Lt. Gov. McNally appoints Briggs to government committee chair; Massey, Southerland keep their leadership roles


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — State Sen. Richard Briggs will act as chairman of the State and Local Government Committee for the 112th General Assembly.

Lt. Gov. Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge) on Wednesday announced state Senate committee assignments after being reelected Speaker of the Senate on Tuesday.

“As a long-time leader in local government, Richard Briggs has the experience and insight to serve this committee well,” McNally said. “A proven and effective chairman, I am confident he will take on this new task and excel. I am proud to appoint him.”

Briggs was vice chair during last year’s legislative session. He takes the top chair from Steve Dickerson, who lost his reelection bid to Sen. Heidi Campbell (D-Nashville).

The State and Local Government Committee hears all matters pertaining to state and local governments in general, including utility districts, employees, ordinances, boundary lines, veterans’ affairs, penal and correctional institutions, alcoholic beverages and election laws.

“I appreciate the opportunity to serve in this capacity and the confidence placed in me by the Lt. Governor,” said Sen. Briggs.  “As a former county commissioner, I understand the needs of local governments and the vital role they play in helping our communities thrive and grow. 

“I look forward to seeing that they have the available resources they need. I am also excited about the opportunity to help our veterans in this new committee position. I take seriously the responsibility of providing our veterans with the best our state and country has to offer.”

Briggs is one of three new chairmen to General Assembly committees. Sen. Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) will chair Education and Sen. Ferrell Haile (R-Gallatin) will lead the Ethics Committee.

Sen. Becky Massey will continue in her role as chairwoman of the Transportation and Safety Committee.

“Becky Massey is a compassionate legislator dedicated to representing her constituents,” McNally said. “She understands the importance of transportation to our economy and is dedicated to keeping Tennessee citizens safe. Her talents and abilities are perfect for this committee. I know she will do well.”

Sen. Steve Southerland (R-Morristown) will also stay in his role as chairman of the Energy, Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.

“Steve Southerland has been an exemplary chairman,” McNally said. “He understands the subject matter and provides excellent leadership for the committee and staff. I look forward to his continued good work.”

Other committee leaders include:

  • Education Committee Chairman Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown)
  • Ethics Committee Chairman Senator Ferrell Haile (R-Gallatin)
  • Commerce and Labor Committee Chairman Senator Paul Bailey (R-Sparta)
  • Finance Ways and Means Committee Chairman Senator Bo Watson (R-Hixson)
  • Government Operations Committee Chairman Senator Kerry Roberts (R-Springfield)
  • Health and Welfare Committee Chairman Rusty Crowe (R-Johnson City)
  • Judiciary Committee Chairman Senator Mike Bell (R-Riceville)
  • Calendar Committee Chairman Senator Ed Jackson (R-Jackson)

McNally also reappointed Sen. Ferrell Haile (R-Gallatin) as the Speaker Pro Tempore and Sen. Janice Bowling (R-Tullahoma) as Deputy Speaker.

“This Senate is made up of some of the smartest and strongest leaders with whom I have had the privilege to serve,” McNally said. “Each of our senators could serve on any number of our committees and do well. I am grateful to have such a strong membership. I am confident we have assembled the best team to do the people’s business.”


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