Speaker of the House — State Representative Beth Harwell (R–Nashville)
Beth Harwell currently serves as Speaker of the House. She is the first female Speaker in both Tennessee and the entire Southeast. Harwell represents State House District 56, which includes a part of Davidson County.
Beth has been a strong advocate for tougher sexual abuse laws, victims’ rights, welfare reform, children’s issues and most notably, education. She was prime sponsor of the state’s public charter school law, having been an advocate for charter schools for many years.
A friend of small business, Beth was twice awarded the coveted Guardian of Small Business Award from the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB).
In addition to her legislative accomplishments, Beth served as chair of the state Republican Party from 2001 to 2004. During that time she was instrumental in the Republicans taking control of the State Senate for the first time in 140 years. While serving as chair, she also contributed immensely to George W. Bush’s presidential campaign, and served as a Bush Pioneer.
Harwell received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Lipscomb University, and a Ph.D. from Vanderbilt. She has been an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Belmont University. She and her husband, Sam, have three children—Allie, Sam, and Tucker.
House Majority Leader — State Representative Glen Casada (R–Thompson Station)
Glen graduated from Western Kentucky University in 1982 with a B.S. in Agriculture. After graduation, he taught Agriculture at the high school level. He has been married to Jill Sholar Casada for 34 years. They have 4 children, all of whom have now graduated college, and three darling granddaughters.
Glen currently serves as House Majority Leader, where he is responsible for being the public face of the Republican Caucus, establishing and maintaining communications with membership and the Governor regarding legislative matters, raising important funding for the Caucus, along with a variety of other key tasks. Glen served as Chairman of the House Republican Caucus from 2006-2010 and 2012-2016.
For the last several years, Glen has been very involved in mentoring young adults within the intern program at the Tennessee General Assembly. His guidance has helped several college students grow in the political process and take their first steps into political careers.
Glen believes in cutting taxes, creating an environment for businesses to thrive, and empowering Tennesseans with the tools they need to reach their full potential.
Republican Caucus Chairman — State Representative Ryan Williams (R–Cookeville)
Representative Williams was elected to the Tennessee General Assembly in November of 2010. During his tenure in the House of Representatives he and his colleagues have balanced the state’s budget, reduced sales tax two times, eliminated the Death and Inheritance Tax, raised the deduction on the Hall Income tax as well as planned for its consequential phase out in 2022. In education, Representative Williams played an integral part in the more than $200M investment in K-12 education, the Tennessee Promise and successfully carried the Governor’s legislation called the FOCUS Act which will eventually allow Tennessee Technological University to be fully autonomous operating at the oversight of the TTU Board of Directors and THEC. As the Chairman of the Speaker Harwell’s House Taskforce for Rural Economic Development and the Governor’s Appointee to the Governor’s Task Force for Rural Economic and Community Development, Representative Williams has had a direct and lasting impact on the policies with stimulate job growth and investment not only in the 42nd District but in rural areas across the state resulting in making TN one of the best states for job growth 3 out of the last 4 years.
Ryan has been married to his wife, Abby (Bates) Williams, for 19 years and they have two children, Tyson who is a Freshman at CHS and Carson (F-12YO). Ryan’s desire to serve his community has always been an important to him starting with serving at his church, Cookeville Planning Commission and as Cookeville City Councilman from 2006-2010. While serving as a Cookeville City Councilman, Ryan and Abby started a series of events including the After Dark Series which include the AD– Race for the Park 8K, AD – Kids for the Park 1M and the AD – Movies in the Park. The sole purpose of these events is to build community and raise money for the redevelopment of the downtown park, Dogwood Park. Ryan enjoys coaching his son’s club soccer team and watching his daughter in both ballet and theatre performances.