NASHVILLE, Tennessee – On the second day of the 111th Tennessee General Assembly in a joint session of the Senate and House of Representatives, the state’s Comptroller and Treasurer were re-elected to additional two-year terms.
Justin P. Wilson, Comptroller of the Treasury, and David H. Lillard, Jr., Treasurer, were both unanimously re-elected by voice vote to their respective posts, after having served in them since 2009.
The offices of Secretary of State, Comptroller and Treasurer are called for in the Constitution of the State of Tennessee and are elected by the General Assembly. The Comptroller and Treasurer are elected every two years and the Secretary of State, a position held by Tre Hargett also since 2009, is elected every four years. Hargett is currently in the middle of his third term.
According to the December 2018 Guide to the Office of the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury, the General Assembly approved legislation in January 1836 to create the office for the purpose of ensuring state and local financial integrity, as well as bringing a sense of order to the state’s finances. In 1870, the position was added to the state’s Constitution as a constitutional officer voted on by both houses of the General Assembly.
Wilson, elected as Tennessee’s 34th Comptroller, has a long history of public service and has been recognized for his efforts in conservation by having the Cumberland Trail State Park named after him.
Wilson’s acceptance speech, while presented in a three-ring binder contained just a single page and which he delivered in short order, “Let’s make government work better. God bless the State of Tennessee.”
In making the motion to nominate Lillard, House Assistant Majority (Republican) Leader Representative Ron Gant (R-Rossville) said of the current Treasurer, “During his time in office and under his leadership, the Tennessee Department of Treasury has earned an investment income of approximately $34 billion to benefit Tennesseans.”
In his acceptance remarks, Lillard said that Tennessee doesn’t have the largest gross domestic product or biggest economy of any state in the Nation, “Yet we have an outsized reputation as one of the top three best financially managed states in the union.”
Lillard elaborated that Tennessee has the third best-funded state pension plan as well as “many other things like a triple AAA bond rating, that we’re only one of 12 states in the Union that has that.”
Lillard credited the leadership of this General Assembly which, he said, “is the baseline which allows us to keep our liabilities conservative, to operate our departments and agencies in a way that is behooving all of us as a well-managed state.”
In recognition and appreciation, Lillard concluded, “I thank each one of you because I think each of you does not receive nearly the praise that you should for the key role that you play in where Tennessee is today. And with your help and support, we’ll continue that for the next two years.”
The full proceedings can be watched here.
Laura Baigert is a senior reporter for The Tennessee Star.
Photo “David H. Lillard, Jr” by David H. Lillard.
Photo “Justin Wilson” by Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury.