Beth Harwell

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Beth Harwell
Beth Harwell.jpg
81st Speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives
Assumed office
January 13, 2011
Preceded by Kent Williams
Member of the Tennessee House of Representatives
from the 56th district
Assumed office
January 10, 1989
Preceded by Jan Bushing
Personal details
Born (1957-07-24) July 24, 1957 (age 59)
Norristown, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Samuel Harwell
Children Allie
Alma mater Lipscomb University
Vanderbilt University
Religion Churches of Christ

Beth Halteman Harwell[1][2] (born July 24, 1957, in Norristown, Pennsylvania) is the current Speaker of the House in the Tennessee House of Representatives. She serves as Tennessee State Representative from Nashville and former Chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party from 2001 through 2004.[3] A longtime member of the Tennessee House of Representatives since 1988, Harwell was a ranking Republican in the House (former Minority Whip) and Commerce Committee chairwoman.[1][2] She is the first woman to serve as Tennessee's Speaker of the House.

In 1978 Harwell received her Bachelor of Arts from Lipscomb University. She received a Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University. She is married to Samuel Harwell. The couple has three children.[4]

Harwell received the Small Business award from the National Federation of Independent Business.[5] Her husband Sam Harwell is the founder of Big Time Toys, LLC.

Harwell explored a run for the 2006 U.S. Senate race; however she finally decided against seeking that seat. In May 2007 Harwell said that she was considering running in the 2010 state gubernatorial election.[6]

In the 2008 presidential election, Harwell was the state co-chair for John McCain's presidential campaign.[7][8] McCain won 56.9% of Tennessee's popular vote against Democrat Barack Obama.[9] During the elections, the Republican Party gained control of both the Tennessee Senate and House for the first time since Reconstruction. In January 2009, Harwell was named chairwoman of the Commerce Committee.[10] During here term there have been an number of allegations made about the handling of certain scandals, including the handling of the allegations of harassment by former Rep. Jeremy Durham, who was recently expelled from the legislature as well as misconduct by certain personnel including by an employee who allegedly raised their middle finger at a 2 year old child in the House.[11]


  1. ^ a b "Beth Halteman Harwell". Retrieved 2009-01-03. 
  2. ^ a b "Harwell, Beth Halteman". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2009-01-03. 
  3. ^ Locker, Rick (July 24, 2008). "GOP chair won't say whether Rove ordered media ban". Knoxville News Sentinel. Retrieved 2009-01-03. 
  4. ^ Lipscomb University Alumni Today 2010 (New York: Harris Connect, 2010), p. 161.
  5. ^ "Rep. Beth Harwell". Friedman Foundation. Retrieved 2009-01-05. [permanent dead link]
  6. ^ Davis, Michael (May 15, 2007). "Republican Rep. Harwell considering 2010 governor's race.". Chattanooga Times Free Press. Retrieved 2009-01-06. 
  7. ^ Humphrey, Tom (October 22, 2008). "In presidential race, Tennessee strategies diverge". Knoxville News Sentinel. Retrieved 2009-01-03. 
  8. ^ "Presidential campaign officer, legislator teaches students about elections this fall". Lipscomb University. Retrieved 2009-01-03. 
  9. ^ "Tennessee: McCain vs. Obama". RealClearPolitics. Retrieved 2009-01-03. 
  10. ^ Locker, Richard (January 22, 2009). "Tennessee House Republicans to chair 7 committees, Democrats 6". The Commercial Appeal. Retrieved 2009-01-23. 
  11. ^ "gop-lawmaker-seeks-probe-into-alleged-abuse-speaker-harwells-office". 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Kent Williams
Speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives