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A statue of country music legend Dolly Parton could seen be on the Capitol grounds in Nashville, Tenn. — that is, if Democratic Rep. John Mark Windle has anything to say about it.
On Tuesday, Windle introduced a bill calling for, “the commissioning of a statue of Dolly Parton, to recognize her for all that she has contributed to this state.” According to the bill, the statue would “be located on the capitol grounds facing in the direction of the Ryman Auditorium,” where the 74-year-old “Jolene” singer and songwriter has performed throughout her career.
“It's just sacred ground to me,” Parton, 74, said of the venue in 2017. “It's like going home. It feels like your family; it feels like your mama and your daddy and your whole family's just surrounding you. I just have a feeling in here that I don't get anywhere else.”
Parton, who is a Tennessee native, has a robust history of philanthropy and devotion to the state, where she built her theme park Dollywood in Pigeon Forge. The nine-time Grammy winner founded the Imagination Library which for 30 years has encouraged childhood literary around the world by sending books to children under the age of 5. And last year, Parton donated $1 million to Vanderbilt University to help fund research for the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. When news of her donation broke, Parton said on the Today show, “I'm just happy that anything I do can help somebody else.”
In August, a local Nashville artist painted a mural of Parton outside The 5 Spot music venue, quoting a recent interview with the singer. “Of course Black lives matter,” Parton told Billboard that month. “Do we think our little white asses are the only ones that matter?”
It’s not the first time a statue of Parton has been considered. Last year, an online petition, now with more than 25,000 signatures, demanded that one of Parton replace Confederate sculptures in Tennessee. And in 2019, a legislator suggested replacing a statue of Ku Klux Klan leader Nathan Bedford Forrest with Parton.
The bill introduced last week states that a statue of Parton would not be paid for by taxpayer dollars but rather “gifts, grants and other donations.”
"At this point in history, is there a better example, not just in America but in the world, of a leader that is kind, decent, passionate human being?" Windle said on Wednesday, per the The Tennessean. “(She's) a passionate person who loves everyone, and everyone loves her."
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