Tennessee state Sen. Charlotte Burks not seeking re-election

photo Charlotte Burks
Arkansas-Tennessee Live Blog

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. - State Sen. Charlotte Burks says she will not seek re-election next year.

The Monterey Democrat did not immediately return a call to The Associated Press today.

But she told the Cookeville Herald-Citizen that she believes she's served the 15th District with "honesty and integrity."

"It has been an honor to represent the people of the 15th Senatorial District over the years," said Burks, who has been in the state Senate since 1998.

"I have tried to focus on the issues that are important to our families and our everyday life,"

Burks, a farmer, made Tennessee history when she was elected as the first ever "write-in" candidate to the upper chamber after the tragic death of her husband, State Sen. Tommy Burks. He was gunned down by his political opponent, Byron Looper, a former Putnam County property assessor.

Looper, who legally changed his middle name to "Low Tax," was sentenced to life in prison. He was found dead in his cell in June.

Out of the seven Democrats currently serving in the state Senate, Burks is the second to not seek re-election next year. Lowe Finney, who chairs the Democratic caucus in the Tennessee Senate, announced in July that he won't seek a third term.