Naifeh to retire from Tenn. state legislature - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Naifeh to retire from Tenn. state legislature

(WMC-TV) - After 38 years in the general assembly, Representative Jimmy Naifeh said Thursday he will not run for reelection.

Tennessee's longtime house leader told members that he will retire from state politics at the end of his elected term.

"My service in the legislature, that end comes now," said Naifeh.  "I'm announcing today to you and to the people of my district that I will not be seeking reelection to the House of Representatives this fall."

Shoppers at Naifeh's Food Rite in Munford reacted to the news of his retirement.

"Everybody loves him and thinks the world of him," said Munford resident Roy Sunderland.

"He's done a lot for the community and schools, and that says a lot about him from someone who's lived here all my life," said Munford resident Lisa Ballard.

Ballard praised Naifeh's work as a legislator and described him as a warrior for the Democratic Party.

"He definitely stood up for what the party believes in and all, values no matter what party you're on," said Ballard.  "He's done a tremendous part for the community, states, and has always kept it at home."

Naifeh was first elected to the Tennessee House of Representatives in the fall of 1974 and became Speaker of the House in 1990.

He became the longest serving speaker in Tennessee history, serving 18 years from 1990 to 2008.

Naifeh continued to represent District 81 in Haywood and Tipton Counties after leaving his role as speaker.

"This body and institution is part of me and my family, and I'll always have a special place in my heart for the men and women that I've served with now and over the last five decades," said Naifeh.

"I hope that he gets to go fishing a lot," joked Sunderland.  "And enjoys his post-political life."

Naifeh called on lawmakers to continue to work together and listen to members of the opposite party.

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