Former state Rep. Jim Coley, a Memphis Republican, dies

October 11, 2021 GMT

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Former Tennessee state Rep. Jim Coley, who represented a Memphis district for 14 years in the General Assembly, has died, a relative said Monday.

Coley died on Sunday, his son, Evan Coley, said in a Facebook post. A cause of death was not disclosed. Coley was 70.

“We have already gotten so much support and appreciate all the love that’s been shared with us,” Evan Coley wrote. “He would have called every single one of you his ‘buddy’ and meant it.”

Coley, a Bartlett Republican, represented District 97 in the House from 2006 until he retired in 2020. Republican John Gillespie won the race for Coley’s former seat last year.

Coley was praised for his work protecting victims of rape and domestic abuse. Tennessee’s rape kit tracking system for sexual assault survivors was created by The Jim Coley Protection for Rape Survivors Act.

The Tennessee Legislature passed a bill sponsored by Coley in 2018 that makes it easier for domestic violence victims to get off cellphone plans of their abusers.

State Rep. Antonio Parkinson, a Memphis Democrat, said Coley never let partisanship drive his decision making.

“Jim Coley was one of the kindest, most compassionate persons I knew in the TN legislature,” Parkinson said on Twitter.