Alexander, Blackburn: Legislation to Protect and Preserve Polk Home as a National Treasure Heads to President

Posted on February 26, 2019

WASHINGTON, February 26, 2019 – United States Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) today said a bill that would take the next step to protect and preserve President James K. Polk’s home in Columbia, Tennessee, now heads to the president’s desk. 

“Tennessee is full of history, and Tennessee’s President James K. Polk’s home is a special prize for Tennesseans as well as Americans,” Alexander said. “We talk a lot about the importance of science and math, but, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, most high school seniors in America score the worst in history. I can think of no better way to encourage the study of U.S. history than to protect and preserve sites like Tennessee’s President James K. Polk’s home – and I look forward to the president signing legislation that will do just that. It also provides an opportunity to attract more visitors to Tennessee and strengthen local economies.”

“Tennessee has a legacy of raising leaders, and President James K. Polk is one that plays a chief role in our state’s history,” Blackburn said. “Designating our former president’s home as a unit of the National Park System would preserve his legacy for generations to come, so that all Tennesseans can study his presidency while enjoying the place that meant so much to him.”

Alexander and Blackburn introduced the James K. Polk Presidential Home Study Act on January 16. The legislation, which was included in the Natural Resources Management Act, passed the Senate on February 12 by a vote of 92-8. The House of Representatives passed the legislation today by a vote of 363 to 62, and the bill now heads to the president’s desk to become law. Alexander is a cosponsor of the Natural Resources Management Act.  

The legislation directs the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a special resource study to evaluate the suitability and feasibility of designating the site as a unit of the National Park System. Once the study is completed, the conclusions and recommendations will be submitted to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources and the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, of which Alexander is a member. If the study recommends the Polk Home should be included in the National Park System, Congress would then need to pass legislation designating the Polk Home as a new unit of the National Park System.

Alexander and Blackburn also introduced the James K. Polk Presidential Home Study Act last Congress.

###