Next-in-line for TN House Speaker Rep. Bill Dunn vows to help with stable, calm transition

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Rep. Bill Dunn

On Tuesday, embattled House Speaker Glen Casada announced his plans to resign following a texting scandal.

When Casada resigns, Knoxville representative and Speaker Pro Tem Bill Dunn is next in line to take over as acting House Speaker.

Speaker pro tem is the second-highest position in the House.

Rep. Dunn was among several lawmakers who called on Casada to resign as Speaker over the past two weeks.

“I think stepping down as Speaker is what he needs to do and obviously, he has gone through a whole lot,” said Rep. Dunn. “He’s probably been punished more than anything, than anyone else can do.”

Sometime this coming June, Dunn will assume Casada’s role.

“We wish him well and whatever his future endeavors are, but it’s time for the House of Representatives to get back to the people’s business,” said Rep Dunn.

Dunn said when running for Speaker Pro Tem, he knew this day could come.

“It was never my dream to be Speaker, but it’s my duty,” said Rep. Dunn. “When I’m acting Speaker, then I need to make decisions to help move Tennessee forward, to help my caucus out, so that’s just what I need to be focused on.”

Dunn told News 2, his preference would be to hold a special session to elect a new permanent speaker.

“I just want to help with whatever transition it is to keep things stable and calm,” he said. “I think I bring a lot of boredom to the table, which is probably needed right now.”

If Dunn is elected as permanent speaker, he brings more than two decades of experience in the House, and said he’ll do what he can to restore the trust of Tennesseans.

“I’ve served for 25 years and I’ve tried to do a good job,” said Rep. Dunn. “I think people would say ‘you’re far right,’ but I think they say ‘you’re fair.'”

In the meantime as Acting Speaker, Dunn said he’ll focus on getting the caucus back on track.

“Instead of looking down to next week or next month, I look to today and say, ‘what is the next right thing to do?’ and as long as I keep doing that, things will be okay,'” said Dunn.

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