The Tennessee House of Representatives officially elected Glen Casada, of Franklin, as speaker.
With his parents and loved ones in the House chamber, Casada called on Democrats and Republicans to work in a bipartisan way throughout the new legislative session.
He promised he’ll work with both parties to pass legislation.
“Today I accept this gavel in the spirit of partnership, not partisanship," Casada said.
The Republican used the legislation passed last year that addressed issues with the state standardized test TNReady as an example of how both chambers can work together.
“I promise that at the table of governing, everyone is welcomed," Casada told fellow representatives. "I promise that my door will always be open to you.”
Casada overwhelmingly won the Speaker election. All Republicans present voted for him, as well three Democrats — John DeBerry of Memphis, Johnny Shaw of Bolivar and John Windle of Livingston.
Karen Camper, the House minority leader, was nominated for the speakership. She says the Democrats who voted for Casada appear to have personal connections with him.
“They’ve known this gentleman for years, long before I came to the general assembly," Camper told reporters. "So I imagine relationships matter to some people.”
Camper says she also believes the House can work in a bipartisan way to approve bills.
In the Senate, Randy McNally was re-elected as speaker.