Friday, March 16, 2007

State GOP Executive Committeepersons Call for Williams' Resignation from Senate

The following is the Press Release that H. T. Devault and I, in our roles as your elected State Executive Committeepersons, sent yesterday afternoon to the Tennessee Republican Party for distribution statewide to all mainstream media across the state.

If, indeed, our Senator's abandonment of the Republican Party is a matter of principle, we call on him for a full measure and not just a half measure of principle. To continue to serve in the office to which he was elected as a Republican - when in fact he is not a Republican - is not taking the high road. It is, in fact, less than principled.



BLAINE, TENN. - Twice now since he was last elected, Senator Mike Williams has broke faith with the Republican Party which gave him its nomination and elected him to the State Senate. As a consequence of his breach of faith, and in spite of a Republican majority, Democrat John Wilder was returned as Speaker of the State Senate in 2005. Yesterday, Sen. Williams completed his abandonment and officially left the Republican Party to become an Independent.

Since he has abandoned his party, we call on Senator Williams, if he is a man of principle, to resign his seat in the Tennessee Senate and to ask Governor Bredesen to schedule a special election to fill the vacancy in the 4th Senate District.

The precedent for such action was established by Sen. Phil Gramm of Texas. When Sen. Gramm could no longer support the Democrat party, he did not violate the trust of the party that elected him. Instead, he resigned his office, asked the Governor to schedule a special election, and stood for election as a Republican.

The principled way for Mike Williams to abandon the Republican Party which elected him, but which he can no longer support, is to resign from the State Senate and stand for election as an Independent.

As we understand the law, special primary elections are to be held within 55-60 days of the call and general elections between 100-107 days.

So the people of the 4th Senate District will be represented during this entire session of the General Assembly, we ask Senator Williams to make his resignation effective at a date in the near future but giving sufficient advance notice for the Union County Commission to legally include the appointment of a successor on its next agenda.

Given the ethical cloud that has hovered over our State Senate over that last few years, Sen. Williams should do the honorable thing: resign and stand on principle, offering himself for election as an Independent, but not as a Republican.

H. T. Devault
Cecil Testerman
State GOP Executive
4th Senate District


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