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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., speaks after meeting with Senate Republicans, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020, on Capitol Hill in Washington.

(The Center Square) – Former Kentucky state legislator and chairman of the Kentucky Democratic Party Terry McBrayer will be remembered Thursday with a live-streamed funeral service .

McBrayer died Sunday following a long bout with cancer.

McBrayer, also a highly regarded lobbyist, drew high praise one of the state’s most powerful Republicans, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

“For over 50 years, Terry McBrayer was a force of nature in Kentucky politics,” McConnell said in a statement. “When Terry set his mind on a goal, he refused to be outworked. That’s how a lawyer from Greenup built a national reputation and a lasting legacy. We may have come from different sides of politics, but we shared a deep love of our Commonwealth and a determination to help it succeed.”

McConnell noted that McBrayer especially helped transform and improve Morehead State University, his alma mater and the regional university in the far eastern part of the state. 

McBrayer served 10 years in the statehouse from 1966 to 1976 and served for a time as the majority floor leader. He ran for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in 1979 but finished third in a crowded nine-candidate primary behind eventual winner John Y. Brown Jr.  

His political work continued though beyond that. In 1992 and 1996, he oversaw Bill Clinton’s presidential campaigns in Kentucky. Those races mark the last times the state voted for a Democrat in a presidential election. 

He became the KDP chairman in 1995 and served on the Democratic National Committee. 

Current KDP Chair Ben Self called McBrayer a pillar of the community and a leader for the commonwealth. 

“We need more people who live their life like Terry McBrayer did,” Self said in a statement. 

McBrayer founded the law firm that bears his name in 1963 in his hometown, which sits on the Ohio River about 10 miles northwest of Ashland in northeastern Kentucky. That firm now has more than 50 lawyers serving across the state and in Washington as well as an affiliated lobbying firm based in Frankfort. 

“A true fighter to the very end, Terry McBrayer was a statesman, a lawyer, a lobbyist, a mentor, a Kentucky icon, a proud brother, father and grandfather, and a dear friend to all who have known him,” the law firm said in a statement posted on its website. “His is a loss from which we are not soon to recover.”