Beth Harwell

Democrat Bob Freeman eyes run for Harwell’s House seat

Bob Freeman, a real estate professional and son of prominent Tennessee Democratic donor Bill Freeman, is considering running in 2018 for the House seat that’s being vacated by Republican House Speaker Beth Harwell, a candidate for governor, reports The Tennessean.

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After sister’s Colorado experience, Harwell ‘open’ to medical marijuana in TN

House Speaker Beth Harwell, campaigning for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, says treatment of her sister’s back injury has caused her to reevaluate Tennessee’s ban on medical marijuana, reports the Associated Press.

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Black bashes ‘meek’ Nashville Republicans; Harwell bashes Washington Republicans

Excerpts from a Times Free Press report on a Sunday forum for Republican gubernatorial candidates in Williamson County, hosted by state Sen. Jack Johnson.

We can find Republicans who are too weak or too meek right here in Nashville as well,” (said U.S. Rep. Diane Black)… “The people of Tennessee did not give us a majority to be meek. They made us the majority so we could do what we say we can do. And that’s the job of our next governor. To lead this state in a way with a firm hand and a strong spine. And that’s what the state of Tennessee needs is a strong leader.”

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Beavers, Black and Harwell on hopes of becoming first woman TN governor

Comments collected by The Tennessean from three women running for the Republican gubernatorial nomination on the prospect of becoming the first female to hold office as Tennessee governor:

Diane Black: “It would be truly historic but I will tell you even more historic to me is to know that I would be the 50th governor of the state of Tennessee. That is the history that we would make.”

Beth Harwell: “I don’t think anyone should vote for me because I am a woman but I would tell you the historical significance is great. And it’s especially so because in the year 2020 this state will celebrate a hundred years of being the state that made it possible for women to earn the right to vote. I think it’d be nice to have a female governor at that point.”

Mae Beavers: “Of course it would have significance. It would kind of be overwhelming I would think. But it’s all about doing what’s right for the state of Tennessee.”

Harwell, Stevens back Rep. Sanderson — criticized for tax vote — in reelection bid

House Speaker Beth Harwell and state Sen. Ed Jackson praised state Rep. Bill Sanderson at a luncheon held in his honor Thursday, reports the Dyersburg State Gazette. Sanderson, facing a prospective challenger in the House District 77 Republican primary, said he’s under attack for supporting a package of tax legislation this year that included an increase in fuel tax levies.

Some excerpted quotes:

Jackson: “I believe in Bill so much, I have written a check to Bill Sanderson for his re-election in the amount of $2,500. We’ve got to keep Bill in Nashville. He does great work for this district.”

Harwell: “Bill Sanderson is one of the finest, highest-quality individuals you can send to Nashville to represent you…. There was no doubt who I wanted to chair one of my most important committees and that was Bill Sanderson. He is that high of quality legislator. You are blessed to have him. I want to extend my appreciation for you.” (Note: Harwell appointed Sanderson as chair of the House State Government Subcommittee.)

Sanderson: “I work hard every day up there, but now this group basically wants to send me home. And some say, ‘Well, don’t take it personal’. Maybe I’m looking at it the wrong way, but I do take it personal. Speaker Harwell, you know, we helped pass the largest tax cut in the state of Tennessee’s history this year. We’ve had industry locate to Dyer County solely because we lowered the franchise and excise tax in Tennessee… But yet, I’m being judged because I voted for the largest tax cut in the state of Tennessee’s history. That one element, a lot of folks said, ‘We don’t need it’. But that’s not true. We do need it.”

Note: The newspaper had an earlier story on Jerry Wright, mayor of Newbern, saying he’s considering a run for the Republican nomination against Sanderson. Wright contended Dyer County and Lake County (also part of the House district) have been shortchanged as compared to other areas in road funding and declared “the bottom line is people want someone that’s going to Nashville and fight for them, and what they want.” Jackson, whose district includes Dyer and Lake counties, faces a primary challenger who has criticized his vote for the tax bill. (Previous post HERE.)

Harwell appoints PAC treasurer to TN State Museum governing board

House Speaker Beth Harwell has reappointed Deputy Speaker Steve McDaniel to the governing board of the Tennessee State Museum, but is giving her own seat on the panel to Tina Hodges, CEO of Nashville-based Advance Financial.

Harwell had previously appointed herself to a four-year term on the Douglas Henry State Museum Commission that officially expired June 30, but she continued to serve through the panel’s July 3 meeting, as allowed under relevant rules allowing an appointee to stay aboard until a successor is appointed, said Kara Owen, spokeswoman to the speaker in response to email inquiries.

Subsequently, Owen said, Harwell appointed Hodges, who already serves – by appointment of Gov. Bill Haslam – on the board of directors for Volunteer Tennessee, a group that has the declared mission of promoting “volunteerism and community service” by Tennesseans. She is currently listed as vice chairman.

