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Speaker Pro Tem Pat Marsh’s Letter to the District

“The basis of a democratic state is liberty” – Aristotle 

The House Committees are in full swing, and many bills are being introduced. Every bill must go through multiple committees where it is discussed and debated in detail. We have 35 committees that meet each week, and I serve on six. Then we have at least 2 Floor Sessions a week (sometimes more). 

This past Monday, we had a caucus meeting with Governor Bill Lee and TDOT Commissioner Butch Eley. Governor Lee and Commissioner Eley walked us through their plan to alleviate traffic congestion by using public-private partnerships to build express lanes along some of our busiest interstates. TDOT plans on building more roads across the state to accommodate our growing population. They also have proposed a new approach to building new road projects which should speed up design and construction. The final part of their proposed plans is to come up with new ways for electric vehicles to pay their fair share for using our roads.  Their innovative plans have my full support at this time. 

On Wednesday, I had a lunch meeting with U.T. President Randy Boyd and the new head of the U.T. Institute of Agriculture (UTIA), Keith Carver. Mr. Carver has been serving as the President of the University of Tennessee-Martin and he has an extensive background in Agriculture. There are a lot of new and innovative developments coming to UTIA. Those include:

  • Adding 32 new extension agents in distressed and at-risk counties
  • 10 extension offices going through major renovations or getting completely new facilities. 
  • Growing the College of Veterinary Medicine from 340 to 480 students. That’s a 41% increase from 2023 to 2028. 

As a research institute, U.T. has moved from 123rd to 52nd in the nation. A record amount ($80 million) was invested in research – that’s a 12% increase from 2021.  Under President Boyd’s leadership, the University of Tennessee is heading in an exciting direction and doing great things for our state. 

Also this week, I got a notice from the Comptroller’s office that MTSU had no audit findings, which means that MTSU is a well-run institution.  Congratulations!!

I want you to know the State Capitol is the People’s House and is always open to our citizens. Feel free to come up for a visit anytime we are in Session. 

I’m honored to serve as your state representative and please call or email if I can ever help.

615-741-6824 — [email protected]

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