Former State Sen. Reginald Tate, 65, has died, multiple outlets report.
WREG quoted Tennessee Black Caucus of State Legislators Rep. Chairman G. A. Hardaway (D-TN-93), who made the announcement Monday.
Tate, of Memphis, often voted with Republicans and represented District 33 from 2006 until 2018, when he was defeated by Katrina Robinson. He was president and CEO of architectural business Accent by Design.
In July 2018, The Tennessee Star reported that the Shelby County Democratic Party Executive Committee had censured Tate, who told the New Tri-State Defender that his punishment was news to him.
“I’m censured? What does that mean? Do you know what that means? Have I lost my right to speak? Do I have to stay in my room? I can’t come out without permission? I’m censured. This is the first I have heard of it, and I don’t know what it could possibly mean,” Tate told the TSD.
The Executive Committee censured Tate during its July 17 meeting, according to a press release the organization sent to the TSD. The action was in response to remarks about other Memphis Democrats he made prior to the start of a committee meeting on May 30. The senator’s remarks were called “vulgar,” “detrimental to the Party” and “unbecoming of a Democrat.”
Tate said he made the remarks in a private conversation with then-State Sen. Bill Ketron, a Republican and that the remarks were recorded, manipulated and placed online.
Before he lost in the 2018 primary, Tate was known as a Democrat who was willing to reach across party lines.
U.S. Rep. Mark Green (R-TN-07), a former state senator, tweeted, “Sen. Reginald Tate served his community and our state with great devotion and passion. Our hearts are broken to hear of his passing. Reggie was not just a colleague—he was a friend to all. It didn’t matter which side of the aisle you were on; we were all here to serve Tennessee.”
Sen. Reginald Tate served his community and our state with great devotion and passion. Our hearts are broken to hear of his passing. Reggie was not just a colleague—he was a friend to all. It didn’t matter which side of the aisle you were on; we were all here to serve Tennessee.
— Mark E. Green MD (@DrMarkGreen4TN) October 21, 2019
Tate was not the only Memphis Democrat to die this past week.
Former Shelby County Democratic State Sen. Rufus Jones also died, on Sunday, the Memphis Flyer reported. Jones served in the state House from 1980 to 1996. He worked with Republican former Gov. Don Sundquist to pass a state income tax.
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Jason M. Reynolds has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist at outlets of all sizes.