Hawk announces bid for speaker of TN House

Rep. David Hawk (R-Greenville) announces his bid for House speaker at a press conference in Nashville on Aug. 15, 2018 (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Republican Rep. David Hawk of Greeneville is running for speaker of the House.

Wednesday’s announcement makes Hawk the first second official candidate to succeed Speaker Beth Harwell (R-Nashville), who couldn’t run for the state House again because she decided to run for governor. Rep. Curtis Johnson (R-Clarksville) announced his bid in June.

Hawk stressed his role in coming up with an alternative road funding plan that would not have included the 6-cent tax increased on each gallon of gas. Hawk’s plan failed in the House though with 37 of 71 Republicans voting in favor, he said. The chamber ended up approving Gov. Bill Haslam’s Improve Act that also included cuts to the state’s tax on earnings from stocks and bonds, the sales tax on groceries, and taxes paid by manufacturers.

Hawk noted that he voted against the Improve Act, while his likely rivals for the speakership, Reps. Johnson and Glen Casada of Franklin,, voted in favor of version of the bill.

“As I look at what’s going to become the makeup of the Tennessee House of Representatives in the future, there are far many more people returning that voted in favor of the Hawk plan than voted in favor of the other plan,” Hawk said.

“Saying that, I have absolutely not intention of trying to repeal the Improve Act, it is the law of the land and we’re going to work within the system that we have now,” he said.

Note: We updated this blog post to reflect that Johnson announced his bid for speaker in June. Casada has yet to make an official announcement, though he is widely expected to get in the race.

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