Longtime legislator Turner dead at 64

November 28, 2012 11:21:32 AM

Jeff Clark - [email protected]


A longtime member of the state legislature, who represented a portion of Lowndes County, has died at age 64. Bennie Turner, D-West Point, died Tuesday afternoon at University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson. Turner was airlifted Sunday from North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo to UMMC.  


Turner has represented the 16th District since it was created in 1997. The district serves portions of Clay, Lowndes, Noxubee and Oktibbeha counties. He was a partner in Turner and Associates law firm in West Point. He was the former owner of WACR radio station and the current owner of WTWG AM radio. He also was past president of the Clay County Bar Association and the Magnolia Bar Foundation Inc., had served on the state Board of Bar Admissions, and was past president of the National Association of Black Broadcasters. 


"Bennie Turner was a good senator," Sen. Terry Brown, R-Columbus, said today. "We didn't agree on a lot of things philosophically, but we did agree on a lot of projects that affect the Golden Triangle, such as economic development and education. He will be sorely missed. He was a bright mind." 


Gov. Phil Bryant also praised Turner for his dedication and hard work. 


"I had the opportunity to work closely with him during my time in the Legislature, and I know the people of his district will miss him," Bryant said in a press statement. "Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones." 


Turner's son-in-law, Ward 5 Councilman Kabir Karriem, said that as of Tuesday night, the family had not prepared a statement.  


Turner is survived by his wife, Edna, and three daughters. Funeral arrangements are incomplete and will be announced at a later time. 


Bryant will call a special election to fill Turner's senate seat. Brown said this is a lengthy process and it will take some time before Turner's replacement is elected. 


"I'm not sure of the guidelines on this," Brown said. "But (Sen. Merle Flowers, R-Southaven) resigned in April and they just filled his seat Tuesday." 


This story contains additional reporting by The Associated Press.