Staff reassures the public about governor's health - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Staff reassures the public about governor's health

It was a day of damage control on Capitol Hill. 

Representatives in Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen's office say, "The governor's feeling better today...."

Governor Bredesen's staff reassured the public that their boss is well enough to continue running the state..even though he flew to the Mayo Clinic Wednesday morning to be checked out for a flu like illness.

Staff members continues, "We would only hope that its temporary and its not life threatening."

While the governor's health remains somewhat of a mystery, it exposed a gaping loophole in the state constitution that surprised even veteran lawmaker John DeBerry.

Rep. John DeBerry of Memphis says, "I believe that we all operated under an assumption that in the unfortunate event of something happening to our governor that there would be a logical progression in transfer of power."

A closer look at the constitution reveals otherwise.."In case of the removal of the governor from office, or of his death, or resignation, the powers and duties of the office shall devolve on the speaker of the Senate."  

But there are no provisions in the event of a temporary absence.  A problem Bredesen plans to address when he returns to his office.

TN Deputy Governor Dave Cooley says, "The public needs to know- the governor is still in charge - he is governing he's in touch."

As for when the governor will return to full time duty, Cooley says, "I really don't have any indication."

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