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.
 Speaker Finneran talking to a State Representative from the podium

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.