Tennessee Lawmaker Proposes Dolly Parton Statue at State Capitol

Dolly Parton grew up in Sevierville, Tennessee before moving to Nashville to become one of the biggest names in country music history, selling numerous awards and earning almost every accolade the industry could offer. In addition to her music career, Parton has also acted, started her own theme park and been involved in numerous philanthropic causes, and one Tennessee lawmaker wants to honor the singer for her contributions with a statue.

Rep. John Windle filed a bill on Wednesday, Jan. 13 that would require the State Capitol Commission to develop and execute a plan to erect a Dolly Parton statue facing Nashville's historic Ryman Auditorium. The Tennessean reports that the bill would create a "Dolly Parton fund" to pay for the design, construction, establishment and maintenance of the statue.

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"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 said on Wednesday. "[She's] a passionate person who loves everyone, and everyone loves her."

Parton had a notable year in 2020, releasing a holiday album and a Christmas movie on Netflix and donating $1 million towards coronavirus research at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, which helped fund Moderna's vaccine.

"I'm just happy that anything I do can help somebody else, and when I donated the money to the Covid fund, I just wanted it to do good," Parton told Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager on the Today show of her contribution. "Evidently, it is. Let's just hope we find a cure real soon."

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Should a statue of Parton ultimately be erected, that would add another accomplishment to the 74-year-old's incredible list, though there's one accolade she hasn't yet received. In late 2020, former President Barack Obama shared on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert that he made a "mistake" in not awarding Parton the Presidential Medal of Freedom during his time in office, calling the omission a "screw up."

In a segment called "Questions, We're Pretty Sure Barack Obama Has Never Been Asked Before," host Stephen Colbert asked Obama why Parton doesn't have a Presidential Medal of Freedom. "That's a mistake, I'm shocked," Obama replied. "That was a screw-up. I'm surprised." The former POTUS explained that he had "assumed that she had already got one, and that was incorrect." "She deserves one," he said, adding that he'll call his former Vice President and now President-elect Joe Biden.