Press Releases

New Wamp TV Ad Zeroes In On Early Education

Press Release from Zach Wamp for Governor; June 17, 2010:

New Spot Begins Airing Statewide Friday

NASHVILLE – Zach Wamp, Republican candidate for Governor, today announced details of his new television ad that focuses on improving education through his bold new early childhood reading initiative as outlined in his 20/20 Vision For an Even Better Tennessee.

Wamp’s new ad is now available for viewing on the campaign’s Web site at It begins airing statewide in every major media market Friday morning.

“Preparing our children to read for content by third grade is key to their long-term efforts and prevents them from dropping out of school,” Wamp said.

“Under my plan, we will benchmark every child’s reading skills when they get to Kindergarten. If they’re not reading at grade level and are at risk of falling behind, then we will give them special instruction and phonics to catch them up to their peers.”

Wamp often references education research that shows children who read well early perform well in school and later in life.

“Whatever schooling option parents choose – public, private, religious, magnet, charter or home school – basic reading skills and hard work are fundamental to a child’s academic success. Having books in the home and reading out loud to children can help them learn to read, imagine, create and write,” Wamp said.

“Reading skills are important to scholastic success, career success and lifetime learning. My early childhood reading initiative will be one of many steps I will take as governor to help prepare our children to read so they can succeed, no matter the career path they choose.”

In the new ad, Wamp discusses his 20/20 Vision’s early childhood reading initiative and how a more educated workforce directly translates into more jobs for Tennessee families and a stronger and more dynamic state economy.

ZACH WAMP: “I’m Zach Wamp. My 20/20 Vision is a bold plan to make Tennessee even better.

With a new focus on early childhood reading.

We’ll benchmark children in kindergarten. If they’re not reading well, they’ll receive special instruction in phonics to catch them up.

Because a good 3rd grade reader… becomes a better 8th grade student… a high school graduate… and a productive citizen.

A more educated workforce means more jobs for Tennessee. And the most dynamic economy in America.”

For more information about Zach Wamp and his campaign for governor, including his 20/20 Vision For an Even Better Tennessee, please visit the campaign online at


Ideologically Aligned Candidates Line Up to Replace Lynn

While the state Senate primary battle between incumbent Sen. Mae Beavers and Rep. Susan Lynn — both Mt. Juliet Republicans — has captured attention, the race to replace Lynn has been overshadowed.

But Lynn’s record in House District 57 appears to be something the leading candidates for her current seat want to emulate, and there is a strong Republican trend in the district heading toward the Aug. 5 primary.

Three Republicans are in the race — attorney Adam Futrell, retiree Robert Fields and Mt. Juliet Mayor Linda Elam. One Democrat, Allen Barry, will be on the ballot, as will two independents in November.

Lynn has used her position to advance the issue of state sovereignty and led an effort in the House to protect Tennesseans from having to conform to the new federal health care law, an effort that failed in the House but nevertheless bolstered Lynn’s reputation as a Tenth Amendment advocate.

Similar political philosophies and priorities are being expressed by the field of candidates in the race to replace her.

“Susan has served the district admirably, and she has been a keystone of the conservative movement in Tennessee,” Futrell said. “Everybody is running a reasonably positive race, focusing on the issues. I certainly am doing that. People are responding to the level of optimism I’ve been bringing.”

Fields notes few philosophical differences among the Republican candidates.

“We have the same fundamental beliefs,” he said. “We’re all fiscally conservative and believe in the Second Amendment. The only difference is I’m the only veteran in the race, the only retiree who can devote 100 percent of my time to representing the people. I’m the only father and grandfather in the group. I’m the only one living on a fixed income who knows how to keep a budget.”

Elam has said with her mayoral experience she could hit the ground running. Elam, who was elected mayor of Mt. Juliet in 2004 and re-elected in 2008, said said her platform is reducing the size of government.

Jobs remain the most important issue in the campaign, but Futrell said voters are concerned more than ever about the basic competence level in government and its ability just to get a job done. He said voters increasingly want to talk about issues like energy policy with the BP oil spill dominating the news.

