Ron Ramsey

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Ron Ramsey
Ron Ramsey.jpg
Lieutenant Governor of Tennessee
Tennessee State Senate, District 4
In office
1996 - Present
Term ends
November 8, 2016
Years in position 18
PredecessorJohn Shelton Wilder (D)
Speaker of the Senate
Base salary$20,203/year
Per diem$188/legislative day
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 6, 2012
First elected1996
Next generalNovember 8, 2016
Campaign $$4,104,915
Term limitsNone
Prior offices
Tennessee State Senate
1997 - Present
Tennessee House of Representatives
1990 - 1996
High schoolSullivan Central High School, 1973
Bachelor'sEast Tennessee State University, 1978
BirthdayNovember 20, 1955
Place of birthJohnson City, TN
ProfessionReal Estate Broker/Auctioneer
Office website
Personal website
Ron Ramsey (b. November 20, 1955, in Johnson City, Tennessee) is the current Speaker of the Tennessee State Senate, representing Senate District 4. He was first elected to to the Senate in 1996 and was named Speaker in 2007. As speaker, he also serves as Lieutenant Governor of Tennessee.

Ramsey led the GOP takeover of the Senate, succeeding long-term Democratic Lieutenant Governor John S. Wilder in 2007. Unlike most states, the lieutenant governor is not elected by voters but instead elected by the state General Assembly. Ramsey garnered all of the GOP senators and one Democratic senator, Rosalind Kurita of Clarksville, in the vote for lieutenant governor. In doing so, he became the first Republican speaker in the state in 140 years. He also holds the title of longest serving Republican speaker in Tennessee history.[1]

Ramsey previously served in the General Assembly as a member of the Tennessee House of Representatives from 1990-1996. He made an unsuccessful bid for governor in 2010.

Ramsey was a prominent opponent of retention of three Tennessee Supreme Court justices in 2014. For more detailed coverage of the Tennessee Supreme Court race, check out Judgepedia's coverage of the election. To learn more about Ramsey's views on the state's judiciary, jump down to the section titled "Role in 2014 judicial elections."


Ramsey graduated from Sullivan Central High School during 1973, and later obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in 1978, majoring in Industrial Technology at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City.[1] He is a member of the advisory board of the Farm Credit Association, a former president of the Blountville Business Association, and a former president and current member of the Bristol TN-VA Association of Realtors. He currently works as a real estate broker and an auctioneer.[1]

Committee assignments


At the beginning of the 2013 legislative session, Ramsey served on the following committees:

Tennessee Committee Assignments, 2013


In the 2011-2012 legislative session, Ramsey served on these committees:


Role in judicial retention election

See also: Tennessee Supreme Court elections, 2014 on Judgepedia

Ramsey played an active role in opposing the retention of three Tennessee Supreme Court judges in the primary election on August 7, 2014. He argued in interviews with local media that voters had the right to vote yes or no for retention, though he hoped to see Cornelia Clark, Gary R. Wade and Sharon Lee out of office in favor of Republican-appointed judges. Clark, Wade and Lee were appointed by former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen. Ramsey's efforts included presentations to business and victims' rights groups claiming that the judges were "soft on crime."[2] All three judges were retained by voters on August 7.[3]

Support for judicial selection measure

Ramsey has also joined with Gov. Bill Haslam in supporting Amendment 2, a proposed constitutional amendment on the November general election ballot that would require confirmation of state judicial nominees by the Tennessee State Legislature. In an interview with Nashville Scene, Ramsey argued that his anti-retention stance in the supreme court race would not impact voter approval of Amendment 2:

Q: The governor yesterday say he is worried that the campaign to defeat the three incumbent justices might “muddy the waters,” his words, on his “Yes on 2” campaign. You disagree, presumably?

RAMSEY: I have not talked to the governor about this but I cannot connect the dots on that one. If anything, if we have a true election — as the supreme court has said retention elections are and the people get the right to either retain or not retain — that legitimizes the retention election process. And in my opinion, in the end, will actually help the amendment pass, not hurt the amendment. I cannot understand any argument where it actually hurts it. I don’t. Now, I have not talked to the governor about this. I read it in the news accounts, and I will, I just haven’t had a chance yet. But I cannot understand that argument at all.


Nashville Scene, (2014), [5]

Health Care Compact

Ramsey announced his support for the Health Care Compact on February 7, 2011.

Tax relief exemption

Lt. Gov. Ramsey and Sen. Ken Yager co-sponsored a bill to raise the standard exemption on the Hall Tax in 2011. Gov. Bill Haslam included the measure in his 2011 budget plan.

