NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Republican House Speaker Beth Harwell says she is running for Tennessee governor.
Harwell told The Tennessean that she has "a proven, practical results record" with nearly 30 years of legislative experience including six years in leadership. Harwell cited her work on issues ranging from taxes to education during an interview at her Nashville home.
"As governor, I will lead on jobs, cutting taxes, guaranteeing every child has a great school and ensuring our Tennessee values are protected," she said.
When Harwell was elected House speaker in 2011, she because the first woman to serve in the post and she is among the longest-serving current members in the House.
Other Republicans running to succeed term-limited Republic Gov. Bill Haslam next year include Economic and Community Development Commissioner Randy Boyd, Williamson County businessman Bill Lee and state Sen. Mae Beavers.
Harwell said her campaign will center on keeping the state's finances in order, improving education, fostering a strong workforce and supporting public safety.
"As I travel our state I hear consistently that people are pleased with their state government. When they compare it to other states, or even worse the federal government, they're saying, 'Y'all are doing a good job,'" she said. "I want to continue that."
She also has plans to deal with other issues facing the state including the ongoing opioid crisis. Harwell said she'd like to see public funding for incarceration go to recovery courts and facilities.
"It makes sense for us to change our mindset. If these people need help, we can't incarcerate our way out of this problem," she said.