One more top state lawmaker is leaving the Tennessee General Assembly.
Some may not know his name, but you know things he did, which includes the landmark bill allowing wine sales in grocery stores that Senator Bill Ketron championed for a decade before it became law in 2016.
Ketron spent 16 years as a lawmaker representing Rutherford County.
A good chunk of it was being chair of the Senate Republican Caucus which helps get party members elected and re-elected.
During an interview Tuesday at his now bare-walled legislative office, Sen. Ketron chuckled about the question he has gotten in the months since announcing for and recently winning the Rutherford County mayor position.
“The first answer I give to the same to the question that a lot of people ask is I am tired of driving back and forth to Nashville. The traffic” said Ketron. “That’s an honest answer.”
Ketron’s easygoing candor served him well as the Senate’s Republican majority caucus chair.
So much so that a fellow senator knew he could crash Ketron’s interview.
“He’s communicated well across chambers, across aisles and I am not just blowing smoke for your swansong,” said Bristol Senator Jon Lundberg who briefly joined the interview. “He has done a lot for the institution.”
Ketron needed that bipartisan touch to bring the house and senate together in his long push to allow wine to be sold in grocery stores on Sundays, but his style helped other legislation as well.
“I did more listening than I did talking,” said Sen. Ketron. “Whether it be wine in grocery stores, stroke prevention or coordinated school health. You pick up the legislation and try to carry and make the state better.”
The senator also turned 180-degrees on medical cannabis which came after surviving cancer.
While mentioning that he was three years as a cancer survivor, the senator said for the first time publicly that he would vote in favor of medical cannabis.
Ketron though, won’t be part of that vote. He becomes Rutherford County mayor on Saturday.
It means he’ll still be working on those transportation issues as the leader in one of Tennessee’s fastest-growing counties, instead of up on capitol hill.