Haslam Talks Rural Economies

Press Release from Governor-elect of Tennessee, Bill Haslam, Jan. 12, 2011:

Governor-elect Takes Swing Tour to West Tennessee with Visits to Jackson and Memphis

MEMPHIS – Tennessee Governor-elect Bill Haslam emphasized the importance of economic development in the state’s rural areas and leveraging the existing strengths of each region to create high quality jobs during stops today in Jackson and Memphis .

Haslam’s Inaugural Swing Tour takes him and wife Crissy across the state and finishes with his Inauguration Saturday in Nashville as Tennessee’s 49th Governor. He is spending the week leading and participating in a series of events that highlight his agenda of jobs, education and efficient and effective government.

In Jackson, Gov.-elect Haslam shared with local city and county mayors from across West Tennessee his plan to appoint the first leadership position within the Department of Economic and Community Development (ECD). This new appointee will be charged with creating business approaches that focus on small towns, rural populations and agriculture initiatives.

“Each region of our state has unique strengths and challenges that require tailored solutions, and with our rural areas suffering some our highest unemployment rates, they deserve a specific focus within my administration,” Haslam said. “The Small Towns and Rural Economic Development Director within ECD will work with rural communities across the state to offer support, help develop proactive strategies to create jobs in those areas.”

Haslam then traveled to Memphis where he toured the Memphis Bioworks Foundation, met several bioscience entrepreneurs and discussed building on existing assets in a region as a job creation strategy.

“If Tennessee is a business, then Memphis is your biggest branch, and this region already has many great things happening here. That’s why capitalizing on existing assets is central to my plan to making Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs,” Haslam said. “Memphis Bioworks Foundation is the kind of holistic approach of identifying a growing bioscience industry and banding together to support its growth. This type of development should be replicated in other parts of the state.”

On Thursday, January 13, Haslam will travel to Oak Ridge to speak about regional economic development, Innovation Valley, Inc. and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and UT-Battelle partnership.