House Speaker Emeritus Jimmy Naifeh Leaving Legislature

From Richard Locker:
State Rep. Jimmy Naifeh of Covington, who served as House speaker for longer than anyone in Tennessee history, is expected to announce today he won’t run for re-election this year after 38 years in the General Assembly.
Naifeh, 72, a Democrat, was elected in 1974 to a seat in the state House and then re-elected 18 times.
The House elected him its speaker, the chamber’s powerful presiding officer, for nine terms from 1991 until 2009, when Republicans won the majority. He’s remained an outspoken member, leading the opposition to cuts in lottery-funded scholarships this week.
He would not comment as word of his expected announcement this morning on the House floor spread through the Capitol Wednesday night, but legislative sources confirmed that the announcement is planned.
His District 81 includes most of his home Tipton County and all of Haywood County. But Republicans moved heavily Democratic Haywood out of the district in this year’s redistricting and merged all of Tipton into the new 81st.
In 2008, Naifeh carried both counties and won re-election by a margin of more than 2-to-1. In 2010, he lost Tipton by 681 votes but won by winning Haywood by more than a 3-to-1 margin.

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