Senator Lamar Alexander says he will not run for re-election in 2020
In a statement released Monday afternoon, U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander announced that he will not be running for re-election to the United States Senate in 2020.
As a Tennessee native, 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.
In October 2019, the senator will have served more combined years (24 years, 9 months) as Governor (a position in which he held twice) and U.S. Senator than any other Tennessean.
Alexander is the current chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
In October, he authored opioids legislation signed into law in, a law that President Trump called “the single largest bill to combat a drug crisis in the history of our country.”
Prior to that, the senator wrote the "21st Century Cures Act," which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) called "the most important law of this Congress."
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.
Another notable piece of legislation that Senator Alexander contributed was the “Every Student Succeeds Act,” fixing “No Child Left Behind.” Former President Obama called the law "a Christmas miracle."
Alexander 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.
Fellow Tennessean and U.S. Sen. Bob Corker weighed in on the news Monday, saying:
“One of the highlights of my time in the Senate has been working with Lamar Alexander,” said Corker. “I often tell him he is the legislator of the decade because of the effective way he has worked across the aisle to pass legislation that directly affects the lives of so many throughout our state and around the country. As one of the finest statesmen our state has ever seen, Lamar will leave behind a remarkable legacy. I know he will press through the next two years with great vigor, and I look forward to all he will accomplish on behalf of Tennesseans as he completes his service in Washington. I thank Lamar for his friendship and am excited for Honey and him as they begin to think about their next chapter together.”
Gov. Bill Haslam made a statement following 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.”
"We will need him," wrote Lt. Gov. Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge) in a Twitter post in response to Alexander's decision to not seek re-election.
"I am thankful for Lamar's friendship," said Governer-Elected Bill Lee regarding the senator's announcement.