“It has just caused people to say, ‘I want people in government who know what they’re doing,'” Futrell said.

But Futrell is upbeat about the contest.

“My message has been that we’re all still Americans, we’re still Tennesseans, and all the problems, as enormous as they are, are the kinds of things we’ve always found solutions to. I’m just presenting conservative ideas, and people are responding well.”

Fields reports the same reaction.

“It’s a very humbling experience,” he said. “I don’t take anything for granted, but I’m getting very positive reaction.”

Just as the Legislature has been pushing back against federal mandates, at least one candidate in the field points out that the same principle applies at the local level.

Heather Scott is a Libertarian, but she is running as an independent.

From her eight years as a member of the Wilson County Commission, Scott says she’s seen how programs come down from the state and federal government that may or may not be right for a particular county, yet local governments have to enact them and cover the costs that come with them.

Scott recalled how she led a resolution a few years ago sending a message to both the state and federal governments to stop unfunded mandates.

She also recalled how a couple of years ago the Wilson County school system needed $1.5 million and that it looked like a tax increase could be involved. But she looked at the schools’ budget and saw an undesignated fund balance of $3 million. When she pointed out the schools had the money they needed, she learned the schools were required by the state to keep 3 percent in an undesignated fund balance for emergencies, so the commission, without her support, voted for a tax increase.

“I thought it was crazy, because they had the money. They just couldn’t spend it,” Scott said.

“It’s a trickle-down effect. Government should be strongest at the local level. More tax dollars should be kept at the local level. We send our income tax to Washington then have to beg for it to come back to local communities, and then they usually have strings attached. That money should never leave our community in the first place.”

Scott, a sales and marketing professional who is attending the Nashville School of Law, said the election laws in the state are set up in a way that make it difficult for a third-party candidate to run, so she opted for the independent tag rather than run as a Libertarian.

“I wouldn’t be telling the truth if I ran as a Republican, because I’m not a Republican,” Scott said.

Another independent in the race is Luther Lenning.

The District 57 race has gone under the radar of the race involving Lynn against Beavers, because Beavers at one point had announced a run for Wilson County mayor. Beavers changed her mind, and Lynn had already said she was going to run for the Senate seat, which left a campaign between the two who are widely perceived as personal rivals.

“I’ve not made a secret of the fact I am a supporter of Susan Lynn, but I have no problem with Senator Beavers,” Futrell said.

Press Releases

Original ‘Health Freedom Act’ Champion Endorses Beavers

Press Release from Sen. Mae Beavers for Senate; June 16, 2010:

MT. JULIET, TN – Senator Mae Beavers is proud today to receive the endorsement of one of the country’s state sovereignty champions, Representative Jim Clark of Idaho. Representative Clark is the current Idaho House of Representatives Judiciary Chairman, as well as being Idaho’s state chairman to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

“I am proud today to announce my endorsement of a lady with strong convictions and who has worked tirelessly to combat an unprecedented over-reaching of the federal government throughout the years,” said Representative Clark. “Senator Beavers sponsored and passed the Firearms Freedom Act last year, and this year sponsored and passed the Tennessee Health Freedom Act twice in the State Senate. The state of Tennessee and the people of Senator Beavers’ district are lucky to have someone with such steadfast and consistently conservative principles and credentials.”

Representative Clark is the original author of the Idaho Health Freedom Act – joining with Virginia and Arizona as being one of the three states with statutorily-enacted laws directly challenging the constitutionality of President Obama’s national healthcare legislation. Clark worked with Senator Beavers in drafting of the Tennessee Health Freedom Act, acknowledging that language offered by ALEC’s version of the bill was inadequate and did nothing but issue a statement of intention regarding what the state legislature can and cannot do.

“The ALEC version of the Healthcare Freedom Act was similar to a resolution,” said Representative Clark. “I decided to use language in my legislation that made the law in Idaho a direct confrontation with the unconstitutional federal healthcare bill. We also put into law a remedy to such an unprecedented violation of our rights in that our Attorney General would protect the state of Idaho from these federal fines and unfunded mandates. I applaud Senator Beavers for passing this bill in the Tennessee Senate, and I wish the Tennessee House of Representatives would have been able to pass this legislation and stand up to the federal government as well.”

