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VOL. 125 | NO. 94 | Friday, May 14, 2010

Tenn. House Speaker Collapses at Session

LUCAS L. JOHNSON II | Associated Press Writer

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NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee House Speaker Kent Williams said his collapse during the session on Thursday was a result of low blood sugar.

Williams, who is diabetic, was presiding over a session of the House when he slumped against the lectern and fell to the floor. House members with emergency training tended to Williams, an independent from Elizabethton.

"The beautiful thing was that we got enough people around here that can react quickly enough to help people when something happens," said Rep. Joe Towns, D-Memphis.

Williams was able to get up minutes later and walk out of the chamber. He returned about an hour later and resumed presiding over the session. He thanked those individuals who assisted him.

Williams, who appeared to have a bruised area on the side of his head, told an Associated Press reporter shortly after the incident that he suffers from low blood sugar and that he didn't eat breakfast.

Said Williams: "I know better."

He said the last time he had a fainting spell was about 10 years ago.

"I'm going to be all right," he said.

After hearing about the incident, members of the Senate had a moment of silence and prayer for Williams.

In the House, Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver said she did the same when Williams collapsed.

"I started praying," said the Lancaster Republican. "I knew he'd be fine."

Democratic Rep. Henry Fincher of Cookeville said he's friends with Williams and was aware of his diabetes. He said while Williams' collapse was scary, he agreed that it was comforting to see the number of people who rushed to help him.

"I think it shows that while we fight and squabble over policy issues, when something happens ... we're capable of coming together and working in a very professional and coordinated manner," Fincher said.

Towns said he's glad Williams quickly recovered, but that his collapse should be a wake-up call to other lawmakers to take care of themselves.

"If you don't eat on time, if you don't take care of yourself like you should in a timely manner, things happen," he said.

___

Associated Press Writer Erik Schelzig contributed to this report.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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