Former Tennessee governor objects to building honoring him

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A former Tennessee governor told a newspaper that he doesn’t feel qualified for the honor of having the state’s legislative office building renamed for him.

Republican former Gov. Winfield Dunn said he has reservations about state Rep. Ron Gant’s efforts to rename Nashville’s Cordell Hull Office Building in his honor, The Daily Memphian reported Monday. The 92-year-old politician emphasized he still “deeply” appreciates Gant’s consideration, he told the newspaper.

Gant, a Fayette County Republican, hasn’t filed any formal legislation to change the name, but he said last week that support was growing in the Legislature for his initial proposal.

“Former Gov. Dunn is a humble man and was a dedicated servant for our state,” Gant said in a statement following Dunn’s comments. “It is not surprising he is hesitant of this honor being bestowed upon him.”

Gant added that he wouldn’t pursue the measure if it’s not wanted, though he said many legislators supported his idea.

The building is currently named for Cordell Hull, an East Tennesse Democratic congressman who served as a state House member, Secretary of State under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and a Nobel Peace Prize winner for his role in establishing the United Nations. While explaining his hesitations on having the building named after him, Dunn called Hull an “unblemished representative of what Tennessee is.”

The Nashville building houses the Legislature’s offices and was renovated and reopened two years ago.

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