WPLN’s Blake Farmer contributed to this report.
Nashville Democrat Mike Turner announced this morning he will retire from the state House after serving 14 years in office.
In a legislature increasingly dominated by Republicans, Turner said his job wasn’t as fun as it once was, and he wanted to get out before growing cynical. But he says leaving comes with feelings of guilt:
“We’ve still got a fight on our hands up here, and I kinda feel like I’m leaving my guys here… I feel a little guilty I’m not gonna be in the trenches with them.”
Turner ran uncontested in 2012, but has recently butted heads with other leaders in his party—something he said didn’t play into his decision.
Turner expects several people to run for his seat, which he’s confident will stay in Democratic control. He says a few people in his family may run for public office at some point, and he himself is interested in running for mayor in Nashville, but it’s too soon for details.
Though he has been one of the legislature’s most vocal Democrats, Turner drew praise in a statement Thursday from Republican House Speaker Beth Harwell, who said he always argues “from a place of genuine conviction.”
Turner’s district includes parts of Old Hickory, Madison and East Nashville.