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Sen. Jack Johnson reappointed Chairman of Commerce & Labor Committee

State Sen. Jack Johnson was recently reappointed chairman of the Commerce and Labor Committee by Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, the committee which oversees all legislation concerning banking and lending institutions; communications; regulations and licensing of occupations; protections of trade and commerce; corporations; labor and industrial relations; consumer affairs and protection and unemployment compensation.

“It’s great to be chairman of this committee at anytime, but right now its especially exciting,” Johnson said. “I am very honored to have been selected again.”

The result of “a confluence of occurrences,” Johnson was first appointed chairman of the Commerce and Labor Committee four years ago while in the fourth year of his first term. It was considered to be “pretty unusual” for a first-term senator to be appointed to what is regarded by many as the most powerful committee in the General Assembly.

He has found it to be, “Very exciting and very fulfilling.”

According to Johnson, one of the primary purposes of state government is to create an atmosphere that strengthens the economy and creates businesses. Whether it is a hometown barbershop or a multi-billion-dollar corporation, much of the red tape a business incurs is the same and emanates from the Commerce and Labor Committee, Johnson said.

Under Gov. Bill Haslam’s leadership, “We are focusing like a laser to cutout red tape, fraud and abuse,” he added.

Last year the General Assembly made strides in reforming unemployment insurance. Johnson anticipates workman’s compensation will “probably be one of the biggest issues we tackle – the biggest game changer this year. In our state, we want to be able to offer great jobs, a strong economy and put out the welcome sign to businesses in other places. That’s what I’m tasked with as chairman.”

As a legislator, Johnson views himself as wearing two hats. The first hat is as senator for the 23rd District, “a hat I feel honored to wear.”

The second is as chairman of a committee with statewide responsibilities.

“We contemplate legislation that will impact any business and employer in the state and can creates more work [for them],” he said. “It’s somewhat appropriate I am in a position like this since Williamson County is such an economic engine in the state – of course I’m always biased.”

As a small business owner, Johnson is directly impacted by the decisions of his committee.

“I have to pay unemployment taxes, file franchise and excise taxes just like any business in the state,” he said. “We are a citizen legislature. We spend part of our time dealing with The People’s business and then come home to run our own. We don’t get out of touch with the real world. We are doing what every other family is doing.”

He hopes the General Assembly will wrap up its work by the end of April so he can do just that.

Contact Carole Robinson at

Posted on: 1/24/2013


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