Republican Caucus unanimously chooses McNally as Senate speaker

Republican state senators voted unanimously today to make Sen. Randy McNally the next Tennessee Senate speaker and lieutenant governor. They also reelected the current slate of Senate leaders to new terms in office for the 110th General Assembly.

Since Republicans hold a 28-5 majority in the state Senate, the Senate Republican Caucus’ selection of McNally, 72, of Oak Ridge, assures he will be elected to the position when the legislature convenes Jan. 10.

The Caucus members also reelected Sen. Mark Norris of Collierville as Senate majority leader, Sen. Bill Ketron of Murfreesboro as Senate Republican Caucus chairman, Sen. Becky Massey of Knoxville as caucus secretary and Sen. Ferrell Haile of Gallatin as treasurer.

McNally said he anticipates no major changes in leadership style or policy when he formally takes the reigns from retiring Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, who has held the position since 2007.

When Ramsey announced his retirement earlier this year, McNally promptly announced he would seek to become Tennessee’s 50th Senate speaker, a position that also makes holder of the office lieutenant governor under the state Constitution. No other candidate emerged, leading to today’s unanimous vote.

UPDATE/note: The Caucus news release is below.

News release from Senate Republican Caucus

NASHVILLE — Tennessee Senate Republicans met Thursday, November 17 in Nashville to elect leaders for the 110th General Assembly where they voted unanimously to nominate Senator Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge) to the top leadership post as Lt. Governor and Speaker of the Senate. Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey will continue to hold the position until the General Assembly convenes on January 10 when the full Senate will formally vote on his successor.

The Senate Republican Caucus also voted unanimously to re-elect Senator Mark Norris (R-Collierville) for a 6th term as Senate Majority Leader and Senator Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro) for a 4th term as Republican Caucus Chairman.

“I am tremendously honored to be the nominee of my party for the position of Lt. Governor and Speaker of the Senate,” said Senator McNally, who currently serves as Chairman of the Senate Finance, Ways and Means Committee. “I am proud to serve with such tremendous and talented membership and am looking forward to building on the success we have seen under Lt. Governor Ramsey.

“Fiscal responsibility is the cornerstone of our success in Tennessee,” McNally continued. “We have cut taxes, limited spending and balanced our budget. Our state carries little debt and boasts AAA ratings from all three credit rating agencies. But we still have challenges ahead and mountains to climb. I am confident Tennessee’s best days are ahead of us. I look forward to standing before the full Senate in January and I hope I am blessed to serve as Lt. Governor as we enter a new era of Tennessee success.”

“I’m thankful for the vote of confidence from my colleagues,” said Leader Norris. “I look forward to leading the policy initiatives Republicans introduce in the upcoming 110th General Assembly.”

“Tennessee Republicans have long said it matters who governs. But I like to add ‘It matters how we govern.’ I’m looking forward to the continuity of leadership to maintain and increase the prosperity we’ve seen for Tennessee’s citizens,” he continued.

“Our caucus is blessed with great leaders, and it is a tremendous privilege to serve alongside them in this role as we continue to promote policies to ensure a better quality of life for all Tennesseans,” added Chairman Ketron.

Others re-elected to leadership positions in the Senate Republican Caucus were Senator Ferrell Haile (R-Gallatin) as Treasurer, Senator Becky Duncan Massey (R-Knoxville) as Secretary and Senator Mark Green (R-Clarksville) as Chaplain.

Senate Republicans hold 28 of the 33 seats in the Tennessee Senate, providing representation to citizens in all 95 counties in the state.

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