Tennessee politicians reflect on death of Sen. Howard Baker - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Tennessee politicians reflect on death of Sen. Howard Baker

Former U.S. Sen. Howard Baker (R-TN) died in his home. (Source: The Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy/MGN). Former U.S. Sen. Howard Baker (R-TN) died in his home. (Source: The Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy/MGN).

Political figures right here in Tennessee and across the country are remembering Howard Baker.

The former senator, one of the most influential Tennessean's in political history, died at age 88 on Thursday.

Although he has been away from Capitol Hill for 26 years, his political legacy will live on for a long time.

He rose to fame during the Senate's investigation into the Watergate break-in and cover-up but by then he was already well-known and respected in Tennessee. He was the first Tennessee Republican to be elected to the Senate since Reconstruction.

Statement from Gov. Bill Haslam:

"Tennessee has lost a hero and a distinguished statesman, and I have lost a friend and mentor.

"Howard Baker made Tennesseans proud, and he taught me an important lesson when I worked for him 35 years ago. Anytime he was sitting across the desk from someone in disagreement, he told himself to keep in mind: You know – the other fellow might be right. Whether at home, in business or in politics, that is always good advice to consider.

"Nancy, Cissy, Derek and his entire family are in Crissy's and my thoughts and prayers."

Statement from U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander:

"Howard Baker was Tennessee's favorite son, one of America's finest leaders and for Honey and me an indispensable friend. He built our state's two-party political system and inspired three generations to try to build a better state and country. It is difficult to express how much we honor his life and how much we will miss him."

Statement from Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey:

"Elected as the first Republican U.S. Senator since Reconstruction, Howard Baker served as a catalyst for the Republican revolution in Tennessee. No matter how high he rose as a leader of our nation and our party, he always stayed true to his strong roots in Scott County, Tennessee. A veteran, a patriot and a true statesman, his legacy will not be forgotten."

Statement from U.S. Sen. Bob Corker:

"When I think of the ultimate statesman, the very first person who comes to my mind is Howard Baker.

"Howard Baker was one of those people who had the unique ability to bring out the very best in those around him. He always put our country's interests first, and lived a life of service that everyone in public office should aspire to emulate. I have cherished the privilege of being able to sit down and talk with Howard on many occasions, and I will always value his words of encouragement.

"Elizabeth and I extend our thoughts and prayers to his wife, Nancy, the Baker family and all those who have been touched by Howard's remarkable life."

Statement from U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn:

"Senator Baker was an institution, a legend, and a true Tennessee statesman. He will be remembered with great affection and deep appreciation for his service to the people of Tennessee and our nation during his years in the United States Senate, the Reagan White House and as Ambassador to Japan. Throughout his career Senator Baker worked tirelessly to ensure that the United States would forever remain a Shining City upon a Hill. His memory and hard work will forever guide freedom-loving people everywhere. My thoughts and prayers are with Howard's family today."

Statement from Tennessee House Speaker Beth Harwell:

"Howard Baker was a political giant in Tennessee, in the Republican Party, and in the United States. While home from college one summer, I watched the Watergate hearings with my grandmother. His example of service inspired me, and I told my grandmother I would meet him one day. I eventually did, and was fortunate to know him well through the years as a tireless supporter of Tennessee and the Tennessee Republican Party. Both sides of the aisle had immense respect for him, and his many contributions to this state and nation made Tennesseans proud. His legacy will be one of service, humility, and honor. We've lost a great one today, and my thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time."

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