New Tenn. House speaker chooses words carefully on key issues

Political News

NASHVILLE, Tenn (WKRN) – Glen Casada during his short tenure as speaker used to say “the House will lead,” but the man who has replaced him is taking a different tone.

The subject came up as Speaker Cameron Sexton sat down this week for a wide-ranging interview about the direction the House that may be different from Casada’s tenure.

“Together the house will lead,” said Rep. Casada back in early January during a speech moments after taking the House gavel from then-Speaker Beth Harwell.

He was referencing the state budget which is the only thing that state lawmakers are constitutionally required to do.

New Speaker Sexton takes a different tone as state departments right now are crunching numbers for the state budget that will affect every Tennessean.

“So we are hopeful to work with the administration in the coming months. We are looking forward to working with them in the coming months with their budget proposal as they are coming in the fall,” said Speaker Sexton.

While taking a more traditional view of the state budget process with a governor leading, Sexton voted against fellow Republican Governor Bill Lee’s signature ESA school voucher proposal that narrowly passed this spring.

There’s already a House bill filed by Nashville Democrat Bo Mitchell to stop the controversial school funding program from proceeding.

How does the new speaker see the bill given his past opposition?

“So we will have to wait to see what happens when its run through the committee process and we’ll see how it moves forward and how the debate is, but at the same time the governor has the capability through the law to continue implementing the policy that was passed,” added Speaker Sexton.  

When Sexton was asked if he thought of being speaker before this year, he said “its about timing and opportunity and this time it worked out.”

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