U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) will become the first Tennessee Republican ever to serve on the Senate's Appropriations Committee, widely considered to be its most powerful committee because of its jurisdiction over federal spending.
Newly-elected Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who named Alexander to the Appropriations Committee, said, “This appointment demonstrates the respect our caucus has for the extraordinary contribution Lamar has made during his first four
years in the Senate, and it is intended to make it possible for him to be even more effective during his next term.”
McConnell also appointed Alexander to the Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee which has jurisdiction over Tennessee Valley Authority, clean air and transportation issues. Alexander will also be the third ranking Republican member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee.
Alexander said, “These appointments could not have been better for Tennessee. The appropriations appointment gives me the best possible opportunity to help control spending and to help Tennesseans receive our fair share of federal funding. The other committee assignments allow me to work for Tennesseans on the issues I care most about: education, energy, the environment, job creation and helping the new TVA board of directors keep electric power reliable and reasonably priced. I am grateful to Sen. McConnell for this show of confidence after just four years in the Senate.”
Alexander, a former governor and President of the University of Tennessee and United States Secretary of Education, was elected to the Senate in November, 2002. During his first four years he has served as chairman of the Senate's Energy Subcommittee and Education Subcommittee. He has also served as a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, as Cochairman of the Science and Technology Caucus and as Chairman of the TVA caucus.
He has spearheaded efforts to develop competitiveness legislation cosponsored by 70 senators “to keep our brainpower advantage so our good jobs will not go to China and India.” He has proposed bipartisan legislation imposing stricter clean air standards.
Congress enacted his legislation establishing new summer academies for teachers and students of American history and civics, and creating the first permanent ‘conservation royalty’ from off shore oil and gas drilling to build city parks, soccer fields and greenways.
During the last four years Sen. Alexander has made 450 county visits including all 95 Tennessee counties.