|At the beginning of each two year session, the members of
the House of Representatives elect a Speaker from their numbers
by a majority vote. The Speaker of the House is responsible
for presiding over sessions of the House and maintaining decorum
and order within the body. In addition, the Speaker appoints
a slate of committee chairs to be approved or rejected by the
majority party's caucus.
The Speaker is the leader of the majority party within the House of
Representatives and often serves as spokesman for the body as a whole.
Tom Finneran was elected by his peers to serve as Speaker in the spring
of 1996. He has been consecutively re-elected to serve as Speaker
four times since then, most recently in January of 2003.