Summerville steps down from education committee - WSMV News 4

Summerville steps down from education committee

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State Sen. Jim Summerville is resigning from the Senate Education Committee after being stripped of his subcommittee chairmanship over an email that insulted the Legislature's black caucus.

Summerville did not give a reason for his resignation in a handwritten letter to Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey on Friday.

Earlier Summerville told reporters in a brief interview that perhaps he should have said he didn't give a "rat's posterior" about the black caucus concerns, rather than the cruder word he used in his one-line email sent this week.

"His choice of words, I think, is his sentiment that he really doesn't honor the Tennessee black caucus or the people we represent or the work that we do that he doesn't value his colleagues on equal standing on him," said State Rep. Brenda Gilmore, D-Nashville.

Gilmore said the black caucus was invited by Summerville to add to his report about allegations of grade changing at Tennessee State University. When asked why he so rudely dismissed the black caucus' response, Summerville said "the matter speaks for itself."

Democrats have demanded an apology but Summerville hasn't issued one.

"I think he should offer a formal apology to the Tennessee black caucus in honor of the work we do. Just as he's a legislator, so are we. And second, I think the report needs to be pulled back," Gilmore said.

Even with his resignation from the education committee, Summerville will still be a member of two other committees: the energy and environment committee and government operations.

Copyright WSMV 2012 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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