Speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives Beth Harwell brought her gubernatorial campaign Jefferson County last Friday at the Republican-Get-Together, sharing her goals with local voters.
Her overall thrust centers on returning control to the state instead of keeping it in the hands of the federal government.
She believes her years of experience – three decades in the House of Representatives and over six years as Speaker of the House – sets her apart from other candidates because voters can readily check her performance.
While in the House, she said she helped lower the sales tax on food three times; eliminated death and gift taxes; and lowered property tax for disabled veterans
If elected, Harwell will continue improving public education. She said Governor Bill Haslam can boast that Tennessee is now the fastest improving state in education and she will continue on this path. She led the fight for the largest investment in education without an increase in taxes.
“I think the money the federal government puts into the Department of Education could be better spent by the states controlling their own spending,” said Harwell, who has the support of the Tennessee Education Association. “We have made great strides in math and science in the state in the last eight years. Tennessee needs to continue pushing for improvements in reading skills by making current programs permanent.”
Moving to health issues, the Speaker created a task force in 2017 to make recommendations for the opioid crisis in the state. Since then, these recommendations have been passed. They include tougher sentences for dealers, greater oversight on prescriptions, rehabilitation programs instead of prison, and encouraging the Department of Health and law enforcement to develop consistent approaches to determine the number of deaths from overdoses.
In addition, Harwell supported a law that bans any sanctuary cities in the state.
Under her leadership as Speaker of the House, she says dozens of laws have also been passed to protect Tennesseans’ second amendment rights.
Speaker Harwell intends to serve in her current position during her campaign for Governor.