Commissioner Horner has no regrets over bowing out of race

Commissioner Horner has no regrets over bowing out of race

"I think it's still one big confusion, but that doesn't bother me. I'll still do what I do," Mary Lou Horner says. "I think it's still one big confusion, but that doesn't bother me. I'll still do what I do," Mary Lou Horner says.

June 2, 2006

By SONU WASU
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) -- As the debate rages in court over whether Knox County's charter is valid and term limits apply to commissioners, long time Commissioner Mary Lou Horner says she has no regrets over bowing out of the election.

Attorneys are lined up in Chancery Court to make closing arguments in a three day long case regarding those term limits. The judge says he'll stay until midnight to squeeze as many in as he can.

The judge's ruling could have major implications for term-limited officials.

One of those officials, Commissioner Mary Lou Horner, dropped out of the race before the primary election in May because she thought she was not eligible for another term. 

"I think it's still one big confusion, but that doesn't bother me. I'll still do what I do," Horner says.  

Horner hoped to serve her community as an elected official for at least four more years, but she tells 6 News, she did what she thought was best at the time. 

A federal judge had ruled that she would not be able to keep her seat, even if she won. "At least I don't have to go to those dull meetings that last forever and ever and ever," Horner says. 

She still plans to serve on dozens of boards. She says her doors will always be open to her constituents and supporters. 

But Horner is questioning the need for term limits. "I really don't understand why they have term limits since they have elections."

Knox County attorneys raised some interesting concerns in court Friday. If the county charter is declared invalid, what would it mean for 18 years worth of ordinances that have passed? What about the fines collected for those ordinances and the county's pension plans, as they exist.

Horner predicts a flurry of lawsuits may follow if the county charter is declared invalid.

These court proceedings will also decide the fates of nine other term-limited county commissioners who won in the May primary.

A judge will also consider whether term limits would apply to other county offices such as the sheriff or school board members.

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