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VOL. 36 | NO. 34 | Friday, August 24, 2012
Summerville steps down from education committee
NASHVILLE (AP) - State Sen. Jim Summerville on Friday resigned from the Senate Education Committee after being stripped of his subcommittee chairmanship over an email that insulted the Legislature's black caucus.
The Dickson Republican has been criticized for sending an email to the chairwoman of the Tennessee Black Caucus of State Legislators saying: "I don't give a rat's ass what the black caucus thinks."
Senate Education Chairwoman Dolores Gresham stripped Summerville of his chairmanship of the higher education subcommittee for the remark, but the senator appeared unrepentant in brief remarks to reporters on Friday morning.
"Which part wasn't clear? The matter speaks for itself," he said. "Maybe I could have used a more artful term like a 'rodents posterior.'"
The black caucus had sent Summerville an official response to a hearing over complaints about Tennessee State University's handling of grade changes. The group called t he allegations "much ado about nothing" and questioned why the historically black university was singled out for a legislative investigation.
Summerville did not give a reason for his resignation from the committee in a handwritten letter to Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey, R-Blountville.
Democrats have demanded an apology, but Summerville hasn't given one.