Dolly Parton’s Charisma Transcends Party Lines And Makes Gov. Lee Blush | Nashville Public Radio

Dolly Parton’s Charisma Transcends Party Lines And Makes Gov. Lee Blush

Aug 7, 2019

Thousands of state lawmakers from all across the country are in Nashville this week, as part of the National Conference of State Legislatures' summer summit.

Many of the attendees are rising political stars in their own states. But, they have been upstaged by someone else — Dolly Parton.

The living legend delivered a keynote address to the more than 6,000 lawmakers from all across the U.S. who are attending the conference at the Music City Center.

She talked about Imagination Library, Parton's program that gives free books to kids from birth to age 5.

She also held a Q&A segment with Gov. Bill Lee. As expected, she stole the show making Lee blush over and over again with her one-liners. 

"When I travel around the country people say, 'Oh, you are from a family of 12. You must be Catholic,'" Parton told Lee. "I say, 'No. We are just horny hillbillies.'" 

Parton has never engaged in politics. But it seemed like she felt the need to clarify her "political" views to the state legislators present.

"I’m neither a Republican or a Democrat," Parton said to a laughing audience. "I’m a hypo-crat.”

There's something about Parton — her music, her jokes, her honesty — that transcends generations. Almost everyone likes her, including Lee.

"This is not a new-fangled relationship," Lee said. "I've told her that, when I was 17 years old, I bought 'My Tennessee Mountain Home' record, and I can remember sitting there, staring at her and listening to the music at the same time. And that was 40 years ago or so."