‘Thelma Harper loved the Tennessee Senate and the Tennessee Senate loved her right back’

Senator Thelma Harper

NASHVILLE — The Senate Democratic Caucus issued a joint statement marking the death of state Senator Thelma Harper who served the 19th District in the Tennessee Senate from 1989 to 2018.

“As the first African-American woman elected to the state Senate and the longest-serving female senator in Tennessee history, Sen. Harper was a trailblazer who accomplished as much in her decades of public service as any Tennessee legend who came before her. But she never let awards and accolades come before the work of the people. Whether she was fighting landfills for her neighbors, serving a community organization or leading a hearing in the legislature, Thelma Harper was a strong voice for her community, for justice and our most vulnerable children. While this is a sad day for Tennessee, our state is a better place for her legacy of leadership. Thelma Harper loved the Tennessee Senate and the Tennessee Senate loved her right back.”

Thelma M. Harper served in the Tennessee Senate from the 96th-110th General Assemblies.

Sen. Harper was born Dec. 2, 1940.

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Fighting for everyday people in the Tennessee General Assembly

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Tennessee Senate Democrats

Tennessee Senate Democrats

Fighting for everyday people in the Tennessee General Assembly

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