Republican state Sen. Merle Flowers of Olive Branch, a businessman, marathon runner and former high school valedictorian, wraps up more than nine years as DeSoto County’s senior Senator Wednesday after a farewell speech at the Olive Branch Chamber of Commerce monthly luncheon.

Flowers, 43, announced his resignation three weeks after the State Legislature adjourned its 122-day session in early May. Flowers said he was stepping down to spend more time with his family.

A divorce petition involving Flowers and his wife, Stacey Reeves Flowers, had been filed before his resignation announcement and has since been withdrawn.

“My family needs me, and it’s time to come home,” Flowers said Tuesday.

This time last year, fast-growing DeSoto County was home to two of the state Senate’s rising stars — Flowers and Appropriations Committee chairman Doug Davis, R-Hernando. Nesbit homebuilder Chris Massey defeated Davis in the Aug. 2 Republican primary, and Flowers has resigned, leaving DeSoto County’s Senate delegation with no seniority less than one year into the Legislature’s four-year term.

In addition, the county will get a third Senate seat once the Justice Department approves the Senate redistricting plan that Flowers shepherded through the Legislature. via DeSoto County legislator Merle Flowers stepping down Wednesday » The Commercial Appeal.

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