Note: This story was updated at 9:30 a.m. March 25.
Tennessee Senator Randy McNally, an Oak Ridge Republican, will seek to become the next speaker of the Senate.
If elected, McNally would replace Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey, a Blountville Republican who recently announced he is not seeking re-election.
McNally, a longtime legislator, is chair of the Senate Finance, Ways, and Means Committee.
“I want to thank Ron Ramsey for his tremendous leadership over these last 10 years,” McNally said in a Thursday press release. “If elected speaker, I will continue to support an independent state Senate, and I will remain committed to keeping taxes low, while maintaining the financial integrity of our state that benefits all Tennesseans.”
In the press release, McNally said he plans to spend his summer and fall working with Ramsey to help Tennessee Republicans maintain and grow their strong majority in the state Senate.
“Tennessee’s Senators are among the most dedicated public servants in our nation,” McNally said. “It is an honor to represent my district among a group that so strongly reflects Tennessee values and principles. It would be a great privilege to lead this esteemed body in the 110th General Assembly.”
McNally has served in the Tennessee House and Senate for a combined 38 years. He spent eight years in the House and has been in the Senate for 30. He describes himself as an experienced conservative legislator.
McNally has been chair of the Senate Finance, Ways and Means Committee, which considers state budgets, for 10 years. He will appoint a new chair of that committee if elected speaker of the Senate.
The full title of the office is lieutenant governor and speaker of the Senate. The lieutenant governor of Tennessee is the speaker of the Tennessee Senate and first in line in the succession to the office of governor in the event of the death, resignation, or removal from office.
Under the State Constitution of 1870, the speaker is elected by the full Tennessee State Senate from among its members. In addition to presiding over the Senate and being in charge of the staff, a few of the key duties include appointments of the Senate committee officers and appointments to various state boards and commissions as provided by law. The lieutenant governor also sits on the State Building Commission, which approves all state building plans. There are many other duties as well.
All Senate members select the lieutenant governor in the first order of business of a new Tennessee General Assembly. However, the caucus of the majority party generally selects the lieutenant governor in a party caucus vote, a Senate representative said. Since Republicans hold a super majority, with only five of the Senate’s membership being Democrats, the caucus vote is very likely to hold when the General Assembly convenes the 2017 legislative session in January even if by chance the Democrats pick up a couple of seats, the Senate representative said. That caucus vote could come as early as November after the general election is held.
The press release said McNally played a key role in helping to uncover political corruption in Tennessee during the Operation Rocky Top investigation.
He lives in Oak Ridge with Jan, his wife of 48 years. He is the parent of two adult daughters, Melissa and Maggie, three grandchildren, and a dog. He has also worked as a hospital pharmacist at Methodist Medical Center of Oak Ridge.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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