Press Release from Bill Haslam for Governor, March 16, 2010:
New leadership position will focus solely on small towns, rural development, agricultural issues
RIPLEY – Speaking at a meeting with local government officials and economic development professionals from Tipton, Lauderdale, and Haywood counties as a part of his statewide Jobs Tour, Republican gubernatorial candidate Mayor Bill Haslam announced today his plan to create the first ever leadership position within the state Department of Economic and Community Development focused solely on small towns, rural development, and agricultural issues.
Recognizing the need for a proactive strategy around rural development and support, Mayor Haslam upon taking office will appoint a Director of Small Towns & Rural Development who will report directly to the Commissioner of Economic and Community Development. The creation of this new position will be a part of the larger restructuring of ECD and state government and will not require additional resources.
This person will work closely with many of the regional directors of the jobs base camps Mayor Haslam will create, and together they will establish specific regional economic development strategies based on each region’s unique needs and assets.
“Time and again on the campaign trail, and most recently on our Jobs Tour, I’ve heard from farmers, small business owners, and small town community leaders about the need for a greater focus at the state level on rural, small town, and agricultural issues,” Haslam said.
“We have to recognize that from Memphis to Mountain City, our state is diverse. State government can’t have a one-size-fits-all policy for every region and community in the state,” Haslam continued. “That’s why I’m pushing regional economic development strategies, and that’s why I think ECD should have a top person working specifically on rural and small town issues.”
Mayor Haslam is spending Week Two of his three-week, statewide Jobs Tour in West Tennessee, and today is being spent in Ripley and Covington meeting with community leaders and economic development professionals and visiting and touring Tennessee Tractor, Ripley’s Downtown Square, Marvin Windows, and Rose Construction. The schedule for the remaining stops on the West Tennessee swing of the Jobs Tour can be found below.
Bill Haslam is the two-term Mayor of Knoxville, re-elected in 2007 with 87% of the vote. A hardworking, conservative public servant, he led Knoxville to become one of the top ten metropolitan areas for business and expansion, while reducing the city’s debt, tripling the rainy day fund, and bringing property taxes to the lowest rate in 50 years. An executive leader with a proven record of success, he helped grow his family’s small business from 800 employees into one of Tennessee’s largest companies with 14,000 employees. His combination of executive and public service experience makes him uniquely qualified to be Tennessee’s next Governor. Bill is the right person at the right time to lead Tennessee.
Bill and Crissy Haslam have two daughters, Annie and Leigh, and a son, Will, who resides in Knoxville with his wife, Hannah.
To follow Mayor Haslam on his Jobs Tour and submit ideas for how to grow our state’s economy, please visit www.Jobs4TN.com.