General aviation will continue to have a powerful voice in the Tennessee Senate as longtime AOPA member John S. Wilder was reelected as the speaker of the Senate and Lieutenant Governor last week for his seventeenth two-year consecutive term. Wilder, a Democrat, held on to the position despite a Republican majority.
During his tenure, Wilder has defended measures in the state to use aviation fuel sales taxes for the development, construction, and maintenance of the state's airports.
In talking about his future election plans, the 83-year-old Wilder told The Tennessean newspaper, "I've got four more years in the Senate. And I'm not saying I'm not going to run four years from now. If I'm still riding that bicycle 15 miles a day four years from now and if I'm flying Jaybird (the private plane he pilots) and if I feel as good as I do today, I don't know anything I can do that's more beneficial than me being in the Legislature."
AOPA Southeast Regional Representative Bob Minter inducted Wilder into Tennessee's Aviation Hall of Fame in 2004. "Lieutenant Governor John S. Wilder was selected for his many years of staunch advocacy for governmental support of airports and aviation programs that is unparalleled in Tennessee's aviation history."
January 20, 2005