Representative Clark graduated from Tampa University in Florida in 1973. He received a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army, and later served his country proudly for twenty years stationed in Germany, South America, Vietnam, and throughout the United States. Clark also has a Master of Science degree in International Relations from Troy State University in Alabama and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Idaho. Clark has served in the Idaho House of Representatives since 1996.

Press Releases

Wamp Fundraisers to Feature Musicians, Pay For TV Ad Campaign

Press Release from Zach Wamp for Governor; June 16, 2010:

NASHVILLE – Zach Wamp, Republican candidate for Governor, today announced a series of upcoming fundraising events to be headlined by star entertainers who’ve pledged their support for his campaign and his 20/20 Vision For an Even Better Tennessee now featured in his television ads.

Well-known music artists Ricky Skaggs, John Rich, T.G. Sheppard, The Whites and the Voices of Lee are volunteering their time and talents for Wamp over the next two weeks and will meet and entertain guests at fundraising events across Tennessee.

“I am grateful to have the support of so many talented and wonderful artists who help make Tennessee such a special place,” Wamp said. “These fundraising events will help us stay on TV and carry our message for an even better Tennessee to more and more voters all across the state. Our momentum is growing and could not be stronger at just the right time. We are going to win.”

Wamp made today’s announcement on the heels of a major campaign endorsement last week by Dave Ramsey, the nationally syndicated radio host and personal money management expert. Ramsey and his wife, Sharon, will host a fundraising event and business roundtable for Wamp’s campaign on July 1 at their home in Franklin.

Specific details for the following events are posted online and will be updated regularly via Wamp’s campaign web site at

June 17 – The Whites / Franklin – White Oak Farm

June 21 – Voices of Lee / Knoxville

June 28 – Ricky Skaggs / Chattanooga

June 29 – John Rich, T.G. Sheppard and Friends / Nashville

July 1 – Dave Ramsey / Franklin

Often called the “Region’s Mayor” by U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, Wamp’s work to promote a regional approach to economic development in the Tennessee Valley Technology Corridor has led to many of the state’s biggest economic wins in recent years right in his congressional district.

These include Volkswagen and Wacker Chemie in the Chattanooga area, new missions and investments in Oak Ridge, new bio-fuel, nuclear and solar energy investments throughout the region, and thousands of growing small business jobs generated from these and other related manufacturing investments. As governor, Wamp will take his leadership in economic development and new job creation to the rest of Tennessee.

For more information about Zach Wamp and his campaign for governor, including his 20/20 Vision For an Even Better Tennessee, please visit the campaign online at

Press Releases

Haslam Raises $8M for Guv Campaign

Press Release from Bill Haslam for Governor; June 15, 2010:

Mayor Has Nearly 11,000 Contributions Representing All 95 Counties

NASHVILLE – On the heels of an internal poll showing Knoxville Mayor and Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Haslam winning the race for the Republican nomination by double digits, Haslam’s campaign announced the mayor has now raised more than $8 million.

Haslam hit the mark after a well-attended fundraiser Monday night at the Nashville home of Stephanie and John Ingram. The two-term mayor has now drawn support to his campaign from a record amount of donors and contributions for a statewide race: nearly 11,000 contributions from more than 7,500 donors with all 95 Tennessee counties represented.

The fundraising total is the newest indication that Mayor Haslam has clear momentum one month before early voting begins, and a recent poll showed Haslam with 37 percent – 13 points more than his closest competitor – in a three-man race.

“We’re organized in every county. We have support in every county, and we’re continuing to grow that support across the state,” said Mark Cate, Campaign Manager. “The state faces many challenges ahead, and Tennesseans are eager to hear Mayor Haslam’s common-sense solutions for job creation, budget management and strengthening education.”

“Mayor Haslam is thankful for the support he has received, and we feel great about our position one month out from early voting,” said Campaign Finance Director Kim Kaegi. “To achieve this kind of success in this political and economic climate cements even further the Mayor’s position as the candidate Tennesseans see as the best qualified to guide the state over the next four years.”

