Sen. Ray Albright, a 26-year veteran in the Tennessee state legislature, recently passed away at the age of 83 after a battle with mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer that typically affects the thin lining of tissue surrounding the lungs and abdomen. Sen. Albright first won election to the Tennessee House of Representatives in 1968, running on a strong environmental platform dedicated to cleaning up air pollution in Chattanooga, known at the time as having the worst air pollution in the state.
Sen. Albright won election to the state Senate in 1970 and became well known for co-sponsoring a bill to put a community college in Chattanooga. Albright grew up in a modest household and valued education as a means for people to advance their careers and improve their lives. Colleagues remembered him as an effective legislator who was well liked. After leaving politics in 1994, Sen. Albright went to work for health care provider Blue Cross in its relations department.
Sen. Albright announced his mesothelioma cancer diagnosis in November of 2016. He disclosed that he likely contracted the disease sometime in the 1950s or 1960s after being exposed to asbestos while working at an engineering plant for Combustion Engineering. The engineering firm owned and operated a boiler manufacturer in Chattanooga as well as many other facilities engaged in many activities associated with asbestos exposure.