High 5: Constitutional Officers


You’ve learned quite a bit at this point, and you should pat yourself on the back.

Now for three other important state government officials who are part of the Legislative Branch of state government.

Tennessee has three “Constitutional Officers,” and they are called this because their jobs are spelled out in the state Constitution. In many states, these jobs are elected by the public at large. But in Tennessee they are elected by the General Assembly.

Here they are:

Comptroller Justin Wilson pets a wild deer that he met on the trail named for him.


The comptroller is sort of the watchdog of government. The comptroller, elected by the legislature, audits state government departments and local governments and advises the legislature on matters related to the budget.

In Tennessee the comptroller is Justin Wilson. Before the legislature decides to spend a lot of money on anything, they generally turn to Justin Wilson for advice.

You may have heard of Justin Wilson but might not have realized that he was the Comptroller. The Justin P.¬†Wilson Cumberland Trail State Park was named for him — something for which he is very proud.

Secretary of State Tre Hargett

Secretary of State

Tre Hargett, a former state representative from Shelby County, is the Tennessee Secretary of State.

Hargett’s office has a myriad of responsibilities, such as keeping official records of state government, running the Tennessee State Library and Archives, and overseeing Tennessee’s elections process.

One of the many tasks assigned to the Secretary of State’s office is that of maintaining annual reports on all companies and non-profit organizations in the state of Tennessee. That means that Tennessee History for Kids has an annual interaction with the Secretary of State’s office!

State Treasurer David Lillard

The Treasurer

Appointed by the legislature, the treasurer keeps tabs on how much money the state of Tennessee has in the bank and how it is invested. Tennessee’s treasurer is David Lillard.

Now, don’t get this job confused with the Commissioner of Finance, which is a member of the governor’s cabinet. The Commissioner of Finance keeps up with how much money the state is currently raising in taxes, and how much money the state is spending in its current year. It is the job of the Commissioner of Finance, for instance, to announce how tax revenues come out every month.

The treasurer’s job has more to do with Tennessee’s long-term financial situation. For example, a big part of the treasurer’s job is keeping tabs on the state employees’ retirement fund.

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