published Thursday, May 7th, 2009

Tennessee: Flowers to run for U.S. 3rd District

Former state Commerce and Insurance Commissioner Paula Flowers announced today that she is running for the 3rd Congressional District’s Democratic nomination.

“Tennessee deserves practical, experienced leadership that puts hardworking Tennesseans first,” Mrs. Flowers said in a statement. “I will fight for fiscally responsible government that brings good jobs to Tennessee, grows our clean energy sector, and improves access to affordable health care.”

Mrs. Flowers, 41, served as Commissioner of Commerce and Insurance for Gov. Phil Bredesen from 2003 to 2007, according to the statement. She also served as the state’s Fire Marshal.

A native of Monterey, Tenn., Mrs. Flowers previously worked as an attorney and an environmental compliance engineer for the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Y-12 Facility.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Tennessee Tech, a master’s degree in civil engineering from McNeese State University, and a law degree from the University of Tennessee.

Mr. Flowers lives in Oak Ridge with her husband, Jim and their three sons.

She would become the second Democrat to enter the race to succeed U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp, R-Tenn., who is running for the 2010 GOP gubernatorial nomination. He says he will not seek re-election to the congressional seat. Democrat Brent Benedict, a computer systems analyst from Chattanooga, has said he intends to run for the 3rd District seat.

On the Republican side, Bradley County Sheriff Tim Gobble has announced his candidacy. Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Robin Smith, of Hixson, is weighing a run, and state Sen. Bo Watson, R-Hixson, and Rep. Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga, also are considering bids. Chuck Fleischmann, a Chattanooga attorney, has formed an exploratory committee to help determine whether he’ll run.

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