Northeast Tennessee lawmakers have long made their marks in the state capitol at Nashville, among them Jimmy Quillen who went on to 17 terms in the U.S. House, former state Senate speaker and Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, Sen. Rusty Crowe with 30 years in state government, and Carl Moore, who recently left us after a hugely successful 91 years.
Moore, one of the founders of Bristol Motor Speedway and Dragway, served in the Tennessee House and was majority leader of the state Senate. He served on the East Tennessee State University Board of Advisors and as a member of the state Board of Regents, Bristol Chamber, and the formation committee for the Tennessee Performing Arts Center in Nashville.
Along with Larry Carrier and R.G. Pope, Moore attended a NASCAR race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in 1961. They were inspired to build Bristol Motor Speedway, which was located on the land of a former dairy farm, and four years later, the state-of-the-art Bristol Dragway was carved between two mountains. He and Carrier formed the International Hot Rod Association in 1970.
But Moore was mostly noted for his decades of service as a strong advocate for Bristol, helping to get its designation as the “Birthplace of Country Music” and instrumental in the revitalization of downtown and the Bristol train station, as well as the restoration of the Paramount Theatre.
He was highly respected in Nashville and was the man the region turned to, to get things done, always a champion of Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee.
As a legislator he was a constant advocate for the region and played a key role in the region’s growth and success, focused on bringing jobs and roads to Northeast Tennessee and making sure Nashville knew that the state “didn’t end at Knoxville.”
As his obituary noted, “Although he was a proud Democrat, he worked across the aisle all his life to get things done, developing many of his strongest bonds in politics with his Republican friends.
“During his decades of service, he championed public education through legislation and his service on the Tennessee Board of Regents. He fought for mental health resources for all, and recognized the arts and tourism as not only adding quality to life, but as economic development tools for communities. He was instrumental in the creation of the Tennessee Performing Arts Center in Nashville, and was honored to serve on its inaugural board.
“As a member of ROTC and the U.S. Army, he took great pride in his most recent service as a member of the Tennessee Veterans Home Board. Every candidate for statewide office knew their campaign was not complete without a stop at the Moore family lake house on Boone Lake for a meet-and-greet or a fundraiser. He loved his family, his farm and his animals, being on or near any body of water. He was a dedicated Lions Club member for more than six decades, loved his Alabama football, the Lunch Bunch, The Has Beens, Pal’s milkshakes, and a cold beer.”
Carl Moore’s life was well-lived, and he gave back more than most, leaving a legacy not to be soon forgotten.