Tennessee lawmaker carved initials in her capitol desk

Tennessee lawmaker carved initials in her capitol desk

July 13th, 2011 by Associated Press in News

Rep. Julia Hurley's initials are seen carved into her desk in the House chamber in Nashville. House Speaker Beth Harwell said the Lenoir City Republican's desk will be restored at her expense. (AP)

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In this Monday, Feb. 7, 2011 file photo, State Rep. Julia Hurley gathers her papers on the House floor in Nashville, Tenn. A freshman lawmaker who admits carving her initials into her desk in the state House chamber is going to have to pay to fix it. Hurley, a freshman lawmaker who admits carving her initials into her desk in the state House chamber is going to have to pay to fix it. (AP Photo/Erik Schelzig, File)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A freshman Tennessee lawmaker who admits carving her initials into her desk in the state House chamber is going to have to pay to fix it.

House Speaker Beth Harwell said Tuesday that Rep. Julia Hurley's initials will be removed at the fellow Republican lawmaker's expense.

"In the excitement of being a freshman at the end of session, Representative Hurley etched her initials into her desk," said Harwell, a Nashville Republican.

"As with any state property, we will take action to have the desk restored and I'm sure Representative Hurley will be more than happy to compensate the state to make the repairs."

The desk carving was first reported by WSMV-TV. Hurley on Monday confirmed to the Knoxville News Sentinel that she made the etching into the desk during a late-night floor session in May.

"It was like 1 in the morning on the last day of the session," Hurley told the paper. "I wasn't thinking straight."

Hurley, 29, of Lenoir City, said she doesn't remember what she used to cut her initials into the desk.

"To ask me details about what happened three months ago, I couldn't tell you," Hurley said. "I don't understand why it's news, and I don't want to talk about the desk."

Hurley beat a Democratic incumbent last fall to win her seat representing all of Roane County and part of Loudon County.

Hurley drew national attention in February for crediting her success in politics and business to the time she spent working at Hooters restaurants in a two-page story for the chain's magazine.

She said in the article that her Hooters career taught her how overcome obstacles on her way to the state Capitol. "If I could make it at Hooters, I could make it anywhere," she wrote.

Hurley in March wrote a letter to Col. Tracy Trott, the commander of the Tennessee Highway Patrol, to apologize for how she treated a state trooper who pulled her over for speeding.

"I was pulled over for speeding, and in my frustration, behaved in a way I should not have," she said in the letter.