With approximately a week until early voting, questions of racial insensitivity and dirty politics are swirling in Maury County.
At Thursday night’s county commission meeting, a black commissioner found an envelope addressed to him on his desk.
When Gary Stovall opened the letter inside, he discovered a photo copy containing a vulgar text message that included the N-word.
“It made me really upset, really mad about it. Don’t know why anyone would target me, an African American, and use that word,” Stovall said.
The number on the text belongs to the phone of District 8 Commissioner Debbie Turner, who vehemently denies writing the message or putting it on Commissioner Stovall’s desk.
The screen shot has a Verizon Wireless logo, but Turner said she is a long time AT&T employee and customer.
The letter reads,”Day of the week over what u see as my family. Gary and Vicki and Brittany too aren’t my family. I just a soon have a herd of N******. The family I want is what I have. Tracy and Blake as as for F, I p*** on if they were on fire. I don’t…”
Turner admits she has family members with the names listed on the letter, but says she has not spoken to them in three or four years.
She said the text is a fake that was planted on her phone by someone trying to make her look bad.
Turner blames other commissioners, saying they have been trying to get her out for a long time.
She went on to say they have had this text in their possession for close to a year and she questions why they are just now deciding to put it on Stovall’s desk.
News 2 spoke with Dr. Lucy Ledbetter, a commissioner who is not running in this election.
She said the text message was sent to her and other white commissioners more than six months ago. She think it is a screen shot of a message written by Turner.
Ledbetter said she turned it over to the county mayor but no action was reportedly taken.
Commissioner Stovall told News 2 he does not feel threatened by the note and thinks someone other than Turner is responsible, but he is not sure who.
“I am definitely incensed by it and I don’t like it and don’t want it to ever happen again,” he said.
Maury County law officers have not received any complaints. They said even if they did, would be unclear if any crime was committed.
Early voting in Maury County begins next Friday, July 18.