The Hall Tax relief included in the budget applies to Tennesseans age 65 and older. Of the individuals who pay the Hall Tax, 48 percent are age 65 and older.

“We tell middle class folks to save and invest for their retirement and then we punish them for it by taxing their nest egg,” said Ramsey. “Working men and women of modest means who have saved wisely should not have to see their hard-earned dollars taxed. This exemption will aid middle class people who live modestly get a break on their hard earned savings.”

“I am delighted Governor Haslam has included Hall Tax relief for senior citizens in his supplemental budget plan,” said Senator Yager. “This was part of my platform when I ran for State Senate; therefore, I am very pleased that it was included in the Governor’s budget. This puts the bill in excellent shape moving into the final days of this legislative session and making this tax relief closer to reality for many senior citizens across Tennessee.”[6]



See also: Tennessee State Senate elections, 2012

Ramsey ran in the 2012 election for Tennessee State Senate District 4. Ramsey ran unopposed in the Republican primary on August 2, 2012. He was unchallenged in the general election which took place on November 6, 2012.[7]


See also: Tennessee gubernatorial election, 2010

In 2010 Ramsey made an unsuccessful bid for Governor of Tennessee, coming in third in the primary.[8]

2010 Race for Governor - Republican Primary[9]
Candidates Percentage
Green check mark.jpg Bill Haslam (R) 47.5%
Joe Kirkpatrick (R) 0.9%
Basil Marceaux(R) 0.5%
Ron Ramsey (R) 22.0%
Zach Wamp 29.1%
Total votes 717,038


On Nov. 4, 2008, Ramsey won re-election to the 2nd District Seat in the Tennessee State Senate, defeating opponent Bill Jones(D).[10]

Ramsey raised $260,823 for his campaign while Jones raised $6,633.[11]

Tennessee State Senate, District 2 (2008)
Candidates Votes
Green check mark transparent.png Ron Ramsey (R) 48,774
Bill Jones (D) 18,292

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Ramsey is available dating back to 1996. Based on available campaign finance records, Ramsey raised a total of $4,104,915 during that time period. This information was last updated on May 14, 2013.[12]

Ron Ramsey's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2012 Tennessee State Senate, District 4 Won $144,300
2010 Governor of Tennessee/Tennessee State Senate, District 2* Defeated $3,140,361
2008 Tennessee State Senate, District 2 Won $260,823
2006 Tennessee State Senate, District 2 Not up for election $136,810
2004 Tennessee State Senate, District 2 Won $246,465
2000 Tennessee State Senate, District 2 Won $97,979
1996 Tennessee State Senate, District 2 Won $78,177
Grand Total Raised $4,104,915
* In 2010, Ramsey raised $37,550 for his Senate seat, which was not up for re-election, and $3,102,811 for the governor's race, which he lost in the primary.


Ramsey won re-election to the Tennessee State Senate in 2012. During that election cycle, Ramsey raised a total of $144,660.
Tennessee State Senate 2012 election - Campaign Contributions
Top contributors to Ron Ramsey's campaign in 2012
Federal Express$13,700
Tennessee Association Of Realtors$8,500
Tennessee Business Roundtable Business Pac$5,000
Wine & Spirits Wholesalers Of Tennessee$5,000
Total Raised in 2012$144,660
Source:Follow the Money


In 2010, Ramsey ran in the Republican gubernatorial primary and raised money for his State Senate campaign in 2012.

Ballotpedia collects information on campaign donors for each year in which a candidate or incumbent is running for election. The following table offers a breakdown of Ron Ramsey's donors each year.[13] Click [show] for more information.

Ramsey was not up for election to the Tennessee State Senate in 2010. During that election cycle, Ramsey raised a total of $37,550.


Ramsey won re-election to the Tennessee State Senate in 2008. During that election cycle, Ramsey raised a total of $136,810.


Ramsey was not up for election to the Tennessee State Senate in 2006. During that election cycle, Ramsey raised a total of $136,810.


Ramsey won re-election to the Tennessee State Senate in 2004. During that election cycle, Ramsey raised a total of $246,465.


Ramsey won re-election to the Tennessee State Senate in 2000. During that election cycle, Ramsey raised a total of $97,979.


Ramsey won re-election to the Tennessee State Senate in 1996. During that election cycle, Ramsey raised a total of $78,177.

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Political offices
Preceded by
Tennessee State Senate District 2
September 1995-2012
Succeeded by
Doug Overbey (R)
Preceded by
Mike Faulk (R)
Tennessee State Senate District 4
Succeeded by
Preceded by
John S. Wilder (D)
Lieutenant Governor of Tennessee
Succeeded by