By Michael Williams
State Senator Steve Southerland (R-Morristown) took the oath of office on Tuesday in Nashville as the 109th General Assembly was gaveled into session. The oath was administered by Supreme Court Justice Holly Kirby during the legislature’s organizational session which will conclude after Saturday’s inauguration of Governor-elect Bill Haslam.
“I appreciate the support of the people of Cocke, Greene, Hamblen and Sevier Counties” said Senator Southerland. “I will honor the oath that I have taken today while I continue to work on their behalf in every way.
“The oath of office is a solemn promise which I take very seriously,” he continued. “It includes a promise that as a member of the General Assembly that I will not support any measure injurious to the people or to consent to any act which will abridge their rights or privileges under our U.S. and State Constitutions, so help me God. It is certainly something I will remember every day while serving the people of the 1st Senatorial District.
Southerland was elected to the 103rd, 104th, and 105th General Assemblies. He is Vice-Chair of the Senate Commerce, Labor and Agriculture Committee. He serves as a member of the Senate Transportation Committee, the Senate Environment, Conservation and Tourism Committee, the Senate Ethics Committee, and the Joint Fiscal Review Committee. He is currently the Republican Caucus Chaplain, and he has been appointed to the Financial Services Standing Committee of the National Conference on State Legislatures.
Southerland is a conservative voice in the assembly and has repeatedly taken a firm stance against abortion and opposes same sex marriage.
Other organizational tasks that were taken up this week in Nashville included the election of the state’s constitutional officers on Wednesday. Governor Haslam’s inauguration ceremony was held Saturday, January 17 at 11 am on the War Memorial Plaza in the state Capital. The General Assembly will take a two-week break to allow for office assignments before beginning the special session called by Governor Haslam on healthcare on Feb. 2.