The Tennessee Republican Caucus has nominated 25th District Representative Cameron Sexton as House Speaker.
Sexton defeated 68th District Representative Curtis Johnson, of Clarksville, in the final round of voting Wednesday, receiving 41 of the 70 possible votes.
Sexton said during his initial address the House Speaker should be a leader for all Tennesseans.
“During this campaign I traveled to over 50 districts and met with members. The consistent message was ‘let’s continue to lead,’” Sexton said. “I can assure you we will continue to lead. At the same time, we need to build you up. We don’t need to tear each other down. This election’s about getting back to the basics and continuing to lead.”
42nd District Representative Ryan Williams, of Cookeville, removed himself from contention following the second round of voting.
“As we continue to lead, we must remain an independent branch of government,” Sexton said. “Understand how importance our role is in providing a counter-balance to the other parts of government. As we continue to lead, let us not forget about our past and current successes… Let’s continue to promote what we have done and accomplished.”
The vote comes after months of controversy surrounding current House Speaker Glen Casada, who will officially resign Aug. 2. Allegations began afet Casada was accused of sending sexually-explicit texts to staff members, while more recent accusations involve selling votes during the House’s effort to pass the state’s new school voucher bill.
Sexton indicated current staff members who worked under Casada may be leaving if approved as House Speaker.
“Those people who have left employment here will not be coming back if I’m your speaker,” Sexton said. “There may be some who are here now who will not be here when I become speaker.”
41st District Representative John Mark Windle of Livingston said he would support Sexton’s nomination during next month’s special session.
“Cameron’s a decent, hard-working, family person and I support him 100-percent,” Windle said. “For the first time in decades – maybe 50 years – we have a Speaker of the House from the Upper Cumberland. It’s important to the counties in the Upper Cumberland to have somebody in that position and I’m so glad he got elected.”
The full House will consider Sexton’s nomination on Aug. 23. The Caucus will meet Aug. 22 at 4 p.m. to elect its new chairman.
Sexton represents Cumberland, Van Buren, and eastern Putnam counties, including the cities of Monterey, Crossville, and Spencer.