Hodges also serves as treasurer of Advance PAC, a political action committee operated by Advance Financial. A check of the Registry of Campaign Finance website for 2015 and 2016 shows Advance PAC giving Harwell’s reelection campaign for her state House seat $10,000 and it also donated $8,000 to the leadership PAC operated by Harwell.

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Nashville surgeon running for Harwell’s House District 56 seat

Dr. Brent Moody, a Nashville surgeon and a Republican, tells The Tennessean he will run to succeed Beth Harwell in the state House seat being vacated by House speaker, who will run for governor instead of seeking reelection there.

“I think the people of the 56th District have been represented well by Speaker Harwell for a long time, so there will be a new choice for the people of the 56th District,” Moody said. “My plan is to get out there in due course and let them meet me.”

The 47-year-old skin cancer surgeon filed paperwork and appointed a treasurer for his campaign Monday.

Although Moody waited for Harwell to publicly announce her gubernatorial run over the weekend before filing his papers, he previously talked to the speaker about his intentions. She was helpful and gave him some advice, Moody said.

Word spread unofficially in the Spring that Moody could be considering the position after he posted a photo on Twitter on April 3rd of him meeting with House Majority Leader Glen Casada and Harwell.

Reps. Hawk, Johnson join McCormick in seeking to follow Harwell as House speaker

Former House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick was the first Republican representative to say he’d like to succeed Beth Harwell as speaker of the state House. The Tennessean reports Reps. David Hawk and Curtis Johnson say they plan to seek the post as well.

And current Majority Leader Glen Casada, as previously reported (HERE), isn’t ruling it out but says he’s waiting a while to decide.

Some quotes:

Hawk, R-Greeneville: “I realized in this past session that there’s a need for someone who can bring folks together…  I think that is one of my greatest skills. I know how to work with all members of the House, not only the Republican caucus but the legislature as a whole.”

…Johnson, R-Clarksville, has been speaker pro tempore for the last five years and he said his relationships with members of the House and Senate as well as his leadership skills make him stand out with strong qualifications.

“You have to have leadership skills, you have to have a steady hand on the wheel and you have to be level-headed for the job,” he said.

…Rep. Jimmy Matlock, R-Lenoir City, who lost to Harwell 40-30 in the vote for speaker during the current legislative session:

“Several people have encouraged me to run, but I think I’m going to see how the next few months go,” he said. “Rep. McCormick and Rep. Hawk are friends of mine and those two guys would certainly be really good candidates.”

House Speaker Gerald McCormick?

With Beth Harwell announcing her run for governor in 2018,  which means she can’t seek reelection to the House, state Rep. Gerald McCormick says he’s looking to succeed her as Speaker of the House in January, 2019, reports the Times-Free Press.

McCormick said with three two-year terms as majority leader under his belt — he chose not to seek the post last session and was named by Harwell in January as Finance subcommittee chairman — he believes he has “more experience probably than anybody else in the House dealing with governors and senators.”

“And that’s a lot of what the job entails, I think,” McCormick said. “I think I can step in on the first day and know what I was doing and try to get things moving in the right direction so far as our relationships with those folks go and understanding how the body works and how committees work.”

… McCormick’s successor as majority leader, former House Republican Caucus Chairman Glen Casada of Franklin, is seen as another possible candidate to replace Harwell.

“I’ll look at it this time next year,” Casada said of a possible bid for speaker. “I’ve got a year of a lot of members leaving — it’s the governor’s last term. So we’ve got a lot of work to go and as majority leader I’ve got to focus on that.

“I can’t take my eye off the ball of being majority leader for the next 12 months,” said Casada, who expects 10 to 12 of the 73 Republican incumbents, including Harwell, not to seek re-election to the House.

Asked earlier about the possibility of Casada running, McCormick noted the Franklin Republican hasn’t been involved in the Finance Committee, which participates in negotiations with senators over the state’s annual spending plan.

Moreover, McCormick noted that in six years, he carried any number of bills for the governor.

“So I’ve got more experience from that standpoint,” McCormick said.

Harwell announces as candidate for governor

News release from Beth Harwell campaign

Nashville, Tenn. — Beth Harwell, Tennessee’s Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives, today announced her campaign for Governor of Tennessee.

“Tennessee needs someone who possesses the experience from day one to lead our state to the next level and who has a steady hand when challenges come our way,” Harwell said. “As Governor, I will lead on jobs, cutting taxes, guaranteeing every child has a great school, and ensuring our Tennessee values are protected. Every Tennessean should have every opportunity to succeed and prosper in our state. That’s why I am running to be Tennessee’s next Governor.”

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