Mayor Haslam is the two-term Republican Mayor of Knoxville, reelected in 2007 with 87 percent of the vote. A hardworking, conservative public servant, Haslam 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, reducing the number of city employees to the lowest level in 15 years, 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.

For more information on Bill Haslam, please visit

Press Releases

Wamp: Haslam Should Release Pilot Earnings from Education Lottery Tickets

Press Release from Zach Wamp, Republican Candidate for Governor; June 14, 2010:

Says Haslam Needs to Itemize, Address All Conflicts of Interest

NASHVILLE – Zach Wamp, Republican candidate for governor, today called on Mayor Bill Haslam to voluntarily disclose Pilot Corporation’s total earnings to date from the Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation through sales of lottery tickets at its retail stores and to be fully open and transparent with the public about his personal finances and obvious conflicts of interest with state government.

The Tennessee Education Lottery has generated more than $6.5 billion in sales since its inception in 2004 and has paid out roughly $393 million in commissions and bonuses to its retailer partners, including the Haslam-owned Pilot Corporation and its subsidiary, Pilot Travel Centers.

Reports indicate that Haslam’s Pilot Corporation ranks fourth all-time among the Lottery’s top 25 corporate accounts in terms of gross sales and commissions from lottery tickets. In addition, Pilot Travel Centers is listed separately among the Lottery’s top 25 corporate accounts, and it has an employee who sits on the Lottery Retailer Advisory Board, which directly advises the Lottery’s governing Board of Directors on retailer issues.

“Bill Haslam’s growing list of conflicts with state government and the citizens of Tennessee as a result of his ownership of Pilot Oil raises serious questions about his ability to lead and make decisions in the best interest of Tennessee rather than his company’s bottom line,” Wamp said.

“Mr. Haslam has been asked repeatedly to be fully open and transparent about his personal income taxes and his many conflicts through Pilot Oil, but he has refused every time. So today, I call on Bill Haslam to fully and completely disclose and itemize each and every business dealing Pilot Corporation and its many partners and subsidiaries has with Tennessee state government, and how he intends to deal with each of those issues if he is elected Governor.”

Last week it was revealed that Pilot Travel Centers partners with and derives income from casino gambling operations in at least three states, including hundreds of 24-hour slot machines throughout Nevada. Mayor Haslam holds personal ownership licenses for video poker machines at Pilot Casinos in Louisiana linked directly to his home address in Knoxville. In addition, CVC Capital Partners, which purchased a 47.5 percent stake in Pilot Travel Centers in 2008, owns and operates major multi-national gambling interests.

The legalization of casino gaming machines, such as slot and video poker machines, has been promoted and adopted by several states across the country Last year, Illinois passed legislation legalizing casino gaming in bars, restaurants and truck stops there. The State of Illinois will receive 30 percent of the revenue from all such machines.

Wamp urged Haslam not to hand the Democrat Party such obvious campaign issues by joining the rest of the gubernatorial candidates and be fully open and transparent about his personal finances by releasing his recent federal tax returns with support schedules, as well as information detailing all business partnerships and remaining conflicts of interest with government through his ownership of Pilot Corporation.

Haslam remains the only gubernatorial candidate not to comply with a request by the Tennessee Newspaper Network to release copies of his federal tax returns from the last three years. As a result, taxpayers are left in the dark as to the size and scope of Haslam’s personal stake in Pilot Corporation, which pays a registered lobbyist to watch over its investments and lobby for government funding for the $16 billion company at the state Legislature in Nashville.

The Associated Press recently reported that Pilot Corporation received more than a half-million dollars in state taxpayer money between July 2007 and November 2009 to upgrade the company’s gas stations and increase its profits on the taxpayers’ dime.

Haslam was also forced to explain his personal stake in a $14 million downtown Knoxville real estate development in which he co-mingled his own money and family money with City of Knoxville funds on the profit-making deal. Haslam explained to reporters that his investment of $2 million was solely for civic reasons, despite the fact that he will reportedly earn a five percent annual profit over the next 40 years.

