It is with heavy hearts that we report the sad news that Alabama state Rep. Jim Patterson passed away today, apparently from a sudden heart attack.
In the last legislative session, Rep. Patterson, a Republican serving House District 21 in Madison County, sponsored the widely reported “autism bill,” which required insurance companies to provide health benefits for the treatment of children with autism. Standing stalwart in the face of fierce opposition, Rep. Patterson never waivered on the measure, which ultimately passed the House with an unprecedented unanimous vote, and later passed the Senate by a vote of 33-1.
Elected to the House of Representatives in 2010, Rep. Patterson was symbolic of that class that has become known for its reform-minded efforts that include education reform, tax reform, pension reform, and ethics reform. Patterson fought for conservative solutions to problems surrounding all those issues, and his presence will be greatly missed in the Alabama House, where he honorably served until his passing today.
Rep. Patterson graduated from Hazel Green High School and Jacksonville State University, and proudly served in the United States Army on active duty from 1972 to 1976, and in the Army Reserves for six more years as a company commander of D-926th Engineer Battalion.
His career spanned 29 years as a pharmaceutical representative of Bristol Meyers Squibb before he retired in 2008. Before his election to the Alabama House, Representative Patterson served on the Madison County School Board from 1988 until 2000 and was elected president of that body three times.
Representative Patterson was a deacon at Flint River Baptist Church in Meridianville.
He is survived by his wife Susan Carter Patterson, and their three children and we will update this story as details emerge.