NASHVILLE - The 110th General Assembly convened at the Capitol today with Tennessee senators electing Sen. Randy McNally as their new speaker, making the veteran Oak Ridge legislator just the second Republican speaker of the upper chamber in modern times.
McNally succeeds former Sen. Ron Ramsey, R-Blountville, who did not seek reelection to the Senate last year. In Tennessee, the Senate speaker is also the lieutenant governor.
McNally, 72, who has served 30 years and eight years before that in the House, thanked colleagues and praised his predecessor Ramsey who had served five two-year terms as speaker.
Turning to the chamber, McNally, who has served the past decade as Senate Finance Committee chairman, said "serving you is not a responsible that I take lightly. As speaker of the Senate, it's a big job and I'm certainly humbled by the trust you've placed.
"I'm confident that my journey to this time and place was prepared well in advance by the many interactions I've had with you."
McNally, a retired pharmacists, also said, "I recognize that I can't complete that job alone, that there's no one individual that's the Senate and we all are the Senate and we will all move forward together."
McNally occupies a unique place in Tennessee history. As a freshman senator, he exposed corruption in the late 1980s at the state Capitol by wearing a wire for the FBI in the probe code-named Operation Rocky Top.
House members reelected Rep. Beth Harwell, R-Nashville, to a fourth term in the lower chamber.
Today marks the start of the General Assembly's organizational session. On Wednesday, House and Senate members will meet to reelect the state's three constitutional officers.