published Thursday, February 16th, 2012

State Rep. Bill Harmon won't seek new term in Tennessee House

  • photo
    Tennessee State Rep. Bill Harmon, D-Dunlap, stands outside his home.
    Photo by Cliff Hightower

NASHVILLE — State Rep. Bill Harmon, of Dunlap, said Wednesday he will not seek re-election to the House but is considering possible races for the state Senate or Sequatchie County mayor.

"I'd like to thank all the people in the four counties I represented for the past 10 years for the opportunity to serve as their representative," said Harmon, a Democrat whose 37th Legislative District includes Sequatchie, Marion, Grundy and Van Buren counties.

Harmon is the second House Democrat to announce he will not seek re-election following the passage of a Republican-drawn redistricting plan. Harmon's home county of Sequatchie was placed in the 31st Legislative District held by Rep. Jim Cobb, R-Spring City.

The first Democrat to announce he wouldn't seek re-election was Rep. Harry Tindell, of Knoxville, who represented the 13th Legislative District. He said in early February that he wouldn't be returning.

By day's end Wednesday, a third House Democrat, Rep. Janis Sontany, of Nashville, said she won't seek re-election in the 53rd Legislative District.

Harmon said the reconfigured 31st District leans Republican and there are two counties in it he never has represented.

Meanwhile, he's not ruling out a bid for another office.

"There's been some discussion about me running for the Senate and that decision has not been made yet," Harmon said. "And there's been discussion about me running for county mayor at home ... and that decision has not been made yet."

Harmon said he expects to make a decision about both "in the next couple of weeks."

He previously served as Sequatchie County executive, a position that later was renamed mayor.

House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh, D-Ripley, said that, as a former county official, Harmon "understood the importance of local government and fought hard to keep government close to the people."

He also said Harmon, who was chairman of the House Transportation Committee when Democrats were in charge, "also led the way on transportation issues, giving Tennessee one of the best road systems in the U.S. and making us a top destination to do business. His leadership on these and many other issues will be missed by everyone."

about Andy Sher...

Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...

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