Yet Knoxville’s city charter expressly prohibits city employees from direct financial interest in the profits of city-financed projects:

From the city charter: “…It shall be unlawful for any member of council, member of the board of education, officer or employee of the city to have or hold any interest in the profits or emoluments of any contract, job, work or service, either by himself or by another, directly or indirectly…”

Press Releases

Haslam Points to ‘KnoxAchieves’ As Best Practice

Press Release from Bill Haslam for Governor; April 29, 2010:

Recognizes Similar Programs Across the State, Praises Locally Grown Efforts

KNOXVILLE – Republican gubernatorial candidate and Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam today highlighted the work of “knoxAchieves,” a last-dollar scholarship program in Knox County that he has helped lead since its inception in 2008.

Mayor Haslam praised the work of knoxAchieves and similar locally-driven programs across the state that have increased access to community college for many Tennessee students. This year knoxAchieves will provide an opportunity for 500 graduates of Knox County public schools to receive scholarships of up to $3,000 to attend area community colleges.

“The knoxAchieves model is unique in that it is volunteer-driven,” Haslam said. “It’s completely privately funded, and it relies on volunteers from the community to serve as mentors and counselors to students. Scholarship recipients also give back to the community by volunteering a certain amount of time each semester.”

“I’m proud of the work of knoxAchieves and its focus on first generation college students,” Haslam continued. “Not only does this program provide unique opportunities to students who otherwise may not have gone to college, but it benefits the entire community in a number of ways. If we’re going to bring more and better jobs to Tennessee, we’ve got increase the level of educational attainment across the state.”

Mayor Haslam conducted a three-week, statewide Jobs Tour in March, and the concern expressed most often by small business owners was the shortage of properly trained and educated workers. The U.S. Department of Labor projects that in coming years 90 percent of jobs in high-growth industries will require at least some postsecondary education or training. In an effort to address that challenge, Mayor Haslam has been traveling the state assessing workforce development strengths and weaknesses, and most recently, discussing the status of our K-12 education system.

“If you look across the state, there are similar locally grown scholarship programs that are increasing access and helping develop the local workforce,” said Haslam.

“From the regional effort of Southwest Tennessee Educational Pathways, to the award-winning Educate & Grow, a public/private partnership in Northeast Tennessee, to Shelby County’s STEP program and the Ayers Foundation Scholars in Decatur County, communities and regions across Tennessee are finding innovative ways to improve college access,” Haslam said.

“These efforts will be critical to our effort to make Tennessee the No. 1 state in the Southeast for high quality jobs,” Haslam continued. “That’s why I’d like to see these best practices shared with communities looking to find their own unique solutions for increased educational attainment and improved workforce development.”

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. Haslam 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.

For more information on Bill Haslam, please visit

Press Releases

Wamp Outlines 20/20 Vision For Tennessee

Press Release from Zach Wamp for Governor, April 28, 2010:

New Document Highlights Specific Areas of Emphasis for Wamp Governorship

NASHVILLE – Zach Wamp, Republican candidate for Governor, announced today that he has posted on his campaign Web site his 20/20 Vision For an Even Better Tennessee, a new 12-page document that outlines Wamp’s priorities and plans as governor in six specific issue areas of critical importance to Tennessee’s future between now and the year 2020.

The document is now available for viewing at The plan is also featured in Wamp’s current television advertisement running statewide.

Wamp’s 20/20 Vision outlines his plans as governor in the following areas: job creation; better schools; a healthier Tennessee; safer streets and communities; a limited, low-tax state government; and maintaining the state’s sovereignty.

“My 20/20 Vision will be my blueprint and action plan as governor in six areas absolutely critical to the future of Tennessee,” Wamp said. “Job one is getting Tennessee’s economy moving again and more Tennesseans back to work through a new “production agenda” and improving our schools and boosting student achievement with a renewed focus on early childhood reading.”

Wamp’s vision for job creation includes a bold new “production agenda” centered around manufacturing, agriculture and construction – an agenda that focuses on making, building and growing more products in Tennessee and leverages the state’s many advantages, including our right-to-work status, low cost-of-living, high quality of life and no state income tax to help attract more manufacturers.

