Ophelia Ford misses special session due to illness

Ophelia Ford (file photo)
Ophelia Ford (file photo)

By Anna Marie Hartman - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Where is Tennessee State Senator Ophelia Ford?  She hasn't been seen in special session since it started several weeks ago in Nashville.

"Senator Ford hasn't been in our session during our special session for the last two weeks," Tennessee Lt. Governor  Ron Ramsey said Friday.

Ford's 2010 attendance record is a familiar pattern.  In 2007, she was absent more than she was present during Tennessee's legislative session.

According to Ramsey, Ford recently explained in writing why she was a no-show for a special session on education.

"I got a letter to begin with that said she had flu like symptoms, and it's my understanding that the latest letter says that she has been hospitalized for the last two or three days," Ramsey said by phone Friday.

According to Ramsey, Ford's lack of attendance had little impact on key votes because none of them were close.  But, he hasn't forgotten 2007, when Ford complained of severe anemia, and a 911 call that was placed after Ford fell off a bar stool at a Nashville hotel.  

Ford later called paramedics to her Memphis home.

So far this year, the flu has kept Ford from her legislative duties, and Ramsey said he must take her at her word.  

"Obviously I can't question whether someone's sick and what their illness is, and I as long as I have that excuse, you know, it's there, I can't question it, and I shouldn't question it," he said.

Action News 5 contacted Shelby County Mayor Joe Ford to see if he would confirm whether his sister was still hospitalized.  A spokesperson for the county said the mayor had no comment regarding the state senator's condition.

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