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VOL. 123 | NO. 41 | Thursday, February 28, 2008

State Rep. Rowe Dies of Cancer Wed.

By Bill Dries

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State Rep. Gary Rowe

State Rep. Gary Rowe, the chairman of the Shelby County legislative delegation, died Wednesday of cancer at Baptist Memorial Hospital Memphis.

State House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh announced Rowe's sudden death after a "short battle with cancer" as the legislature was in session Wednesday.

"This is such a loss for all of us in the House of Representatives," Naifeh said in the announcement.

Rowe, 56, was first elected in 2005, claiming the District 87 seat vacated by Kathryn Bowers who, at that time, had been elected to the state Senate.

His entry into elected politics came after more than 20 years as the city's most visible advocate of minority business development. Rowe was the president and general partner of the Memphis Business Development Corp. (MBDC). He began calling for businesses owned by blacks and other minorities to get a share of government construction and purchasing contracts at a time when bid contracts and other reforms were still relatively new to what had been a closed system.

Although Rowe had few allies when those efforts began, he was in the vanguard of a cause later joined by others as black political leaders began assuming more elected offices in city and county government.

House Speaker Pro Tempore Lois DeBerry of Memphis termed Rowe's death a "tragedy."

"Though his time in the legislature was brief, his spirit and his work will live on for years to come," she said.

In Nashville, Rowe was secretary of the House Government Operations Committee.

The Shelby County Board of Commissioners could appoint someone to fill the remainder of Rowe's two-year term of office, which runs out at the end of the year.

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RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 0 43 12,074
MORTGAGES 0 78 15,834
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 39 39 3,168
BUILDING PERMITS 292 292 29,124
BANKRUPTCIES 3 100 11,771
BUSINESS LICENSES 0 18 4,292
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 190 17,922
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 43 3,711

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