Governor Ned McWherter/Riverside Landing Park History
Ned Ray McWherter (born October 15, 1930) served as the 46th Governor of Tennessee from 1987 to 1995. McWherter was born in Palmersville, Tennessee, which is located in the northwest corner of the state.
McWherter began his political career in 1968 when he won a seat in the Tennessee House of Representatives from Weakley County. He was elected Speaker of the House after serving only two terms in the General Assembly. He held this position for 14 years, longer than any other in Tennessee history at that time. During his time in the legislature, McWherter served in the following areas: State Building Commission Joint Fiscal Review Committee, the Council on Pensions and Retirement, the Tennessee Agricultural and Industrial Development Commission and the State Agri-Industries Board. He was also the chairman of the House Calendar and Rules Committee, the House Finance, Ways, and Means Committee and the House General Welfare Committee.
McWherter insisted that all formal governmental proceedings be open to the public and press, thus truly implementing the "sunshine law" he had helped to author and sponsor while a member of the House. As Speaker, he appointed the first black committee chairmen in Southern history and assisted women into influential leadership roles in the legislature. McWherter replaced the Medicaid program with the TennCare system, an act that gained national attention. His "21st Century Schools" education reform program helped to launch similar programs in other states. McWherter served in many capacities including the Board of Governors, Council of State Governments, the Executive Committees of the Southern Conference, the Weakley County Head Start Program and the Executive Committee of the Northwest Tennessee Economic Development District.
He was overwhelmingly re-elected to a second term in 1990, carrying approximately two-thirds of the vote. In 1995, McWherter was appointed to the Board of Governors of the United States Postal Service by President Bill Clinton. McWherter still lives in Tennessee, where he remains active in the Tennessee Democratic Party. He owns several nursing homes and a beer distributorship.
McWherter was married to the late Bette Jean Beck McWherter and is the father of two children. His son Michael Ray McWherter is a businessman in Dresden, Tennessee, and his daughter Linda Ramsey is a doctor of physical education at the University of Tennessee at Martin.