TN State House Speaker Beth Harwell kicks off gubernatorial campaign

Tennessee House Speaker Beth Harwell begins her campaign journey.

JACKSON, Tenn —  Tennessee House Speaker, Beth Harwell, announced over the weekend she is throwing her hat into the ring to run for governor, now she is hitting the campaign trail across the state.

It is an exciting time for Speaker Harwell as she joins other candidates in a bid for governor. Although she is now joining the race, Harwell made it clear she will finish out her term as House Speaker.

Harwell sat down with WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News to explain what she hopes to accomplish as governor.

“We are one of the lowest tax states in the nation and something that’s important to me, we’re the lowest debt state in the nation and that doesn’t come by accident that’s a lot of hard work that goes into that,” Speaker Harwell said.

Along with keeping taxes and debt at a low rate, Harwell said education is something that can always be enhanced.

“And I want to continue to put our emphasis on improving our schools, we’ve made some great strides but more to be done and there’s a lot of other issues our state faces that I’d like to address,” Harwell said.

Harwell explained she would also like to see money spent on incarceration be re-routed and used on recovery programs. “We need to give these people hope and we certainly need to reduce the cost as much as we can to our taxpayers.”

Harwell is the first woman to serve as Tennessee Speaker of the House. If elected governor, it would be a first for a woman in Tennessee as well. Harwell said she does not want Tennesseans to vote for her because she is a woman, but said the historical significance would be a great honor.

“The state of Tennessee in 2020 will celebrate the 100th anniversary of Tennessee being the state that gave women the right to vote in the United States,” said Harwell.

With an extensive legislative background and a working knowledge of state government, Harwell believes she will be ready to lead the state on Day 1 of taking office.

“Familiar with the needs of our state, the diversity, love this state and have some experience practical solutions that I think can work for Tennessee,” Harwell explained.

Speaker Harwell will be in Jackson Wednesday, July 18 as well as visiting the Memphis Regional Megasite in Haywood County to see how it is progressing.

Harwell joins a field of Republicans running to succeed Governor Bill Haslam. They are Economic and Community Development Commissioner Randy Boyd, businessman Bill Lee, and State Senator Mae Beavers. On the Democratic side, former Nashville Mayor, Karl Dean.

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