Kyle proposes bill to replace Ford - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Janice Broach

Kyle proposes bill to replace Ford

Senate Democratic leader Jim Kyle has been very vocal about his fellow senator's illness. He said earlier in the week he wants Ophelia Ford to reveal what her illness is. Now he has proposed a bill that if passed would temporarily replace Ford in the Tennessee senate.

"We need someone up here doing the people's business and this will allow that to occur," Kyle said.

Ford missed much of the session last year and likely will miss most of this year's session that began on Tuesday.  Under the proposal, two thirds of the members could vote to force a temporary handoff or the lawmaker could voluntarily step aside and name their own replacement.

Action News 5 talked with Ophelia Ford's brother John, who she replaced in the Senate. He said no one in the family is going to discuss her illness.

He says she should be respected.

He added there have been other people who have been ill in the senate and they weren't replaced.

Other than that he says the family had no comment."

But some voters in Ophelia Ford's 29th district say she should be temporarily replaced.

"Like anybody in any kind of job, if you've got the job and you can't do the job then you're holding it up for somebody else to get the job done. I think the citizens of our district deserve better than that," Gordon Stewart said.

Voter Blaine Wells had another take.

"As close as the margin is between the two parties, I think it just makes it more urgent that both parties be represented the way the voters have elected people to represent them," Wells said.

Ophelia Ford's absence may be more noticeable because of the tight make up of the senate.

Republicans and Democrats hold 16 seats along with one independent.

Senator Jim Kyle plans to start discussing his bill in the Senate next week.

Click here to e-mail Janice Broach.

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