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Tennessee House GOP selects first female speaker in state history

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November 30, 2010

Beth Harwell, first elected to the Tennessee House of Representatives in 1988. Harwell has been nominated to be House Speaker in the 2011 session.

NASHVILLE, Tennessee: Following a 17-seat gain in the House elections on November 2, Republicans have nominated the first-ever female speaker in Tennessee history.

Beth Harwell received the GOP nomination during the House Republican caucus.[1]

Harwell, who has served in the House since 1988, defeated Matthew Kenigson (D) in the general election. She defeated Glen Casada in the race for speaker.

One order of business Harwell has stressed is ensuring that the legislative session ends before June. To that end, she plans to limit the number of bills and resolutions that are introduced.[2]

Harwell said, "Certainly, if we've heard anything from the public, it's that they don't want a lot of more regulation and mandates on their lives, so I think that would serve our caucus well — to look at not introducing a lot of legislation."[2]

The partisan breakdowns after the election are as follows:


Tennessee State Senate
Party As of November 1, 2010 After the 2010 Election
     Democratic Party 14 13
     Republican Party 19 20
Total 33 33


Tennessee House of Representatives
Party As of November 1, 2010 After the 2010 Election
     Democratic Party 48 34
     Republican Party 51 64
     Independent 1 1
Total 99 99


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