Rep. Tim Wirgau, Speaker Beth Harwell and Michael Williams

Beth Harwell (center), R-Nashville, House Speaker of the Tennessee General Assembly, answers a question from Michael Williams (right), editor and publisher of The Paris Post-Intelligencer, as State Rep. Tim Wirgau, R-Buchanan, listens.

Tennessee Speaker of the House Beth Harwell said Thursday she is interested in the possibility of becoming the state’s first female governor.

Harwell, R-Nashville, visited Paris Thursday with State Rep. Tim Wirgau, R-Buchanan.

She said she was open to the possibility of a future gubernatorial run during an interview with Michael Williams, editor and publisher of The Paris Post-Intelligencer.

“I do love what I do, and it’s an honor to get to be speaker,” Harwell said. “Nobody knows exactly what the future holds, either personally or professionally, but if I had the opportunity to run for a statewide office, I would certainly be interested in doing that, and I would just have to see what the lay of the land is.”

Wirgau said several members of the House of Representatives hoped to see Harwell make a bid for higher office.

“I feel very strongly she’ll be the first woman governor,” Wirgau said. “She’s proven that leadership as Speaker of the House.”

Harwell, who has held the speaker’s gavel since 2011, said Wirgau takes the time to learn about the bills coming up for vote, and was always thinking about the possible effects of legislation on his constituents in the 75th District, which includes Henry, Benton and Stewart counties. 

“He is probably one of the most conscientious legislators I have,” she said. “His heart and his mind is always back in this district.”

She also complimented the House in general, which included “… some strong personalities that feel passionately about issues, and that care deeply about their districts.”

“We’re going to have our differences — that’s the nature of a legislative body,” she said. “But ultimately, as long as we say ‘What’s the best for Tennessee’ and try to get there, I think we’re in a good place on that.”

For a video of the full interview with Harwell and Wirgau, go to the videos section of

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