Former Tennessee state senator dies after jet ski incident

 July 10, 2023

Roy Herron, a former state senator from Tennessee, passed only a few days after suffering significant injuries in a collision with a jet ski.

Herron was in his 69th year of life. Officials have said that the collision had happened on July 1 on Kentucky Lake, specifically in Panther Bay, as The Washington Examiner reported.

According to the first accounts, two jet skis crashed, and Herron, who was a passenger on one of the jet skis, and the driver of the other jet ski both sustained significant injuries.

Herron was brought to the Henry County Medical Center following the incident. From there, he was transported by helicopter to the Vanderbilt University Medical Center for further medical care.

Statements from Those Close to the Deceased

After a brief stay in palliative care, it was stated that Herron passed away peacefully while accompanied by his family.

Shortly after the news of his passing, statements from his former colleagues began pouring in, including the following one from Justice Sharon Lee of the Tennessee Supreme Court:

"Roy Herron was a good friend to many of us. He had a heart for service and accomplished much in his life. The last time we talked he was looking forward to spending time with his family and friends at the lake. He will be missed."

The Lawmaker's Political History

Herron, who hails from Dresden, served in both the state House and Senate between the years 1986 and 2012, after which he took up the chairmanship of the Tennessee Democratic Party at the statewide level.

In 1986, Herron was elected as a state representative to the Tennessee General Assembly, succeeding Ned Ray McWherter, who was elected governor the same year.

During a time when Democrats held substantial majorities in both the House and Senate, he was elected to the Senate in 1996 and rose to become chairman of the Senate Democratic Caucus.

In 2010, he was the Democratic nominee for the 8th Congressional District but lost to Stephen Fincher, a farmer from Crockett County. Herron was elected chairman of the Tennessee Democratic Party by the party's executive committee in 2013, serving a two-year term. He has written four volumes and many articles.

Friends and colleagues regarded Herron as having a strong moral conscience, a ferocious work ethic, unmatched debating skills, and devotion to his Methodist faith and family. His brand of Democratic politics centered on bettering the lives of Tennesseans, specifically through shoe leather labor for working men in his district.

Even before he held electoral office, he worked assiduously to ensure the election of Democrats, including former Vice President Al Gore in his 1984 successful campaign for the U.S. Senate.

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