Alabama lawmaker dies after apparent heart attack

Rep. Jim Patterson (R-Meridianville) pictured in center with Rep. Donnie Chesteen (R-Geneva), left, and Rep. Paul Lee (R)-Dothan in this undated photo.
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Montgomery (WTVY)-- Rep. Jim Patterson (R-Meridianville) died Monday from an apparent heart attack.

He was first elected to the Alabama House in 2010. Patterson represented Madison County.

Prior to his election, he served on the Madison County School Board from 1988 until 2000 and as president of the board three times, per his legislative biography.

Patterson sponsored a bill that was approved earlier this year mandating insurance companies cover therapy costs for those with Autism.

“Representative Patterson had a huge heart and exemplified the role of a citizen-legislator. Jim was a voice for the children and the needy in our society, and that voice will be sorely missed,” Governor Kay Ivey said. “My thoughts and prayers remain especially with his wife Susan and their three children during this very difficult time. They have lost a loving husband and father, and Alabama has lost a tremendous public servant. As Governor, I will do all I can to help the Madison County area and our state move forward.”

“Rep. Patterson was a great lawmaker that cared about the people of Alabama. It’s a sad day for the state." He will be missed as a tremendous lawmaker but more as a good man," Rep. Paul Lee (R-Dothan) reacted.

House Majority Leader Nathaniel Ledbetter issued this statement. "Rep. Patterson’s big laugh, big voice, and big personality often made the more difficult days in the Alabama State House easier to handle. On behalf of the Republican Caucus, we send out thoughts and prayers for comfort to his wife, Susan, and the family that made him so very proud.”

House Speaker Mac McCutcheon also expressed sorrow. “ Jim worked tirelessly for his district and celebrated his greatest legislative achievement last year when his bill requiring insurance companies to cover life-changing autism therapy was passed and signed into law. All of us in the Alabama State House will miss "Big Jim" and his equally big personality. Our prayers and thoughts go out to his wife, Susan, and the rest of the Patterson family.”

Patterson was 67.