Beth Harwell has been a voice for common sense conservative governance and has led the House to a greater and greater Republican majority. Managing the House must be like herding cats but she has done a good job of advancing an agenda, passing important legislation and keeping the Republican majority from splintering into warring factions. Along with Governor Haslam and Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, Beth Harwell has advanced polices that cut taxes and cut the size of government while bringing about meaningful education reform and efficiencies in government.
Representative Rick Womick has announced he will be challenging Beth Harwell for the Speaker's position. Rick Womick is, to put it politely, not a team player. He is somewhat of a loose cannon and sometimes an embarrassment. In what could be a legitimate political disagreement with Governor Haslam, he called the Governor a "traitor" to the Republican Party.
In Murfreesboro there was a case where the use of a commercial parcel of property changed from one use to different use. The new use required the parking area be paved. This is a very common occurrence in cites all across America. Rick Womick came to the defense of the owner of the property and said this was example of government overreach as part to the UN conspiracy to impose Agenda 21 on the American people. Also in Murfreesboro, Womick characterized the city requirement that flag poles be inspected to insure proper footings and wind-load design as part of the Agenda 21 conspiracy. He also has said city annexation is a way that cities plot to take away property rights via the notorious U.N. “Agenda 21.”
A few years ago, there was almost a hysteria about Agenda 21 among some in the Tea Party movement. Agenda 21 never amounted to much. It was never a treaty but a UN sponsored study that looked at development issues and conservation and sustainability. The concern about Agenda 21 originated with the John Birch Society and people like Alex Jones and Glen Beck but it spread to the Republican mainstream. The ultimate theory was that it was a plan to kill 97% of the world's population, to be accomplished by poisoning them with aspartame and fluoride. Not everyone who jumped on the Anti-Agenda 21 bandwagon even knew of the ultimate theory but everything from shady sidewalks, to traffic roundabouts, to traffic calming, to reintroducing wolves into the wild, bike lanes, bike share programs, conservation easements, and art in public places was denounced as part of Agenda 21. Rick Womick sponsored the non-binding memorializing resolution denouncing Agenda 21. Unfortunately it passed the House by an overwhelming majority and while not vetoing it, Governor Haslam refused to sign it.
Womick has also been active in the anti-Muslim movement. I recognize the legitimate threat of radical Islam but due to the threat from radical Islam there has spread a general suspicion of all Muslims. Also, there is this believe of some on the fringe of the right that we are in danger of having Sharia law imposed on us. Womick has made no secret of his anti-Muslim views. He has warned of the threat of having Sharia law imposed on us and he has taken the position that no Muslims should be allowed to serve in the U. S. military.
I don't think it would happen but I surely hope that the State House would not replace someone of the caliber of Beth Harwell for the bombastic, conspiracy theorist, irrational Rick Womick.