Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, Tennessee's Republican state Senate speaker, has named two area lawmakers to key state Senate committees.
He said in an email that state Sen. Bo Watson, R-Hixson, has been reappointed to chair the Finance, Ways and Mean Committee, and state Sen. Mike Bell, R-Riceville is the new chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
McNally praised the Senate as a whole for having "some of the smartest and strongest leaders with whom I have had the privilege to serve." He singled out the committee chairs, all Republicans, for praise as well.
Of Watson, McNally said: "Tennessee's outstanding fiscal health is not a matter of luck. It is the work of dedicated public servants making smart and tough decisions. Bo Watson is one of the most critical of those servants. Bo's hard work has kept Tennessee's fiscal house in order. It will remain in order as long as Bo Watson is the chairman. I am proud to reappoint him."
In naming Bell to chair the Judiciary Committee, McNally said: "Mike Bell's commitment to judicial accountability and the rule of law is well-known and well-established. His leadership on the Government Operations Committee set new standards for excellence. I am confident he will do the same with the Judiciary Committee. A conservative leader with unquestioned integrity, I know he will be an outstanding chairman of Judiciary."
Other area senators serving in leadership positions include Ken Yager, of Kingston, who recently was elected Republican Caucus chairman, and Janice Bowling, of Tullahoma, who was reappointed as deputy speaker.
The other Senate leaders are:
Jack Johnson, of Franklin, Senate majority leader
Ferrell Haile, of Gallatin, speaker pro tempore
Paul Bailey, Sparta, chairman of Commerce and Labor Committee
Delores Gresham, Somerville, chairman of Education Committee
Steve Southerland, Morristown, chairman of Energy, Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee
Kerry Roberts, Springfield, chairman of Government Operations Committee
Rusty Crowe, Johnson City, chairman of Health and Welfare Committee
Steve Dickerson, Nashville, chairman of State and Local Government Committee
Becky Massey, Knoxville, chairman of Transportation and Safety Committee
Ed Jackson, of Jackson, chairman of Calendar Committee
Richard Briggs, Knoxville, chairman of Ethics Committee