Sen. Lamar Alexander pays tribute to newspaper cartoonist on retirement

Published 8:30 am Wednesday, February 6, 2019

United States Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) recently spoke on the Senate floor about the retirement of longtime Knoxville cartoonist, Charlie Daniel.
“In late December, I announced that I would not be a candidate for re-election to the United States Senate in 2020, and that prompted this cartoon in the Knoxville News Sentinel by Charlie Daniel — ‘Says his name is Alexander, says he’s going to walk across the state. Wonder how far he’ll go?’ And here is some character wondering across the state in a red and black shirt, which is what I did 40 years ago when I walked across the state as governor. Well, I’d like to return the favor to Charlie Daniel because he announced, last week, that he is retiring in February after 60 years as an editorial cartoonist, which is a much more significant event than anything that I might do because Charlie Daniel has been a fixture in Tennessee for a long time.
Charlie’s cartoons have been the first thing I looked for in the Knoxville papers since 1958 when I graduated from Maryville High School. Over the years, Charlie has skewered me in his cartoons as much as anybody, but it has always been an honest, but usually gentle skewering. For example, as I was working on legislation that became law this past year to ban cell phones on planes, Charlie drew a cartoon characterizing cell phone yappers on long flights as the ‘perfect hell,’ with the devil asking why he didn’t think of that.
Charlie’s drawings are well-known in Tennessee and across the country, and his contributions have been recognized for decades. Former governor and mayor, Bill Haslam, has said, ‘As long as I can remember, Charlie has been making us laugh and think.’ Former Senate majority leader, Howard Baker Jr., said Charlie was ‘the personification of civilized relevant humor.’ And former Knoxville mayor and ambassador to Poland, Victor Ashe, has said, ‘Charlie Daniel has been an icon and institution across the country.’
East Tennesseans are fortunate Charlie and his family have called this area home. For over six decades, Charlie’s drawings have been the best thing read in the paper, and it’s going to be harder to start each day in good humor without a touch of Charlie Daniel.
Congratulations to Charlie on his retirement. I wish him, his wife, Patsy, and their family the best.”
Daniel is a self-taught artist who says he has been drawing ever since he “picked up a pencil.” Daniel did a stint in the Marine Corps, graduated from the University of North Carolina, where he drew for the school newspaper, and moved to Knoxville to draw for the Knoxville Journal in 1958. Once the Journal closed in 1992, Daniel moved to the Knoxville News Sentinel, where he has been ever since.

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