Beth Harwell Remains Speaker Of The House

Posted at 3:55 PM, Nov 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-17 21:39:16-05

In a 40-30 vote, Beth Harwell defeated Jimmy Matlock and will keep her position as Speaker of the House.

The vote came after months of uncertainty for Tennessee legislators and for the Speaker herself. She has faced persistent criticism from a small group of conservative backbenchers, but was easily renominated to the chamber's top leadership post in 2012 and 2014.

"I know the differences that unite this caucus are stronger than any of the differences we experience. this past year has been a difficult one on this body, but, but I commend you for remaining focused on what is important," said Harwell.

She appointed her opponent, Jimmy Matlock, a Lenoir City businessman, to transportation chairman.

The decision will become official in January once the party reconvenes.

"In January the change in the presidential administration will give us great opportunity that we better be ready to seize," she added.


Harwell, a former professor from Nashville, became Tennessee's first female speaker when she was first elected in 2011.

Also decided during Thursday's vote was Glenn Casada to be the House Republican Majority Leader.

House Republican Caucus Chairman will be Ryan Williams and Curtis Johnson was made House Republican Speaker Pro Tempore.