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‘Insure TN’ Brouhaha Brewing Between House, Senate?

Disagreement appears to have developed between the Republican-dominated chambers of the General Assembly over how to handle Gov. Bill Haslam’s “Insure Tennessee” proposal scheduled for discussion in a special session beginning Feb. 2.

On Thursday, leaders of the Tennessee Senate’s GOP supermajority indicated the upper chamber will be holding off on committee votes on the issue until the House approves a resolution authorizing Tennessee to sign up for the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion funding.

But that doesn’t seem to sit well with some Republicans in the House.

“Apparently, there was a Senate Republican Caucus meeting yesterday where it was fantasized to the effect that we would go through this process on Insure Tennessee through several committees before they even considered it in the Senate, and I would like to dispel that silly notion that they had in that Senate Republican Caucus meeting,” Majority Leader Gerald McCormick said Friday morning on the House floor.

“That will not happen,” said the Republican from Chattanooga, who is expected to attempt to guide the governor’s Insure Tennessee plan to approval in the House.

Haslam’s Medicaid expansion plan — the centerpiece of which is a system of Affordable Care Act-financed vouchers to allow the purchase of private-sector health insurance by lower income Tennesseans — has been met with skepticism by many members of the Republican Legislature, even as GOP leaders have pledged to keep an open mind about the expansion.

According to an emailed statement Friday from the office of Speaker of the House Beth Harwell, the lower-chamber leadership was under the impression “that the House and Senate would each run the resolutions concurrently. “

Harwell Urges House Members to Remember Constituents, Respect Each Other

Tennessee Speaker of the House Beth Harwell‘s 109th General Assembly Opening Remarks; January 13, 2015:

Judge Bivins, honorable members of the House of Representatives, other elected officials, and the citizens of our great state, welcome to the opening session of the 109th Tennessee General Assembly.

Members, the voters have given you the privilege of being their chosen representatives. The success of any republic is predicated on men and women, such as you, offering yourselves up for public service. Ben Franklin wrote, “In free governments, the rulers are the servants, and the people their superiors and sovereigns.” Thank you for your willingness to serve.

To our new members, I welcome you to this body as fellow colleagues, and I look forward to working with each of you. You bring fresh ideas, new energy, and diverse experiences and backgrounds to this legislative body. I look forward to you putting these things to work for the betterment of our state.

In the 17th century, physicist and mathematician Sir Isaac Newton spurred the scientific revolution and developed the modern principles of physics. Today, he is perhaps best known for his law of gravity. However, Newton did not take all the credit for his accomplishments. In fact, he stated, “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.”

Today, each of us stands on the shoulders of our families, friends and supporters. We would not be here without your love, friendship, unwavering support, and hard work. Let’s give them a hand. Since the 108th General Assembly adjourned over eight months ago, the work of the legislature and the administration has been recognized nationally for improving the quality of life and the economic climate in our state:

  • For the second year in a row, Tennessee was named “State of the Year” for economic development by Business Facilities magazine.
  • In addition, Tennessee was named a top five state for doing business according to Area Development magazine. The Volunteer state was ranked number one for overall infrastructure and global access; number one for distribution and supply-chain hubs; and number one for certified sites and shovel-ready programs.

This is an impressive record for Tennessee, but there is much more to be done. With the business of our state before us, we must seize the opportunities that await us.

To my fellow members, before we begin the people’s business today, I ask three things of you:

First, please remember we are representatives of our constituents who elected us. These seats in the House of Representatives do not belong to us as members. They belong to the sixty-five thousand citizens in each of the districts we represent.

I am reminded of a quote by Roger Sherman, member of the Constitutional Convention of 1787: “Representatives ought to return home and mix with the people. By remaining at the seat of government, they would acquire the habits of the place, which might differ from those of their constituents.”

As a part-time, citizen legislature as envisioned by the framers of our state constitution, it is important that we spend time at home, in our districts, living under the laws we pass. I encourage you to go home each weekend and to stay in touch with your constituents.

Second, please respect your colleagues. I ask members of both sides of the aisle to maintain decorum and to treat each other as you would like to be treated. Members represent different districts and are entitled to their own views. To quote Thomas Jefferson, “I never considered a difference of opinion in politics…as cause for withdrawing from a friend.”