Included in Wamp’s job creation plans for West Tennessee are proposals for a new Agriculture Corridor to boost investment and production and promotion of the new Memphis Research Consortium that links the area’s top universities and research institutions as well as employers in an effort to recruit more high-tech jobs to Shelby County.

In addition, Wamp has proposed a new Defense Corridor in middle Tennessee that will capitalize on Ft. Campbell near Clarksville, Arnold Center in Tullahoma and the state’s other defense industry assets to create a powerful new economic engine for job creation across the state; along with the continued development of the Tennessee Valley Technology Corridor in East Tennessee, which Zach helped create, now home to Volkswagen, Wacker Chemie, new and expanding missions in Oak Ridge and expanded opportunities in the Tri-Cities for growing high-tech industries and small businesses.

Wamp’s vision for better schools includes a “cradle to grave” approach with a strong new focus on boosting the early reading skills of more Tennessee children in an effort to increase both student achievement and school success.

Under Wamp’s plan, Tennessee children will be benchmarked when they enter Kindergarten, and those not reading to grade level by 3rd grade will receive direct instruction and phonics during the school day to help catch them up to their peers. Wamp’s objective is to have all Tennessee children ready to read for content by the end of 3rd grade to help them learn and succeed.

Wamp will also focus on helping more K-12 students prepare for and connect with post K-12 educational opportunities and new, high-tech jobs in the state’s expanding high-tech sector. For example, Wamp’s plan will replicate the state’s existing “Hemlock model,” a new workforce training partnership being used in Clarksville to better meet the needs of both students and regional employers through more dual enrollment options in high school, vocational schools and local community colleges and universities.

For more information about Zach’s 20/20 Vision for job creation and better schools, along with his plans for a healthier Tennessee, safer streets and communities, a limited, low-tax state government as well as his views on pushing back on Washington to protect our state sovereignty and Tennessee’s way of life, please visit the campaign online at

Press Releases

Haslam Focuses On K-12 Education

Press Release from Bill Haslam for Governor; April 26, 2010:

KNOXVILLE – Republican gubernatorial candidate and Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam announced today his next campaign focus: the strengths, challenges, and opportunities facing Tennessee’s K-12 education system.

Haslam will focus his campaign schedule on visits to traditional public elementary and secondary schools, charter and magnet schools, private schools, and home schools to learn from parents, teachers, principals, and district leaders how to ensure every student graduates high school prepared for college or a good career.

Mayor Haslam conducted a three-week, statewide Jobs Tour in March, and for the past month he has focused on targeted workforce development efforts at community colleges, technology centers, and four-year higher education institutions across the state.

“Education is our best long-term economic development strategy,” Haslam said. “If we want our children to grow up and obtain good jobs, and for our state to be able to attract those jobs, we need a world class education system.

“With Tennessee students ranking 41st out of 50 states on national tests and nearly 28,000 students dropping out of high school in a given year, we’ve got to do better,” Haslam continued. “The next governor of Tennessee must work tirelessly to improve our schools.”

There are many reasons to be optimistic about Tennessee schools. The state is implementing new, tougher standards that raise expectations for students; recent changes to state law should allow for improved methods for evaluating and developing teachers; restrictions on charter schools have been and can be further loosened; the state is attracting significant outside investment; and innovative practices are popping up all across the state.

“There’s no question the next governor will have a great opportunity to make a difference in our schools,” said Haslam. “But we also know that whenever there is change there is going to be pushback. That’s why we need a leader with executive experience and the courage to do what’s best for our children.

“I want to take a school-by-school approach, and I’m going to be focusing a lot on principals,” Haslam continued. “From my experience in business I recognize that every effective organization has a strong leader. I want to make sure every school in Tennessee is led by a great principal.”

Mayor Haslam will also be visiting private schools and home school organizations and will be engaging parents to learn more about what the state can do to increase parental involvement and choice in education.

“The bottom line is that no one knows better than parents what is best for their individual child. We have to get parents involved in their child’s education, and we have to put them in the driver’s seat,” Haslam said.

