Senate Chamber, State Capitol

The Senate is the upper house of the Tennessee General Assembly. One senator is elected from each of the state’s 33 senatorial districts. Senators are elected to a 4 year term. About half of the 33 senators are up for re-election each election cycle and there are no term limits.

In order to run for the Senate, you have to be 30 years old, a U.S. citizen, a Tennessee resident for three years, and living in the district for at least one year immediately before the election.

The Senate differs from the House with certain powers and obligations. The Senate is given the power to conduct impeachment proceedings initiated by the House. Any officer of the state may be impeached, but 2/3 of the Senate must vote for them to be removed from office. 

For more information about the Tennessee State Senate, click here.

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Leadership Positions

Speaker of the Senate (Lieutenant Governor)

The Tennessee Constitution mandates that the members of the Senate choose a speaker. The Speaker of the Senate also holds the position of Lieutenant Governor and assumes the office of Governor if there is a vacancy. The Lieutenant Governor has many responsibilities including maintaining order in the Senate chamber, appointing all officers and members of Senate committees, serving on several different committees, and more.

Speaker Pro Tempore of the Senate

The speaker pro tempore (pronounced “tem”) is a member of the Senate that is selected by the speaker to a two-year term. In the absence of the Speaker of the Senate, the speaker pro tempore presides over the Senate. This position performs duties assigned by the Speaker of the Senate and serves at the pleasure of the speaker.

Deputy Speaker of the Senate

The deputy speaker is appointed to a two-year term by the Speaker of the Senate. The deputy speaker helps schedule and guide the flow of legislation on the floor, assists the speaker in administrative decisions, and serves as a liaison with regional and national legislative bodies.

Majority/Minority Leaders

The leaders of the Senate are the chief spokespeople for their respective parties. Two leaders are elected to a two year term by their caucus: one for the Republican Party and one for the Democratic Party. The leaders rally support for legislation in the Senate and work closely with the House leadership to develop political strategy.

Caucus Chairs (Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer)

The Senate caucus chairs preside at Senate caucus meetings and at joint caucus meetings of the House and Senate. Each caucus (one for the Republican Party and one for the Democratic Party) consists of a chairman, vice-chairman, secretary, and treasurer. These positions are elected by the members of the caucus. The caucus chairs attend leadership meetings of the Senate. They, along with other party legislative leaders, keep party members of the House and Senate informed on issues facing the caucus. The chairs are involved in coordinating political and fundraising events for the respective parties, and helping to re-elect current members of the caucus.