While Washington, D.C., remains mired in partisan gridlock, our state legislature will work toward building a better Tennessee. At times, we will respectfully disagree, but I am confident that when it comes to creating a better and more prosperous Tennessee, there is more that we will agree on than not.

Finally, let’s all work together for the good of our state. Baseball legend Babe Ruth said, “The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.”

Forty years ago, Tennessee adopted as our slogan, “America at its Best.” It’s a high standard, but we are just getting started. In the coming weeks, let’s work together to live up to our state motto and work to indeed make Tennessee the best state in the union to start and grow a business, to raise a family, and to retire. The future of our state, and the future of our children like those gathered in the galleries today, depend on it.

Ladies and gentlemen, today we convene a promising new session of the General Assembly. Let’s get to work! Thank you.

Herron: Guv’s Education Summit will Ignore GOP’s ‘War’ on Public Education

Press release from the Tennessee Democratic Party; September 18, 2014:

NASHVILLE, Tenn.– Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Roy Herron released the following statement today on the governor’s education summit in Nashville:

“Today’s education summit and its focus on Common Core is just a minor skirmish that ignores the major battles being waged by Republicans in their on-going War on Public Schools. This administration’s education policies feed fat cats while starving students and teachers. Out-of-state corporations and in-state segregation academies are pilfering, plundering, and profiting from the private pickpocketing of public funds.

“Virtual schools have been a complete failure, sending tens of millions of taxpayer dollars to an out-of-state corporation while students receive one day (nine hours) a year in actual instruction. The K-12, Inc. Virtual Academy has been literally the worst performing school in the state.

“Instead of giving needs-based scholarships to tens of thousands more qualified students, or giving Tennessee’s teachers the two-percent raise he’d promised them, the state’s first billionaire governor has continued abolishing the inheritance tax on billionaires, so that hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars go to rich heirs and heiresses while schools do without.

“The administration’s vaunted “Tennessee Promise” promises much but delivers little and has simply moved money from the lottery scholarship fund in a shell game while adding not a single dime in new funding for education and also hurting four-year universities.

“We should be investing in the success of our public schools, our teachers, and our students, not draining hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars into private pockets. Rather than taking our students to a ‘summit’, these Republican raids on taxpayer dollars for out-of-state corporations and in-state segregation academies will take Tennessee schools down the wrong road.”

Haslam, General Assembly Speakers to Convene Education Summit in Nashville

Press release from the office of Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam; September 2, 2014:

Review of Tennessee’s progress, update on current status and discussion on future success

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam joined Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey and House Speaker Beth Harwell today to announce that key stakeholders of K-12 education from across the state will come together in Nashville on Thursday, September 18 for Tennessee’s Education Summit: Progress of the Past, Present and Future.

“There is nothing more important to the future of our state than getting education right,” Haslam said. “We are making historic progress in Tennessee, and as part of that progress there has been a lot of change and discussion. This is a chance to review where we’ve been, take a look at where we are today, and make sure we’re planning for where we want to go.”

“The progress our state has made in education over the past few years has been nothing short of remarkable. As the cause of reform continues, it is important to take stock and reflect on our past successes with an eye towards mapping our future progress,” Ramsey said. “It is now more important than ever to ensure we provide our students with a strong, world-class education rooted in Tennessee values. I look forward to this opportunity to listen, learn and discuss how Tennessee can build on its historic gains in education.”

“We need to ensure that Tennessee students are getting the very best education possible, so that they can compete on the global stage,” Harwell said. “One of the most important things we can do as policymakers is facilitate discussions with those stakeholders who are working with our children every day, and determine what progress we have made, and where we can do better. We have made significant progress, but there is more that can be done.”

Participants of the meeting will be educators, administrators, elected officials, business leaders, higher education officials and representatives from advocacy groups including the following:

Achievement School District
Drive to 55 Alliance
Professional Educators of Tennessee
State Collaborative on Reforming Education
Superintendent Study Council
Teach Plus
Tennessee Association for Administrators in Special Education
Tennessee Association of Colleges for Teacher Education
Tennessee Board of Regents
Tennessee Business Roundtable
Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Tennessee Charter School Center
Tennessee County Services Association
Tennessee Department of Education
Tennessee Education Association
Tennessee Higher Education Commission
Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association
Tennessee Municipal League
Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents
Tennessee Parent-Teacher Association
Tennessee Principals Association
Tennessee School Boards Association
Tennessee State Board of Education
University of Tennessee

Four senators appointed by Ramsey and five House members appointed by Harwell will also participate in the summit.

