-elected over and again. Our family wishes you and Mrs. Henry all the best.

By: Vuenbelvue on 5/9/13 at 4:24

Time for a republican like Charles Williamson to buy a foreclosure in Henry's District so he can claim residency. If Lamar Alexander gets re-elected in 2014 he would be 76 when sworn in.
Senator Henry always attended dinners at the VFW in his district and I don't think was a stranger to anyone. He said the last time he ran that would be his last. He just wanted to attain a record as the longest serving legislator and did do that.

By: ohplease on 5/9/13 at 5:32

Senator Henry is a person of great integrity and thoughtfulness. He always stands by his principles and seeks input on proposed laws. He should especially be appreciated for his care for taxpayer dollars. He is more conservative than I am, but he has been an unparalleled public servant. I am grateful that someone of his character and intelligence has been so devoted to public service. He loves this city and this state.
He deserves the gratitude of all Tennesseans.