Womick: Somebody has to step up and hold Harwell accountable

In an interview with the Daily News Journal, state Rep. Rick Womick lays out his reasons for challenging the reelection of Beth Harwell as House speaker. Some excerpts from the report, mostly in Q-and-A format:

“I really don’t want to be the House speaker, but somebody has to step up and hold our current speaker, Speaker Harwell, accountable for the things she has done in her four years in office,” Womick said.

…The speaker of the House and the leadership in the House is doing whatever the governor (Republican Bill Haslam) tells them to do. And if there’s legislation the governor doesn’t like, it gets killed. And it starts with the speaker. She allows things like flagging bills and fraudulent fiscal notes, these kinds of things that are put on legislation with the sole intent to kill the bill because the governor may not agree with them.

… Am I a tea partyer? First of all, I’m a conservative, then I’m a Republican. That’s what I call myself. That’s what I am. I identify with the tea-party folks. I identify with all conservatives, 9/12s, all the different groups. So to label me as a tea-party candidate, well, there’s no such thing as a tea party. I’m a conservative. I’m a Republican. And that’s how I’ll lead.

…(On last session’s Common Core vote): There was a large group of us in the Tennessee House, Republicans, who came together, and we actually sat down with the Democrat leadership, who also was opposed to Common Core. And we forced, unbeknown to the speaker at the time, and against her wishes, we forced a vote on the floor of the House. And that vote was 83 votes against Common Core, 83 votes that wanted to repeal Common Core and then 87 votes to stop the PARCC testing. Overwhelming, but yet our speaker did what the governor asked her to do instead of following what the House, the very people who elected her, the House members, instead of following their wishes, she did what the governor asked and tried to squash it, and ultimately did because it never got to the Senate, and it never became legislation. They were able to throw it out that way. But we did work with the Democrats. We did work with other Republicans. And when you get 83 and 87 out of 99 votes, you have a big majority, and you have worked together. We overcame the leadership’s opposition. We overcame the chairman’s opposition of those education committees. And we forced the vote, and the people of the House spoke. But again, we were ignored by the leadership of the House.

…(Part of comments on Womick’s proposed bill requiring women seeking an abortion to get an ultrasound and explanation from providers):

Does the bill give women the option on whether to hear the heartbeat?

Womick: No. She’ll have to hear the heart. Turn it up and listen to the heart beat and define the dimensions of the child just like normal ultrasounds are done all across this country. She will hear the heartbeat, and she will hear the doctor describe the baby is this old, it’s two months, three months, six months, however old the fetus is within the mother. At that point, she will still have the option to choose whether to terminate her pregnancy.