Sen. Heidi Campbell: Dolly Parton deserves the Presidential Medal of Freedom

Sen. Campbell’s first resolution will encourage President-elect Joe Biden to honor Parton’s service and cultural contributions

NASHVILLE — Sen. Heidi Campbell is in agreement with former President Barack Obama: Dolly Parton deserves a medal.

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Sen. Heidi Campbell (left) and Dolly Parton (right)

In a recent interview, Obama said it was a “screw up” that his administration had overlooked Parton — Tennessee’s world renowned writer, performer and philanthropist — for the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Established by President John F. Kennedy in 1963, this prestigious award is the Nation’s highest civilian honor. It is awarded by the President of the United States to individuals who have made exceptional contributions to the security or national interests of America, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.

Now, Sen. Campbell’s first resolution as a member of the Tennessee Senate seeks to fix this oversight. Campbell’s senate resolution urging President-elect Biden to honor “beloved Tennessean and cultural icon Dolly Parton with the Presidential Medial of Freedom” will be introduced in January.

“Dolly Parton is a Tennessee treasure for the world’s benefit,” Campbell said. “Everyone knows her legacy as an entertainer, but she is just as important to us for her many contributions to our state and nation.”

Parton’s book-gifting program, Imagination Library, has provided more than 100 million books to children and the performer was key to helping her Great Smoky Mountain neighbors recover from devastating wildfires in 2016.

This year, Parton donated a $1 million to Vanderbilt University Medical Center to support research for a COVID-19 vaccine. Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine, made possible in part through Parton’s gift, will be produced and distributed around the world.

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