NASHVILLE — Recently elected state Sen. Janice Bowling is fighting her removal from the Tennessee Republican Party's executive committee for having missed three consecutive meetings.
State Republicans said the removal was automatic after Bowling missed a Dec. 1 meeting.
The Tullahoma lawmaker said that while she was unable to attend called committee meetings in March and June, she thought she had avoided a problem by securing "valid proxy" for purposes of constituting a quorum and voting.
Bowling said she participated in at least one, possibly two, party meetings conducted by telephone following the March and June meetings. She contends she didn't miss three "consecutive" meetings.
She said she missed last week's meeting because of a secondary infection due to a "severe allergic reaction." She said she ran a high fever and was treated with antibiotics.
Bowling, who was elected Nov. 6 to represent District 16, said she suspects the cause of her illness was black mold in her Senate office.
She said she notified party officials she would have to miss the meeting.
State Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney has said automatic removal is in the bylaws.
But Bowling wrote to him with her arguments about the proxies and the telephone meetings.
And after speaking with her, Devaney said, "We are currently looking into her interpretation [of the rules] and will not move forward with the process of filling the vacant position set forth in our bylaws until the matter has been thoroughly reviewed."
Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...