“At this point in history, is there a better example—not just in America but in the world—of a leader that is a kind, decent, passionate human being?”

By Meghan Overdeep
January 14, 2021
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One state lawmaker is pushing for a statue of country music icon Dolly Parton to be erected on the Capitol grounds in Nashville, Tennessee.

Rep. John Mark Windle introduced a bill Tuesday that aims to honor the 74-year-old "for all that she has contributed to this state."

Born and raised in the Smoky Mountains, Parton's philanthropic efforts range from childhood literacy (her Imagination Library gifts more than 1.5 million children's books each month) to environmental conservation. Over the summer, her eponymous theme park Dollywood was ranked "One of the Best in the World" by TripAdvisor. Prior to the pandemic, the park brought an average of 2.5 million people to Pigeon Forge each year.

Dolly Parton
Credit: David Redfern/Getty Images

Her list of self-less contributions goes on and on. When her beloved hometown was ravaged by wildfires in 2016, Parton pledged $1,000 a month to families who lost their homes. And just last year, the national treasure's $1 million to Vanderbilt University Medical Center partially funded Moderna's lifesaving COVID-19 vaccine.

"At this point in history, is there a better example—not just in America but in the world—of a leader that is a kind, decent, passionate human being?" Windle told the Associated Press Wednesday. "(She's) a passionate person who loves everyone, and everyone loves her."

According to Windle's bill, the proposed Parton sculpture will face the historic Ryman Auditorium, where she has played throughout her six-decade career. The state capitol commission would solicit input to develop a plan for the statue, including its design. Instead of taxpayer dollars, the sculpture would be paid for by a fund comprised of private gifts, grants, and donations.

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