Justice Bivins Calls for ‘Yes on 2’ at TN Farm Bureau Federation Conference

Press release from the Vote Yes on 2 Campaign; August 22, 2014:

Nashville, Tenn. – Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Jeff Bivins, speaking at the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation Annual Presidents Conference on August 14, urged those in attendance to Vote YES on 2 when they go to polls this fall. The Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation is also urging the passage of Amendment 2.

Amendment 2 keeps the best parts of our current system by continuing to trust the Governor to appoint the most qualified persons as appellate judges, while adding a new layer of accountability by having our elected representatives in the legislature confirm or reject the Governor’s appointees. Most importantly, Amendment 2 protects the right of Tennesseans to vote to keep or fire the judges at the end of their respective terms.

Justice Bivins said Amendment 2 brings important new clarity and accountability to the process of selecting Tennessee’s Supreme Court and appellate court judges. But he warned that failure to pass Amendment 2 could open the door to costly statewide judicial races, full of negative advertising largely funded by out of state special interests.

“You got a taste in these past weeks with the negative advertisements and the mailers.” Justice Bivins said. “But you saw only the tip of the iceberg of what can happen.”

“Our Farm Bureau policy supports an independent and qualified judiciary,” said Lacy Upchurch, President of the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation. “Our grassroots members have directed us to work to ensure partisan politics and campaign fundraising do not influence the selection and retention of judges. We support the Yes on 2 efforts and believe passage will provide a judicial system of which we can all be proud.”

Amendment 2 enjoys strong support from a diverse and bipartisan group of top leaders from across the state, including Governor Bill Haslam, former Governor Phil Bredesen, former U.S. Senator Fred Thompson, former Governor Winfield Dunn, Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey, Speaker Beth Harwell, House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh, former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, large majorities in the State House and Senate, and many more.

Amendment 2 has also been endorsed by other leading organizations including the Tennessee Bar Association, the League of Women Voters, Fraternal Order of Police, the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Beacon Center of Tennessee, and the Tennessee Business Roundtable.

Election Day is November 4, 2014, and early voting on the constitutional amendments begins October 15, 2014. For more information, visit VoteYes2.org.

Alexander Announces First Round of Democrat, Independent Supporters

Press release from the Campaign for Lamar Alexander for U.S. Senate; August 10, 2014:

First round of Democrats and Independents includes former Congressman John Tanner, seven former or current mayors, former UT football Coach Johnny Majors, an Olympic Gold Medalist and numerous civic and political leaders from across the state

NASHVILLE – The Alexander for Senate campaign today announced the first round of “Tennesseans for Alexander,” a list of Democrats and Independents statewide who are supporting Lamar Alexander’s re-election to the U.S. Senate this fall.

“Every time I’ve run for office I’ve done my best to earn the support of Democrats and Independents as well as Republicans, because it is my job to represent all Tennesseans once I am elected,” Alexander said. “My goal is to get results, and that means working with people who know how to help solve problems for Tennessee and for our country.”

During his 2008 re-election campaign, Alexander announced two rounds of “Tennesseans for Alexander,” totaling more than 50 members. This year’s first round includes 30 members.

Former Congressman John Tanner, a Democrat who represented the 8th Congressional District from 1989 to 2011 and was in the Tennessee General Assembly from 1976 to 1988, joined the group this year. Tanner said he is supporting Alexander after years of working together on roads, the Northwest Tennessee Regional Port Authority and other issues.

“There are times in this business when friendships and loyalties should be more important than politics, and this is one of those times,” Tanner said. “Lamar Alexander has always been a friend and loyal to my old district, helping us do everything we needed to do to be successful and bring jobs to rural West Tennessee.”

