The 111th Tennessee General Assembly officially convened last week, and as I took the oath of office on Jan. 8, I found myself thinking about the work ahead and how blessed our legislative body, and Tennessee is to have a new Speaker — my friend and colleague Glen Casada — who believes in partnership, and its importance in guaranteeing Tennessee continues to lead our nation.
As Majority Leader, I am eager to work in partnership with Governor-elect Bill Lee, and each and every member of our House Republican Caucus to address the unique needs of Tennesseans.
In recent years, Tennessee has become a national leader in innovation. Statewide unemployment remains near record low levels; we have begun addressing the complex opioid crisis with passage and implementation of the Tennessee Together plan, dramatically improved our education system, and created new resources like Tennessee Reconnect so more of our citizens have access to the training and tools needed to fill the next wave of high quality jobs that are on their way to Tennessee.
Despite these successful outcomes, our work continues, and new challenges arise every day. This year, my colleagues and I will continue to support an environment in cities and towns that enables business to thrive. This includes additional tax reductions, as well as the elimination of burdensome regulations that often kill job creation.
House Republicans want our citizens to have the experience and tools needed to excel in all phases of their careers. To ensure Tennessee’s current and future workforce remains strong, we will identify and create new solutions that enhance our education system, placing an emphasis on work-based and vocational instruction, as well as technical training — especially in rural Tennessee.
Having previously served as Chairman of the House Criminal Justice Committee during the 110th General Assembly, I am dedicated to creating safe neighborhoods, and I believe we can accomplish this by backing our law enforcement community and by overhauling our current system of criminal justice. We must have a system of justice that meets present day standards, not those of 30 years ago. This system must have fair sentencing as it relates to the type of crime committed. It must also have sentencing consistency, and focus on preparing those with a desire to re-enter society to become productive citizens. By making these changes, we will further reduce our statewide recidivism rates, save taxpayer dollars, and improve safety within our communities.
Finally, we must also back our mental health providers, allocate more resources to combat substance abuse — including opioids and other dangerous drugs — and improve access to, and the quality of care patients receive while lowering patient costs. By accomplishing these goals, Tennessee will remain the best place in the entire nation to live, work, and raise a family.
These are exciting times in our community, and in Tennessee, and I am excited to work for you! Thank you for the opportunity to serve you. May God bless you, Sumner County, and our great state.
William Lamberth is the House Majority Leader for the 111th Tennessee General Assembly. He is also a member of the House Finance, House Government Operations, House Judiciary, and House Calendar & Rules Committees, as well as the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee. Lamberth lives in Cottontown and represents Tennessee House District 44, which includes part of Sumner County.