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Tennessee wants a Dolly Parton statue. Here’s why the singer is saying no

Country legend Dolly Parton has asked the state of Tennessee to abandon a bill that would place a statue of her on Capitol grounds

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Dolly Parton at the premiere of “Joyful Noise” in Los Angeles, 2012.

Dolly Parton at the premiere of “Joyful Noise” in Los Angeles in 2012. The singer has called on Tennessee lawmakers to abandon a plan that would place a statue of her on Capitol grounds.

Matt Sayles, Associated Press

Country legend Dolly Parton has asked the state of Tennessee to abandon a bill that would place a statue of her on Capitol grounds.

“I am honored and humbled by their intention but I have asked the leaders of the state legislature to remove the bill from any and all consideration,” Parton said in a statement on Thursday, adding that the timing was not “appropriate.”

Tennessee Rep. John Mark Windle introduced the bill last month, calling for a statue to honor Parton’s contributions to her home state, The Hill reported.

Last year, the singer, who recently turned 75, donated $1 million to COVID-19 vaccine research and launched a virtual series where she read bedtime stories to children, the Deseret News reported. Since establishing Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in 1995, the singer has donated more than 100 million children’s books, according to “Today.”

A petition to replace Confederate statues in Tennessee with one of Parton gained momentum last year, drawing attention from notable figures like actor Henry Winkler and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, the Deseret News reported. And just a few days ago, The New York Times ran an opinion piece titled “Give Dolly Parton a Statue Already.”

But Parton says now is not the time.

“Given all that is going on in the world, I don’t think putting me on a pedestal is appropriate at this time,” she said. “I hope, though, that somewhere down the road several years from now or perhaps after I’m gone if you still feel I deserve it, then I’m certain I will stand proud in our great State Capitol as a grateful Tennessean.

“In the meantime, I’ll continue to try to do good work to make this great state proud.”

This isn’t the first time Parton has rejected a major honor.

Earlier this month, the “Jolene” singer revealed she turned down the Presidential Medal of Freedom twice during the Trump administration because of personal reasons, The Hill reported.

“I couldn’t accept it because my husband was ill and then they asked me again about it and I wouldn’t travel because of the COVID,” Parton told NBC’s “Today,” adding that she has since heard from President Joe Biden about receiving the award.

“Now I feel like if I take it, I’ll be doing politics, so I’m not sure,” she told “Today.” “But I don’t work for those awards. It’d be nice but I’m not sure that I even deserve it. But it’s a nice compliment for people to think that I might deserve it.”

Parton’s statement on Thursday seemed to rally even more admiration and support from her fans.

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