KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Republican state Rep. Bill Dunn of Knoxville said Thursday he will not seek reelection next year to the Tennessee House of Representatives.

Dunn is the senior member of the Knox County delegation, having been elected in 1994. He represents District 16.

"I've done my time," Dunn joked Thursday to 10News.

He currently is speaker pro tempore, the second-ranking member of the House and recently served as acting speaker of the House after the resignation of the previous speaker, Glen Casada. Casada, of Williamson County, was embroiled in political controversy and members on both sides of the aisle called for his resignation. 

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“After the 2019 session was over, and we had passed Educational Savings Accounts legislation, as well as one of the most pro-life measures in the country, House Bill 1029, I decided it was the right time to conclude my public service on a high note,” Dunn said in a release.

He told 10News he also decided to wait to announce until after a special legislative session called by Gov. Bill Lee ended last month.

Dunn said he wasn't sure what he'd be doing next. 

The legislator said he wanted to announce early so that others who may be interested in the seat could start making their plans.  

“I am grateful for the opportunity to serve the citizens of our community for the past 26 years as a member of the Tennessee House of Representatives. I have reached a point in my life where it is time for me to seek new challenges. I am not sure what my future holds, but I look forward to many new and exciting adventures.”

A press release from the House Republican Caucus highlighted Dunn's accomplishments during his tenure:

  • Tennessee students became the fastest improving in the entire nation across math, reading and science. In 2019, Dunn championed an initiative that establishes the Tennessee Education Savings Account Pilot Program which gives students and their families the opportunity to select the school that most meets their educational needs.
  • Dunn has been a passionate voice for the Right to Life. He has fought to strengthen Tennessee’s pro-life laws in recent years and has strongly supported initiatives to protect unborn children and their mothers.  This year, the legislature passed one of the country’s strongest pro-life measures, House Bill 1029, which restores Tennessee’s pre-1973 pro-life laws when the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. 
  • Dunn pursued road improvements in the district, and he will leave office with major improvements to Emory Road in Powell, Highway 33 in Halls, and the I-640/Broadway interchange in Fountain City.
  • Dunn and his Republican colleagues cut more than $700 million in taxes since 2011, and they have supported a business-friendly environment that has led to statewide unemployment rates remaining near historic low levels.

“I will be leaving office with our state in a stronger position than when I first came to Nashville,” said Dunn. “We have vastly improved our education system, our state is ranked number one in fiscal responsibility, and, because of the conservative leadership, we continue to attract quality jobs.

"I appreciate my colleagues for their friendship and for their dedication to the citizens of Tennessee. I represent the best people in the state and thank the constituents of the 16th House District for the opportunity they have given me to serve them and the great state of Tennessee.”