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WEAKLEY COUNTY — The Weakley County Democrat Party is hosting its annual Ned Ray Day event on Thursday, October 24 at the McWherter Civic Center, 589 Evergreen Street in Dresden. Governor Ned …
WEAKLEY COUNTY — The Weakley County Democrat Party is hosting its annual Ned Ray Day event on Thursday, October 24 at the McWherter Civic Center, 589 Evergreen Street in Dresden.
Governor Ned Ray McWherter contributed much to his native Weakley County and to the people of Tennessee. He represented his county in the Tennessee State House of Representatives for nine terms, 1969-87, serving as Speaker from 1973-87. He was twice elected Governor of the state, serving from 1987-95. He instituted a policy of open government, and emphasized advances in education, highways, health care, infrastructure, environment, and economic development. He was widely recognized as one of our nation’s leading governors, interacting effectively with presidents of both parties.
Each year the Weakley County Democratic Party holds its Ned Ray Day Dinner to honor its favorite son. This year’s dinner at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 24, Rural Roots, will bring prominent members of the Democratic Party to Dresden to join in celebration along with everyday people from counties across northwest Tennessee.
The keynote speaker is traditionally someone who worked with Governor McWherter and who can relate fascinating accounts of that experience. This year this will be Dr. Charles E. Smith, who was Governor McWherter’s Commissioner of Education, and who also served as Chancellor of the University of Martin. He additionally provided leadership in several senior positions of the University of Tennessee, and as an editor on commercial newspapers. Dr. Smith is the author of the highly regarded book, Journal of a Fast Track Life, which provides examples of life lessons learned from a wide range of people. He also is well-known as a captivating speaker and a valued friend of Weakley County.
Another featured speaker is James Mackler, a 2020 Democratic candidate for the U. S. Senate seat currently held by Lamar Alexander. Born in Tennessee, Mackler dropped his Nashville law practice following the September 11 attacks and enlisted in the U. S. Army. Serving in the 101st Airborne Division, Mackler was deployed to Iraq in 2005 and 2006, flying Black Hawk helicopters. He pledges to use the values that he learned while serving our country to represent, protect, and work for the benefit of Tennesseans, and to be dedicated to the best of our American ideals in both word and deed..
A third speaker is Gloria Johnson, a retired Knox County school teacher with 27 years of experience in educating special needs students. She is currently the Democratic representative for District 13 in the Tennessee House of Representatives. Her substantial advocacy work with health care and education energized her to run for her office to give a needed voice for students, teachers, and working families in Tennessee.
Prior to the dinner, at 4:30 p.m. there is a free reception at the Ned Ray McWherter Library and Museum at 341 Linden Street in Dresden. This event provides an excellent opportunity for all area residents and those coming from other counties to see this outstanding museum exhibiting the life of our late Governor, and to meet and visit with dignitaries and everyday citizens of northwest Tennessee.
The dinner starts at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 24 at the McWherter Civic Center, 589 Evergreen Street in Dresden. Basic tickets for the dinner are $25 and those may be obtained by contacting County Chair Deane Arganbright (731-588-0681) or any member of the county party. Various options are also available online: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/6th-annual-ned-ray-day-rural-roots-registration-72894554575