Beth Harwell

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.”

Continue reading

Harwell continues ‘good groundwork’ for gubernatorial campaign

House Speaker Beth Harwell spent Monday and Tuesday in the Tri-Cities area of Northeast Tennessee and, during the visiting, told WHJL TV that she’s laying “some good groundwork” for announcement as a Republican candidate for governor later this month.

News Channel 11 asked Harwell if she had made her decision yet to run for Tennessee’s next governor, and she said she’s “leaning that way.”

“I’m just getting my team together and just wanted to continue to reach out to folks and lay some good groundwork,” Harwell said.

The Johnson City Press has a lengthy report on her visit to a new “aerospace park” project at the Tri-Cities Airport on Monday. An escort on her tour was former state Rep. Richard Venable, now mayor of Sullivan County.

Note: Venable was not among the 22 East Tennessee mayors declaring their support for Randy Boyd’s gubernatorial campaign back in May. (Previous post HERE.) On Harwell’s July announcement plan, see also the Nashville Post. Excerpt: “Sometime in July — I’ve got to keep you a little bit guessing,” Harwell laughed. “We’ll get it out there when it’s the appropriate time.”

New ‘blue ribbon task force’ on juvenile justice system set up by speakers (Haslam gets a seat)

News release from House Speaker Beth Harwell’s office

NASHVILLE – Lieutenant Governor Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge) and Speaker Beth Harwell (R-Nashville) this week announced the formation of the Joint Ad Hoc Tennessee Blue Ribbon Task Force on Juvenile Justice. The task force will be co-chaired by Speaker Harwell and Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris (R-Collierville).

The task force will study, evaluate, analyze, and undertake a comprehensive review of the state’s juvenile justice system, using a data-driven approach. The members are charged with developing evidence-based policy recommendations that will lead to potential legislative action that will protect public safety, hold offenders accountable, and contain costs while improving outcomes for youth and families in Tennessee.  Continue reading

Harwell urges AG to sue opioid drug manufacturers

House Speaker Beth Harwell has asked Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery to consider filing a lawsuit against five manufacturers of prescription opioid drugs – as Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine did earlier this week.

Harwell’s letter to Slatery says Tennessee is “consistently ranked among the worst states” for the opioid abuse and notes the Ohio lawsuit contends the drug manufacturers “sparked the addiction crisis by misrepresenting the drugs’ addictive qualities.”

Further from WKRN:

“We have a true crisis in our state,” said… Harwell. “And we want to address it… To some extent, drug manufacturers have misled how addictive these prescriptions are.”

Speaker Harwell said she’ll defer to the Attorney General to decide if a lawsuit is necessary. Harwell also stated she does hope that if a lawsuit is filed by the state. If the court sides with the state, the money would go toward helping people battling addiction.

“Really what we’re looking for is some assistance in helping people go through rehabilitation programs and to pay for those programs,” Harwell said. “To help them come off of what is really a crisis.”

From an AP brief on the letter:

The companies sued by DeWine are Purdue Pharma; Endo Health Solutions; Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and its subsidiary, Cephalon; Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary, Janssen Pharmaceuticals; and Allergan.

And here’s a statement via email from Attorney General Slatery: “Ohio advised us that it was taking this step.  It is hard to overstate the problem that opioid abuse is in our State and nationally.  We have been working for quite some time with the Department of Health and the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, and frankly other states, to determine the most effective role our Office can play in addressing and helping to resolve this problem.”

A copy of the letter is available by clicking on this link: harwellletter

Harwell to divided Republicans: ‘Be kind to each other’

With Gov. Bill Haslam’s gas tax bill scheduled to hit the House and Senate floors on Wednesday, GOP House Speaker Beth Harwell is urging divided fellow Republicans to “try to keep personalities out of it” during debate, reports the Times-Free Press.

“This will be a hard week,” Harwell told GOP Caucus members Monday. “We got big votes and I’m just asking y’all no matter how you come down on this — we’re going to have good Republicans for this bill, we’re going to have good Republicans against this bill — I’m asking you to be kind to each other.

Continue reading

On early twists and turns in the 2018 GOP race for governor

Excerpt from a review of recent developments in the 2018 gubernatorial campaign by the AP’s Eric Schelzig:

The repeal of former President Barack Obama’s health care law was supposed to provide a springboard for U.S. Rep. Diane Black’s entry into the Tennessee governor’s race.

State Sen. Mark Green was supposed to capture to the core of President Donald Trump’s supporters.

And term-limited Gov. Bill Haslam’s gas tax proposal was supposed to fall flat, avoiding political difficulties for House Speaker Beth Harwell.

But none of that has happened as expected, leaving an unsettled Republican field for the 2018 gubernatorial nomination.

Continue reading

Roundup of some recent TN politics and policy writing

Gas tax debate brings new legislator titles

In a lengthy review of conservative legislator complaints that they haven’t gotten a fair hearing while opposing Gov. Bill Haslam’s tax plans, Sam Stockard depicts Rep. Jerry Sexton as “apparent leader of the ‘Fire and Brimstone Caucus’.”

Excerpt:

Sexton was so irritated he got into an argument with Tennessee Journal writer “Easy” Ed Cromer, who had the audacity to ask him if he also opposed a cut in the food sales tax, a 1 percent reduction contained in the bill.

“Why don’t you ask me if I’m against F&E and the Hall tax (cuts)? You want to pick out something,” Sexton argued.

Cromer, who could be the most laid-back member in the Capitol Hill Press Corps, bristled at the suggestion he was being unfair – at least as much as he can bristle – and after a short back-and-forth with Sexton left the scene of the crime (We’ve got a lot of folks storming out these days).

On the other hand, Tennessee Star – which has hailed Sexton’s efforts and commentary – has taken to referring to Rep. Barry Doss, R-Leoma, who has taken the lead in pushing Haslam’s bill in the House – as “Boss Doss” in criticizing his commentary.

The latest example, under the headline “Boss Doss Claim That Tennessee is Lowest Taxed State in Nation Contradicted by Kiplinger Report” is HERE.

Continue reading

ABOUT THIS BLOG

Former Knoxville News Sentinel capitol bureau chief Tom Humphrey writes about Tennessee politics, government, and legislative news.

Subscribe by Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.