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Ramsey Plans Talk About Senator's Possible Resignation

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Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey

The speaker of the Senate speaks out for the first time about a intern scandal involving a member of his own party.

In an exclusive interview with NewsChannel 5, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey says he forced Memphis Republican Paul Stanley to give up a key leadership post.

And now the Blountville Republican says he plans to talk to Stanley about possibly resigning.

That comes amid a continuing sex scandal involving Stanley and a legislative intern.

Our chief investigative reporter Phil Williams first broke this story, and he tracked down the lieutenant governor at a big Republican gathering.

Politics was the subject at the Tennessee Republican Party's annual Statesmen's Dinner. But the intern scandal involving Stanley and 22-year-old legislative intern McKensie Morrison was all the buzz.

"Did you have any inkling that he was fooling around with an intern?" Williams asked Ramsey.

"None, I can honestly say. I don't keep up with stuff like that," the lieutenant governor answered.

Ramsey said he first learned about Stanley's affair with Morrison the day NewsChannel 5 Investigates broke news about the arrest of the young woman's former boyfirend, Joel Watts, on extortion charges.

"At that time, I told him I thought it was best if he step down from his leadership position. He did that. And so that was the last time I've spoken with him," Ramsey said.

"Should he step down from his Senate seat?" Williams asked.

"You know that's something we're going to be debating in the upcoming days," Ramsey replied.

Stanley, who made a name as a family-values crusader, is married with two children.

While Ramsey can't force him to resign, he made it clear he's not happy with him.

"Does he have your full support?" Williams asked him.

"Well, obviously, when you have friends like this in the legislature, you are going to be as supportive as you can as human being, BUT what he did was wrong," Ramsey said. "What he did was reprehensible. I wouldn't do something like that. It sheds a bad light on all of us. So, obviously, I'm upset."

While lawmakers have shied away from rules prohibiting them from having relationships with interns, after the Stanley affair, Ramsey says it may be time to reconsider.

"If a policy is needed, we'll adopt policy. But I'm going to tel lyou you would think just as human beings you wouldn't need policy like that. It should go without saying."

The lieutenant governor also says that Stanley told him back in May that he might be separating from his wife.

Then, after this past week's revelations about Stanley's intern affair, Ramsey says he advised him to take a few days off, then -- perhaps in the next few days -- to make a decision about his political future.

Back to NewsChannel 5 Investigates

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