House District 86


Barbara Ward Cooper

Family and Personal:
Rep. Cooper has three children, three grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren and is a retired educator, community relations specialist, and parent coordinator.

She is a member of the Shelby County Democratic Women, Co-Convener, African American People’s Organization, NAACP, Women in Government, National Black Caucus of State Legislators (NBCSL), National Council of Negro Women, Shelby County Section SAC Chair, Cooper/Jones Initiative, Citizens for Better Service, Tennessee Dispensing Opticians Association, Tennessee Tourism Roundtable, Kennedy Democratic Organization (KDO), S/W Forum on Taxes, Thirteenth Documentary Cultural Awareness, Neighborhood Clean Up in Public Safety, and Transportation: A Way out of Poverty.

Councils and Boards:
She serves on the Southwest Community Education Advisory Committee and as chair of the Shelby County Section SAC. She also serves on the CIO Labor Council, Education Leadership Council, Memphis Area Association of Governments Board (MAAG), Downtown Memphis Commission Board, Social Action Committee, and is secretary of the Shelby County Delegation.



Rep. Barbara Cooper is a Member, Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, Naming and Designating Committee, and the State Government Committee.

Representative Cooper will celebrate her 92nd birthday on 4 August, 2021. She has been a member of the Tennessee General Assembly since 1997. We commend her for her dedication and perseverance.

She filed nineteen bills this year, two of which passed into law: HB789, requiring the Departments of Health and Education to disseminate information from the centers for disease control and prevention concerning the health effects and dangers of using vapor products to students in public middle schools, public junior high schools, and public senior high schools in this state, and HB1091, which removes the restriction on appointment to the board of dentistry for persons affiliated with educational institutions where the practice of dentistry, dental hygiene, and dental assisting is taught.

Rep. Cooper stays in line with her fellow democrats with a 34% vote score and D+ on Leadership, indicating the democrat commitment to bigger government. She has always demonstrated grace and civility and commands great respect among her peers and admirers.


Vote Score


Lifetime Score


Average House Vote Score
Leadership Grade

Related Bills

Pre-K - 2: Revises Teacher evaluation, eliminates the portfolio growth model for pre-K and K

Vote Result: Committee Only

Gives LEAs the option of administering TCAP assessments on paper.

Vote Result: Failed

Sports participation to be determined by biological sex/gender.

Vote Result: Pass House Only

Creates new banks of items (questions) for assessments in order to allow current tests items to be revealed after administration.

Vote Result: Passed

Dealing with foreign influence in higher education

Vote Result: Pass House Only

Allows direct agreements between patients and healthcare providers

Vote Result: Passed

Military experience qualifies to obtain occupation license and adds appeal process.

Vote Result: Pass House Only

Strengthens law concerning the promulgating of new rules by government agencies.

Vote Result: Pass House Only

Audit results permitted to be released pre-conclusion.

Vote Result: Pass House Only

Discipline help for teachers.

Vote Result: Pass House Only

Limits authority of wildlife resource officers to search/seize on private property, land, buildings, or vehicles.

Vote Result: Passed