The Tennessee legislature convened this week and a glance of leadership roles shows Knox County strong in the Senate and not-so-much in the House.
Senate: Lt. Gov. Randy McNally from Oak Ridge serves as Senate speaker. He represents the north and northwest end of Knox County. Sen. Richard Briggs has chaired the Ethics Committee; this week he became chair of the State & Local Government Committee. Sen. Becky Massey continues to chair the Transportation Committee.
The Senate: 9 committees; 33 senators; Knox County has the speaker and two chairs.
House: Rep. Jason Zachary of Farragut chairs the Calendar & Rules Committee, which schedules bills for a floor vote; Rep. Dave Wright is vice chair of the Local Government Committee; Rep. Justin Lafferty chairs the Higher Education Subcommittee.
The House: 14 committees plus 20 subcommittees; 99 representatives; Knox County has one a chair, a vice chair and a subcommittee chair.
In the Senate, 3-of-3 Knox senators are Republicans; all have serious seniority.
But the House delegation has two Democrats and three freshmen. How did they fare?
Rep. Gloria Johnson (D): Government Operations Committee; Naming & Designating Committee.
Rep. Sam McKenzie (D and freshman): Education Instruction Committee, Education Instruction Subcommittee; Transportation Committee.
Rep. Michele Carringer: Education Administration Committee, K-12 Subcommittee; State Government Committee, Departments & Agencies Subcommittee.
Rep. Eddie Mannis: Commerce Committee, Business & Utilities Subcommittee; Education Instruction Committee; Local Government Committee, Election & Campaign Finance Subcommittee.
Knox County will miss the steady leadership of Bill Dunn in the House. We can wish that Speaker Cameron Sexton would get Gloria Johnson on a committee like Health or Education where she could put her expertise to better use.
But at least we don’t have to worry about somebody embarrassing us. Senator Road Kill has moved to Washington and Stacey Campfield has retired.
Sandra Clark is editor/CEO of Knox TN Today.