Sen. Ophelia Ford called out for missing Senate votes

Sen. Ophelia Ford called out for missing Senate votes
Attendance records show Tennessee Senator Ophelia Ford missed more than half of the legislative session, including critical votes that impacted the Mid-South.
Attendance records show Tennessee Senator Ophelia Ford missed more than half of the legislative session, including critical votes that impacted the Mid-South.

(WMC) - A Memphis lawmaker is being called out for missing the most Senate votes out of all of her peers.

Attendance records show Tennessee Senator Ophelia Ford missed more than half of the legislative session, including critical votes that impacted the Mid-South.

State documents show, in many cases, Ford sent letters to the lieutenant governor to say she missed votes because of her health.

District 29 residents had strong opinions about Senator Ford's absences during the last legislative session.

"Attendance is a must," said Paul Spight. "You've got to attend to be represented."

"I don't know why she's missing," added Varnell Hudson. "She must not be doing what she's supposed to."

Memphis City Councilman Lee Harris is one of five candidates running against Sen. Ford for the District 29 seat in the next election.

"The Fords have a long history of showing up and performing well. This is something different here," he said. "This is not about a candidate's last name. It's about individual performance. Individual performance at the most basic level means showing up."

Ford's travel log shows that she missed more than half of her votes. She wrote letters to the lieutenant governor.

In one letter, she said, "My health has not allowed me to travel."

In another, she said she fell, broke her hip, and would be out for the rest of the session.

When WMC Action News 5's Kontji Anthony called Sen. Ford to ask about the absences, she replied that she did not know what Kontji was talking about and said that she did attend most of her meetings. Then she hung up the phone.

"We've got to wait on details to see why there was a missed vote on the rape kit funding," said Councilman Harris. "We've got to see why there was a missed vote with respect to free community college for all Tennesseans."

Other candidates running against Ford and Harris are Republicans Jim Finney and Anthony Herron Jr., and Democrats Ricky Dixon and Herman Sawyer.

The election is August 7.

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