Beth Harwell

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Beth Harwell
File: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 64)
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, which is currently embroiled in a lawsuit over the Sea Monkey franchise. [6] [7]

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.[8]

In the 2008 presidential election, Harwell was the state co-chair for John McCain's presidential campaign.[9][10] McCain won 56.9% of Tennessee's popular vote against Democrat Barack Obama.[11] 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.[12]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Beth Halteman Harwell". Retrieved 2009-01-03.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Harwell, Beth Halteman". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2009-01-03.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Locker, Rick (July 24, 2008). "GOP chair won't say whether Rove ordered media ban". Knoxville News Sentinel. Retrieved 2009-01-03.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Lipscomb University Alumni Today 2010 (New York: Harris Connect, 2010), p. 161.
  5. "Rep. Beth Harwell". Friedman Foundation. Retrieved 2009-01-05.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Hitt, Jack (April 15, 2016). "The Battle Over the Sea-Monkey Fortune". New York Times Magazine. Retrieved 2016-04-24.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Klasfeld, Adam (September 24, 2014). "Sea-Monkey Spat Swims On in Federal Court". Courthouse News Service. Retrieved 2016-04-24.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Davis, Michael (May 15, 2007). "Republican Rep. Harwell considering 2010 governor's race". Chattanooga Times Free Press. Retrieved 2009-01-06.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Humphrey, Tom (October 22, 2008). "In presidential race, Tennessee strategies diverge". Knoxville News Sentinel. Retrieved 2009-01-03.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Presidential campaign officer, legislator teaches students about elections this fall". Lipscomb University. Retrieved 2009-01-03.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Tennessee: McCain vs. Obama". RealClearPolitics. Retrieved 2009-01-03.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Locker, Richard (January 22, 2009). "Tennessee House Republicans to chair 7 committees, Democrats 6". The Commercial Appeal. Retrieved 2009-01-23.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

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