Former state senator Bowers says she's 'moving on'

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Former state Sen. Kathryn Bowers, awaiting trial on federal corruption charges, said Friday her health is better and she's ready to "move on."

The Memphis Democrat was in Nashville to clean out her apartment and her office at the Capitol.

Bowers announced last month that she was resigning from the Legislature because of poor health. Her resignation took effect Sept. 1.

Bowers is one of 11 people, including five current or former state lawmakers, charged in the Tennessee Waltz public corruption sting. She is accused of accepting $11,500 in bribes from FBI agents posing as businessmen seeking government favors for a company called E-Cycle Management.

Four defendants have pleaded guilty and two were convicted at trial. The rest, like Bowers, are awaiting trial. Bowers, 63, refused to talk about the charges on Friday.

Shortly after stepping down, Bowers was charged with driving under the influence after a minor traffic accident on the outskirts of Memphis. She said she was taking newly prescribed blood pressure medication and planned to fight the misdemeanor charge.

On Thursday, Bowers pleaded not guilty through her attorney, who said he'd like to see the charge dismissed since Bowers recently changed her medication. Bowers was also fined $10,000 by the state Registry of Election Finance after she didn't show up to a hearing over an unreported campaign contribution. The registry notified Bowers that she was in violation of election finance laws because she had failed to report a $2,500 contribution from FedEx in January. Bowers can appeal the decision, officials said.

Last week, Shelby County Democratic leaders chose architect Reginald Tate to replace Bowers on the ballot for the Nov. 7 general election. Tate, 52, will face Republican Michael Floyd in the race for the heavily Democratic District 33.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)