charles sargent

Former House Finance Chairman Charles Sargent dies

Rep. Charles Sargent (R-Franklin), left, confers with Rep. Bob Ramsey (R-Maryville) on the House floor in Nashville on April 23, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Charles Sargent, the former chairman of the House Finance Committee has died, The Tennessean reports. He was 73.

Sargent was first elected to the General Assembly in 1996. He decided not to run again this year.

The New York native moved to Nashville in 1970 and later settled in Williamson County. He was named finance chairman by then-Speaker Kent Williams (I-Elizabethton) in 2009 and was retained in that role by House Speaker Beth Harwell (R-Nashville) when she took over two years later.

At the time of his retirement, Sargent was one of the few remaining House members who had voted against the state income tax championed by then-Gov. Don Sundquist, a fellow Republican. The others were Harwell, Glen Casada (R-Franklin), Bill Dunn (R-Knoxville), and John Mark Windle (D-Livingston).

Sargent, an insurance agent, was a strong advocate for the business community during his time in office, incurring the wrath of the the likes of the Tennessee Firearms Association in the process (but retaining strong ratings from the National Rifle Association).

Sargent narrowly turned back a strong challenge from Sonic drive-in franchisee Steve Gawrys in 2014, winning the Republican primary by just 255 votes. But Sargent came back strong  in a 2016 rematch, trouncing Gawrys by a 2-to-1 margin.

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