Lt. Governor Randy McNally on Thursday announced state Senate committee assignments for the 111th General Assembly. Lt. Governor McNally was re-elected Speaker of the Senate on Tuesday.
Lt. Governor McNally praised his fellow members in announcing the assignments.
"This Senate is made up of some of the smartest and strongest leaders with whom I have had the privilege to serve,” he said.
“Each of our senators could serve on any number of our committees and do well. I am grateful to have such a strong membership. I am confident we have assembled the best team to do the people’s business.”
Former Commerce and Labor Chairman Senator Jack Johnson (R-Franklin) and former State and Local Chairman Senator Ken Yager (R-Kingston) were recently elected Senate Majority Leader and Senate Republican Caucus Chairman respectively, leaving two committee chair vacancies. The resulting changes will elevate two Senators to chairman and give five committees new chairmen.
Mr. McNally also re-appointed Senator Ferrell Haile (R-Gallatin) as the Speaker Pro Tempore and Senator Janice Bowling (R-Tullahoma) as Deputy Speaker.
Lt. Governor McNally made the following statements about the Senate committee chairs.
Commerce and Labor Committee Chairman Senator Paul Bailey (R-Sparta)
“Paul Bailey is a business owner and a conservative. He intimately understands the needs of entrepreneurs and employers as well as workers and wage earners. He served with distinction as Transportation and Safety Committee chairman. I am confident he will do the same at Commerce. I am proud to appoint him.”
Education Committee Chairman Senator Dolores Gresham (R-Somerville)
“Tennessee’s road to most improved status in education was a tough fight. That fight was led by a colonel. Dolores Gresham has been at the forefront of education reform in this state. She is an experienced legislator and a strong conservative. Her record speaks for itself. I was proud to reappoint her.”
Energy, Agriculture and Natural Resources Chairman Senator Steve Southerland (R-Morristown)
“Steve Southerland has been an exemplary chairman. He understands the subject matter and provides excellent leadership for the committee and staff. I look forward to his continued good work.”
Finance Ways and Means Committee Chairman Senator Bo Watson (R-Hixson)
“Tennessee’s outstanding fiscal health is not a matter of luck. It is the work of dedicated public servants making smart and tough decisions. Bo Watson is one of the most critical of those servants. Bo’s hard work has kept Tennessee’s fiscal house in order. It will remain in order as long as Bo Watson is the chairman. I am proud to reappoint him.”
“I appreciate the confidence that Lt. Governor McNally has placed in me to continue serving as chairman of this committee,” said Chairman Watson. “I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure Tennessee continues to be among the best financially managed states in the nation.”
Government Operations Committee Chairman Senator Kerry Roberts (R-Springfield)
“Kerry Roberts is a strong conservative leader. He is committed to keeping government small, efficient and accountable. Under his leadership, the Government Operations Committee will continue to provide the essential legislative oversight Tennesseans demand. He will be a great chairman.”
Health and Welfare Committee Chairman Rusty Crowe (R-Johnson City)
“Rusty Crowe’s leadership of the Health and Welfare Committee has been outstanding. Rusty's steady hand and experience will continue to keep the committee on course. I appreciate his service and am grateful for his strong leadership.”
Judiciary Committee Chairman Senator Mike Bell (R-Riceville)
“Mike Bell’s commitment to judicial accountability and the rule of law is well-known and well-established. His leadership on the Government Operations Committee set new standards for excellence. I am confident he will do the same with the Judiciary Committee. A conservative leader with unquestioned integrity, I know he will be an outstanding chairman of Judiciary.”
“I appreciate the opportunity to head this committee” said Senator Bell. “There are many important issues that will be heard during the 2019-2020 legislative sessions. I look forward to working with my colleagues to improve public safety and our court system.”
State and Local Government Chairman Senator Steve Dickerson (R-Nashville)
“Steve Dickerson has represented Davidson County with great distinction in the Senate. His leadership over the Investigations and Oversight subcommittee has brought increased accountability and transparency to state government. He is a dedicated legislator who always honors his commitment to do what’s right. I believe he will make an outstanding State and Local Committee Chairman. I was proud to appoint him.”
Transportation and Safety Chairman Senator Becky Massey (R-Knoxville)
“Becky Massey is a compassionate legislator dedicated to representing her constituents. She understands the importance of transportation to our economy and is dedicated to keeping Tennessee citizens safe. Her talents and abilities are perfect for this committee. I know she will do well.”
Calendar Committee Chairman Senator Ed Jackson (R-Jackson)
“Ed Jackson is a critical member of our Senate team. He has served his constituents well and made a strong impact on the Senate. He is a respected servant leader. I am grateful he will be serving as our Calendar Committee Chair.”
Ethics Committee Chairman Senator Briggs (R-Knoxville)
“A senator of unquestioned integrity, Richard Briggs is the obvious choice for Chairman of Ethics. I know he will continue to do an outstanding job.”