Ramsey says he's just getting started as state Senate speaker

Associated Press • May 6, 2007 at 10:15 AM

OAKLAND, Tenn. - Speaking a Republican fund-raiser in Fayette County, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey said things have changed on Capitol Hill since his election to the speaker's seat - and he's just getting started.

The barbecue fund-raiser on Saturday was Ramsey's 22nd Republican dinner this year, and right in the heart of the district of former Democratic Senate leader John Wilder.

"This is Sen. Wilder's district but it's also turning more and more Republican," he said.

Wilder held the position for 37 years, making him the longest-serving presiding officer of a legislative chamber in modern U.S. history, according to researchers at the National Conference of State Legislators.

Senate Republicans have been able to accomplish policy goals that were difficult under the previous Democratic majority, Ramsey said.

"But we are just now starting and we have a long way to go," Ramsey said.

He promised to set anti-abortion issues, medical malpractice reform and "other pro-business issues" at the top of his priority list.

"There has been a real excitement in our grass roots level across the state," Ramsey said. "Some people have called it an ‘evangelical high' after I won and we're trying our best to keep that going."

Nearly 100 people paid $20 a plate for dinner and to hear Ramsey, with proceeds going to the Fayette County Republican Party.

Senate Republicans recently thwarted an attempt by Democrats to resurrect a measure to limit transfers between political campaign committees.

Ramsey's political campaign fund, RAAMPAC, transferred large amounts of cash to another PAC during the 2004 and 2006 election cycles, The Associated Press previously reported.

Rep. Delores Gresham, Republican from Somerville, complimented Ramsey's leadership.

"He has a way about him that people naturally gravitate toward," she said. "I think he will do good things for the party."

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