Seven-term lawmaker will not seek re-election
Nashville, TN – State Representative and House Majority Leader Jason Mumpower (R-Bristol) announced Thursday that he will not seek re-election this November to the 3rd State House District.
In a statement to the Tennessee House of Representatives on the House floor Thursday morning, Mumpower expressed his gratitude to the people he has represented in the 3rd District during his 14 years of service in Nashville. He was only 23 and was a recent graduate from King College when he won his first term two-year term as a state representative.
“I am so grateful to the people in Sullivan and Johnson Counties for their support of me,” Mumpower said. “It has been an honor to serve them, and I have thoroughly enjoyed the challenge. I’ve lost a lot of hair and put what I can only guess is more than 270,000 interstate miles on my cars driving from Bristol to Nashville to serve the 3rd District. I have made many, many friends, and I thank all of you for those friendships.”
In 2008, Mumpower led House Republicans to the first ever House Republican majority in the history of Tennessee. He was elected by his colleagues in December 2006 to serve as Republican Leader, and was re-elected to the position in 2008. Mumpower was first elected to the Tennessee House in 1996.
“Jason Mumpower is my representative, my longtime friend, and my ally,” said Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey. “I’m proud he led the House to its first Republican majority in history. I have been proud to call him my representative for these past years.”
In his remarks to the House, Mumpower told the story of an interview with Bill Watterson, the creator and writer of the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes. At the height of its popularity, Watterson simply stopped writing Calvin and Hobbes without explanation. Fifteen years later, in a rare interview when Watterson was asked why he stopped, he replied, “It’s always better to leave the party early.”
“Leader Mumpower has led the caucus with distinction for four years,” said House Republican Caucus Chairman Glen Casada. “He has held together this caucus through some very difficult times. I have been fortunate to be able to work alongside him and to call him a friend.”
Mumpower said he looks forward to the rest of this session of the 106th General Assembly. He added he “looks forward to the challenges ahead,” after his current service comes to a close.
“The benefit of having been first elected at the young age of 23 is that I could serve for 14 years here at the legislature and still be able to start a new phase in my career before I turn 40,” Mumpower said.
Mumpower will serve out his term through the end of 2010. A new representative for the 3rd House District will be elected this November.
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Statements on the retirement of House Majority Leader Jason Mumpower
Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey
“Jason Mumpower is my representative, my longtime friend, and my ally. I’m proud he led the House to its first Republican majority in history. Jason takes each challenge and meets it head-on. For the last ten years he has been elected by his colleagues to serve as a member of House leadership in some capacity and he has made countless contributions to the state through those positions. I have been proud to call him my representative for fourteen years. ”
Representative Jon Lundberg “Jason Mumpower is my good friend and my trusted leader. I’ll miss his leadership in the House greatly. I am proud of his service to Sullivan and Johnson Counties and I know all of our people back home will miss his service greatly as well. It is outstanding that at the young age of thirty-six Jason has already had such an outstanding career. Now he gets the opportunity to seek new challenges and start a new phase of that career. I am certain we have not seen the last of Jason Mumpower.”
House Republican Caucus Chairman Glen Casada: “Leader Mumpower has led the caucus with distinction for four years. He has held together this caucus with determination and vision. I have been fortunate to be able to work alongside him and call him a friend. He has championed the principles of limited government and traditional values for fourteen years. Jason raised money for Republican candidates and traveled the state to help them campaign. He has never wavered in his commitment to Republicans. His service and his leadership will be missed.”
House Republican Whip Debra Maggart
“House Republicans are in the majority today because of Jason Mumpower. I am so thankful for all that he has done for the Republican Party and for our caucus, and it has been such a pleasure to work with him on the House Republican leadership team. I have seen, from working so closely with Jason, his steady but firm hand and his thoughtful and passionate leadership. Jason Mumpower stands for what conservative Tennesseans believe in, small and accountable government. He exemplified that in his service as a legislator and his leadership as our Republican Leader. We will all miss him greatly in our caucus.”
Highlights of Jason Mumpower’s fourteen years of service with the Tennessee House of
Representatives include the following issues: Ethics Reform During the special session on ethics reform called in January 2006, Rep. Jason Mumpower helped to bring together a coalition of Democrats and Republicans to reach consensus on the landmark legislation. Following the ‘Tennessee Waltz’ FBI arrests of several legislators accused of corruption, the legislature debated the proposed sweeping ethics reform legislation for weeks. When the Senate and House passed different versions and the legislation was sent to a conference committee for yet further debate, Mumpower led the effort to find a consensus between Democrats and Republicans in both chambers to pass comprehensive ethics reform. The final bill known as “The Mumpower Plan” passed by an overwhelming vote of the General Assembly.
Rep. Jason Mumpower was a conservative voice against the proposed state income tax and helped defeat the proposal during the tax battles of 1999-2002. After months of reports being made to the legislature promoting the need for a new state income tax, Mumpower remained committed to his conservative principles of supporting a smaller, more efficient government and did not give in to pressures to support the income tax proposal. Often defeating bad legislation is even more important than passing new laws. Helping to defeat the state income tax is one of Mumpower’s proudest accomplishments.
Johnia Berry Act
In 2007 Rep. Jason Mumpower sponsored “The Johnia Berry Act” which requires DNA to be collected upon certain felony arrests and requires the DNA samples to be included in the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s database. The legislation strengthened Tennessee’s ability to solve crimes and take violent offenders off the streets, and has already led to arrests. The legislation was named after Johnia Berry, who had just graduated from East Tennessee State University and was preparing for graduate school at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville when she was brutally murdered in the early morning hours of December 6, 2004. Shortly after passage of the bill, her killer was apprehended.
As House Republican Leader, Rep. Jason Mumpower led the efforts to pass a host of conservative legislation endorsed and promoted by the House Republican Caucus. In a contract with Tennessee voters named the ‘Tennessee Trust’, the Republican Caucus, led by Mumpower, worked to pass a reduction in the sales tax on food in 2007, a constitutional amendment proposal to clarify the Tennessee constitution does not guarantee abortion rights, and legislation to expand the rights of citizens to carry legal firearms. By working to achieve the first ever Republican majority in the
Tennessee House, Mumpower helped further the success of conservative legislation in Tennessee more than ever before.