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Tennessee lawmaker introduces bill to add statue of Dolly Parton to state capitol grounds

Tennessee lawmaker introduces bill to add statue of Dolly Parton to state capitol grounds
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A Democrat in the Tennessee legislature introduced a bill on Tuesday to add a statue of country music icon Dolly Parton to the state’s capitol grounds.

State Rep. John Mark Windle's legislation calls for the creation of a fund for the design, construction and installation of the statue, which would be added to the Nashville grounds in recognition of Parton's contributions to her home state. It would be financed by gifts, grants and other donations.

Last year, thousands signed a petition to replace statues of Confederate leaders in Tennessee with the 74-year-old singer-songwriter. 

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“History should not be forgotten, but we need not glamorize those who do not deserve our praise. Instead, let us honor a true Tennessee hero, Dolly Parton,” Alex Parsons, who started the petition, wrote. “Aside from her beautiful music, which has touched the hearts and lives of millions of Americans, Dolly Parton's philanthropic heart has unquestionably changed the world for the better.”

The "9 to 5" singer has particularly been praised in recent months after it was revealed that she helped fund research for Moderna's coronavirus vaccine.

Parton, 74, announced back in April that she was giving $1 million to researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. The Grammy winner’s “Dolly Parton COVID-19 Research Fund" was named as a supporter in the footnotes of a New England Journal of Medicine report.

Parton has received several high-profile awards throughout her career, including a National Medal of Arts in 2005, and was celebrated at the Kennedy Center Honors in 2006.

Former President Obama said last month that it was a “screwup” that he failed to honor Parton with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

"She deserves one. I'll call Biden," Obama said of the president-elect.