|Ramsey with his grandchildren (via Twitter)|
Ramsey's term as Speaker of the Senate will expire on the second Tuesday in January 2017.
There's already talk that he'll make another run at the governor's seat. I seriously doubt it. If he was still interested, he wouldn't bow out now - not with more than three years left. That's a lot of time for people to forget.
I think he legitimately wants to spend more time with his family.
Below are Ramsey's remarks from the Senate floor on Wednesday, as posted to his Facebook page:
I have always been known as a straight-shooter who gets right to the point. Today is no exception.Ramsey is the first GOP Senate Speaker in Tennessee in 140 years and the first from Sullivan County in over 100 years, according to a news release. In the 2008 elections, Ramsey led Tennessee’s Republicans to a gain of three Senate seats and a solid five seat majority. Lt. Governor Ramsey became the longest-serving Republican Senate Speaker in Tennessee history in 2009.
I stand before you today to announce that I will not be seeking another four-year term to the State Senate.
I have served in the General Assembly for nearly a quarter of a century: four years in the State House and 20 years in the State Senate. 24 years.
For the last 10 years, this body has granted me the privilege of serving as Lt. Governor and Speaker of the Senate. It has been a true honor to serve my state in this way.
I have said many times, I truly am “living the dream.” I have never meant that phrase as much as I mean it right now. I am living the dream.
While serving in the legislature, I have tried my best to keep my priorities in order.
My first priority has always been my faith. I have never taken my talents and opportunities for granted. I know that all I have God has given me. I have prayed to Him everyday for wisdom and guidance.
A close second has always been my family. Sindy is not only my wife but my best friend. She is truly the wind beneath my wings.
I have the three best daughters a father could ask for. And now I have three wonderful son-in-laws.
My third priority has been my business.
And that brings us to priority number four, politics and state government.
It has been the honor of my life to serve here. We have accomplished great things together. We have left Tennessee better than we found it.
But lately, it seems like life is flying by.
When I ran for office four years ago, I had a one-year old grandson. That grandson, Parker, will be starting kindergarten in August.
I now have four grandsons. My first granddaughter will be born today. As a matter of fact, I will be leaving immediately following session to celebrate the birth of little Sadie Rhea with my family.
After a lot of prayer and many sleepless nights, I have determined that I simply cannot commit to another four years in office. I am ready to take priority number four off the table and commit a lot more time to priority number two, my growing family.
This has not been an easy decision. I love the the State Senate. I love being Lt. Governor. And I consider each and every one of you a true friend.
I want to thank the people of my district for allowing me to serve the past 24 years. I especially want to thank the members of this body for allowing me to serve as your leader.
May God bless each and every one of you.
And may God continue to bless the great State of Tennessee.