This year’s list is geographically balanced across East, Middle and West Tennessee and also includes seven current or former mayors, an Olympic gold medalist, former University of Tennessee Coach Johnny Majors and numerous civic and political leaders. The list includes:

East Tennessee

  • Oak Ridge Mayor Tom Beehan
  • Etta Clark, Eastman executive from Kingsport
  • Jim Hall of Chattanooga, aide to former Gov. Ned McWherter and chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board during the Clinton administration
  • Jack Fishman, Morristown-based business man, civic leader and newspaper publisher
  • Former University of Tennessee President Joe Johnson
  • Former Chattanooga Mayor Jon Kinsey
  • Johnny Majors, former University of Tennessee football coach
  • Former State Senator Carl Moore of Bristol
  • Former Knox County Mayor Tommy Schumpert

Middle Tennessee

  • Steve Bogard, Nashville songwriter
  • Dave Cooley, deputy and chief of staff to former Gov. Phil Bredesen
  • Aubrey Harwell, prominent Nashville attorney
  • State Senator Doug Henry, longest-serving member of the Tennessee General Assembly
  • Patsy Mathews, political activist and widow of former U.S. Senator Harlan Mathews
  • Linda Peak Schacht, Nashville university professor and former aide to President Jimmy Carter and former Senate Majority Leader Robert Byrd
  • James Pratt, former staffer to former U.S. Senator Jim Sasser
  • Former Nashville Mayor Bill Purcell
  • Fate Thomas, Jr. of Nashville, who recently resurrected the Sure Shot Rabbit Hunter’s Supper, a gathering for Middle Tennessee politicians founded by his father, the late Sheriff Fate Thomas
  • Anna Windrow, Nashville business woman, former aide to former Lt. Gov. Frank Gorrell, former Senator Jim Sasser and former Gov. Phil Bredesen
  • Emily Wiseman, former executive director of the Tennessee Commission on Aging

West Tennessee

  • Laura Adams, executive director of Shelby Farms Park
  • Former State Supreme Court Judge George Brown, the first African American to serve on the court, appointed by then-Gov. Alexander
  • Brenda Duckett, Memphis business woman and community education activist
  • Jackson Mayor Jerry Gist
  • Bishop William Graves of Memphis, former senior bishop of Christian Methodist Episcopal Church and former member of the Tennessee Valley Authority board
  • Former Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton
  • Cato Johnson, Memphis hospital executive
  • Former Shelby County Mayor Bill Morris
  • Rochelle Stevens, Memphis business woman and Olympic gold medalist
  • Former Congressman John Tanner

The Alexander campaign is chaired by Congressman Jimmy Duncan, with co-chairmen Governor Bill Haslam, U.S. Senator Bob Corker, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, Speaker Beth Harwell, as well as Congressmen Blackburn, Roe, Black, Fincher, and Fleischmann.

The campaign’s Honorary Co-Chairmen include former U.S. Senators Howard Baker (1925-2014), Bill Brock, Bill Frist and Fred Thompson, as well as former Governors Winfield Dunn and Don Sundquist.
Serving as Honorary Co-Chairs of the Statewide Committee to Elect Lamar Alexander are all 13 living former state Republican Party chairs.

TFA: Legislature’s GOP Leaders ‘Ignoring Constitutional Right and Life Safety of Citizens’

Letter from the Tennessee Firearms Association; December 20, 2013:

Dear Tennessee Firearms Owner,

In case you missed it this week, Tennessee’s Republican leadership have indicated that Tennessee’s firearms owners are not a priority for them in 2014. In fact Beth Harwell, the Speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives, apparently wants to keep you and your constitutional rights out in the cold again next year.

At a press conference this week she discussed her priorities for the 2014 legislative session and the right to keep and bear arms was not a priority for her or her fellow establishment henchmen. She doesn’t care about you or me, or our constitutionally protected right of self defense. This of course comes as no surprise as she has actively blocked firearms legislation in the past, and is no friend to the firearms owners in Tennessee.

How can it be in Tennessee that the ability to defend your life and your family is not a priority for Republican leadership?

Sadly, it is not hard to envision that Speaker Harwell may be taking many of her marching orders from Governor Haslam who was a member of the Mayors Against Guns coalition run by infamous gun-grabber Mayor Bloomberg of New York. One could easily conclude from the last three years that Governor Haslam has sent instructions down to Speaker Harwell and Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey that they are not allowed to send any significant firearms legislation to his desk. This is the same Haslam who several years ago promissed the Tennessee Firearms Association that he would sign a law adopting Constitutional Carry in Tennessee but who, once governor, has never asked for that law to be put on his desk! We must ask whether Tennessee’s current Republican leadership is representing Tennesseans and their constitutional rights or are they more interested in Bloomberg’s mission and the interests of Federal Express and the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce?

But we have all heard this before.

In the summer a few years ago, then Representative Debra Maggart, the number three leader in the Republican controlled Tennessee House of Representatives, stated to me that Republican leaders did not want to offer, publicly debate or even pass pro-gun legislation in election years because they think protecting the Second Amendment interests of the citizens would hurt their chances as Republicans to gain more power in the elections. Fortunately for us the voters in her district decided overwhelmingly to give her the pink slip when she asked to be re-elected in 2012. Of course much of that was due to your help in defending your rights and working with TFA’s Political Action Committee.

It is shameful that the Republican establishment leadership seems to be planning to continue ignoring the constitutional rights and life safety of citizens even after the grassroots spoke so loudly to throw Debra Maggart out of office.

The cold shoulder given by Establishment leadership like Bloomburg, Haslam, Ramsey and Harwell to ‘We The People’ is unacceptable. We expect it from Obama, Pelosi and Reid but not from “true” Republicans.

The fact of the matter is that the Tennessee Firearms Association and its members have different ideas about the 2014 legislative session. We will be fighting hard next year to expand the right to keep and bear arms in Tennessee. We are looking to grow our organization and we want you to grow with us. But in order to be successful we need your help.

As we prepare to hold our politicians accountable, as we prepare to stop bad legislation, as we prepare to go against the weak-knee Establishment leaders, and as we work to protect those legislators and candidates who do prioritize the Constitution ahead of mere partisanship, we need your help. We will be in the trenches, will you be there with us? We are committing substantial resources to mobilizing this battle like never before, will you be there with us?

You see, this is a war we can win but to win it we must have enough tools and resources. And the tools we need are not just your friendship, well wishes and hopes. With the Establishment relying on Bloomburg and Big Business money, the enemy has defined the battlefield to include massive financial resources. So I am forced by our opposition to ask for your most generous contribution of $25, $35, $75, or $100 today.

If you are willing to invest in our shared cause, please visit this page right now to contribute: http://www.tfaonline.org/index.php/legislation/donate

In liberty,

John Harris
Executive Director
Tennessee Firearms Association

Heimbach Announced As New State Architect

Press release from the Office of Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey; November 15, 2013:

NASHVILLE — Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey (R-Blountville) and Speaker Beth Harwell (R-Nashville) today announced the selection of Peter Heimbach as Tennessee’s new state architect. Heimbach succeeds Bob Oglesby who was named Commissioner of General Services in August. The State Building Commission unanimously approved the decision at its November meeting. Heimbach was selected after a three-month selection process.

“Peter Heimbach has the talent, skills and experience to serve Tennessee well as state architect,” said Lt. Governor Ramsey. “Peter will work hard to maximize efficiency in our capital projects and make sure taxpayer dollars are spent wisely and in the best interest of our state.”

“The State Building Commission has made an excellent choice,” said Speaker Harwell. “I am confident that Peter will do an excellent job overseeing important building and land projects for the state.”

A graduate of the University of Tennessee’s architecture program, Peter Heimbach spent twelve years at Beeson, Lusk and Street, Inc. as an architect and project manager overseeing development, design and construction of numerous municipal and state projects. A member of The American Institute of Architects (AIA), Heimbach currently serves the state as the executive director of Tennessee’s Real Estate Asset Management division.

“I’d like to thank the members of the State Building Commission for the confidence they have shown in me. I’m looking forward to working with designers and builders across the state in this new role,” Heimbach said.

The State Architect serves as the curator of the State Capitol and grounds, oversees the state’s building and land development projects and develops design standards for agencies. Alan Robertson has served as acting State Architect since August to allow time for a thorough selection process.

