Bowers to Exit Senate, Citing Health 

Local Democrats will have chance to name successor on November ballot.

State Senator Kathryn Bowers, the Tennessee Waltz indictee who told reporters after a court hearing last week that she was concerned about her health, announced Monday that she was resigning her office on “medical advice.” Bowers’ resignaton comes in time for the local Democratic Party to appoint a successor on the November ballot for her District 33 senate post.

The party will have until September 28th to meet and do so, said Jim Kyle, the Democrats’ Senate leader and Bowers’ Memphis colleague. Kyle also noted that illness and a finding of legal ineligibility were the only two allowable reasons for a certified nominee to exit the ballot. Bowers, whose resignation becomes effective on September 1, is scheduled to make a formal plea in her extortion case four days later.

In a formal notice of intended resigned to Lt. Governor John Wilder, the Senate speaker, , Bowers repeated her declarations of last week that she had experienced “considerable stress…that has taken its toll on my health.”

The precipitating incident, she said, was a near-accident on a mountaintop last week in which she lost control of her Chevrolet Blazer when the tread separated from one of the vehicle’s tires.

”The Blazer went from the left side to the right side of the Interstate twice with no other cars in my path. I came to a perfect stop in the emergency lane with no one hurt. I thank God I am alive today,” Bowers said.

Bowers said on Monday that she mulled things over after returning to Memphis and made her decision to resign over the weekend. She called party caucus chairman Joe Haynes of Goodlettsville, who tried to talk her out of resigning, she said. (Haynes issued a statement Monday expressing “regret” at Bowers’ decision.)

A factor that hastened her decision was her determination to “spare the people of Shelby County the expense of a special election,” Bowers said. She gave no indication of what her plea would be at her September 5 court date, saying that her legal status had not entered into her thinking.

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