TN Gov’t Leaders Recognized Nationally with Awards, Leadership Positions

Press release from the Tennessee Senate Republican Caucus; September 30, 2013:

Tennessee’s state government leaders have gained national acclaim recently being elected or recognized for several national leadership roles. Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey, Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris, Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett and State Treasurer David Lillard have all been elected to bi-partisan national leadership positions, while Speaker of the House of Representatives Beth Harwell recently received a prestigious award by the Women in Numbers organization.

“Tennessee has several rising stars who are now in key positions of national leadership,” said House Republican Caucus Chairman Glen Casada (R-Thompson Station). “This is a tremendous compliment to the caliber of men and women that we have serving the citizens of this state in the Tennessee General Assembly and in our state government.”

The positions include:

  • Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey was elected to the Board of Directors of the bi-partisan National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) that serves legislators and staffs nationwide with research, technical assistance and opportunities for policymakers to exchange ideas on the most pressing state issues. Ramsey also serves on the Republican Lt. Governors Association Board (RLGA) and the Legislative Leaders Advisory Board of GOPAC.
  • Tennessee Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris was elected Chairman of the non-partisan Council of State Governments (CSG) which serves all three branches of government in 50 states and Puerto Rico with international affiliates in the Provincial and Federal governments of Canada. CSG fosters and encourages intergovernmental cooperation among its member states.
  • Secretary of State Tre Hargett is President of the National Association of State Secretaries (NASS). The group, which is the oldest, nonpartisan professional organization for public officials, serves as a medium for the exchange of information between states and fosters cooperation in the development of public policy.
  • Treasurer David Lillard was elected to the Executive Committee of the bi-partisan National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers and Treasurers (NASACT), which is an organization for state officials who deal with the financial management of state government.

Meanwhile, House Speaker Beth Harwell was honored with a national “Trailblazer Award” by a nonpartisan group’s Tennessee chapter that encourages more women to go into politics. Harwell is the first female Speaker of the House of Representatives in Tennessee.

“Tennessee’s sound financial footing and reputation for being a well-managed state has been recognized by numerous national organizations,” added Senate Republican Caucus Chairman Bill Ketron (R- Murfreesboro). “We believe we have the finest Treasurer, Secretary of State and Comptroller with Justin Wilson in the nation. Obviously, other states’ leaders recognize this as well. Speaker Harwell, Lt. Governor Ramsey and Leader Norris have also represented Tennessee extremely well in national roles. I am very proud to work alongside them in the General Assembly.”

Former TNGOP Chair Named to TN Economic Council on Women

Press release from the Office of Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey; September 16, 2013:

(September 16, 2013, NASHVILLE) – Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey (R-Blountville) and Speaker Beth Harwell (R-Nashville) today appointed Robin Smith of Hixson to the Tennessee Economic Council on Women.

“Robin Smith is the kind of strong conservative woman who can serve as a true role model for all women in Tennessee,” said Lt. Governor Ramsey. “A skilled advocate for free markets and economic growth, I look forward to her ideas on how to use the council to empower our state’s women economically.”

“Robin Smith has been a passionate advocate for women’s economic advancement in our state for years,” said Speaker Harwell. “I am excited that she has agreed to serve to further the economic betterment of women, children and families in Tennessee.”

Smith graduated from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville with a degree in nursing and is certified in project management through Stanford University.

Smith served as the chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party from 2007 to 2009. During her tenure, Tennessee Republicans gained majorities in both houses of the General Assembly for the first time since Reconstruction.

A former Tennessee Human Rights Commissioner, Smith currently serves on a variety of boards and writes a weekly column for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Smith is founder and head of Rivers Edge Alliance, a management and consulting firm and is currently a partner in SmithWaterhouse Strategies, a public affairs and public relations agency.

“I’m grateful to Lt. Governor Ramsey for offering me the opportunity to serve our state,” said Smith. “I look forward to working on behalf of women across the grand divisions of Tennessee to promote free market, pro-growth policies that lead to economic empowerment for women.”

The Tennessee Economic Council on Women is a state agency created under TCA § 4-50-100 in 1998 to assess economic status of Tennessee women. The Council’s mission is to develop and advocate for solutions to help women achieve financial independence and economic autonomy.