Beginning in Knoxville, Chattanooga, and Columbia today and Franklin, Nashville, and Murfreesboro tomorrow, Mayor Haslam will be visiting programs and schools across the state. The Mayor’s schedule for the rest of the week in outlined 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. Haslam 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.

Press Releases

Wamp to Haslam: Stop ‘Push-Polling’

Press Release from Zach Wamp for Governor; April 23, 2010:

NASHVILLE — The Zach Wamp for Governor campaign today demanded that Bill Haslam immediately cease and desist the highly-unethical campaign practice of “push-polling.” The Wamp campaign also demanded that Haslam personally explain why his campaign has resorted to such calls, to identify the name of the vendor who was hired to make the calls, and to fully disclose how much the vendor was paid to conduct the calls for the Haslam campaign in recent weeks.

The American Association of Political Consultants (AAPC) defines the practice of “push-polling” as not polling at all, but rather the use of phone calls aimed at voter persuasion, dishonestly presented as a survey of public opinion. The AAPC board joined with thirty-one professional pollsters in condemning this practice as a clear violation of the AAPC’s Code of Ethics and a degradation of the political process. The full AAPC policy on “push-polling” is included in full below.

Over the past week, the Wamp campaign has been getting numerous complaints from loyal Wamp supporters all across the state about highly-unethical “push-poll” calls they’ve received. Callers have asked the Wamp supporters who they are supporting for governor, and after they have responded “Zach Wamp,” they were then asked “whether they would change their mind if they knew….” followed by as series of false or misleading statements about Wamp. The calls have been very widespread reaching Wamp supporters in all three grand divisions of the state.

This morning at the Paris Fish Fry in Henry County, gubernatorial candidate Ron Ramsey confirmed his campaign has also been receiving similar complaints from his supporters about receiving “push-poll” calls this week.

“It‘s shameful that Bill Haslam, who’s already spent millions of dollars on television commercials but has yet to utter a single word himself on camera about his plans for Tennessee, resorts to such lavishly expensive and unethical campaign tactics to attack his opponents,” said Sam Edelen, Wamp campaign spokesperson.

“A statewide calling program of this type does not come cheap, so what comes through loud and clear here is that Bill Haslam is a candidate with lots of dollars, but no ideas. Bill Haslam should stop the ‘push-polling’ at once and fully explain to Tennesseans why he resorted to these tactics.”

AAPC Board of Directors Declaration Regarding “Push Polling”

On May 23, 1996 the American Association of Political Consultants (AAPC) received a letter signed by thirty-one of the nation’s top public opinion pollsters condemning the increasingly common practice of “push-polling,” where phone calls aimed at voter persuasion are dishonestly presented as surveys of public opinion. The AAPC board joined the pollsters in condemning this practice as a clear violation of the AAPC’s Code of Ethics and a degradation of the political process.

The AAPC’s Ethics Committee addressed this issue in December of 1995, agreeing unanimously that so-called “push-polls” violate the AAPC’s stricture against “any activity which would corrupt or degrade the practice of political campaigning.” To the extent that practitioners of the “push-poll” ruse convey inaccurate information about an election opponent, they also violate the AAPC’s stricture against false and misleading attacks.

The AAPC board notes that so-called “push-polls” are not really polls at all. In their letter, the bipartisan group of survey researchers drew the distinction correctly, as follows:

1. Legitimate polling firms open each interview by providing the true name of the firm or the telephone research center conducting the interview. Practitioners of so-called “push-polling” generally provide no name, or in some cases make up a name.

2. In a true opinion survey, research firms interview on a small random sample of the population to be studied, typically ranging from up to a thousand interviews for a major statewide study to as few as 300 in a congressional district. With so-called “push-polls,” the objective is to reach a very high percentage of the voters.

3. The interviews conducted by real polling firms generally range in length from at least five minutes for even the shortest of tracking questionnaires to more than 30 minutes for a major benchmark study. So-called “push-poll” interviews are typically designed to last 30 to 60 seconds.

4. While real pollsters do sometimes give interviewees new information about a candidate, the intent of this process is not to shift public opinion but to simulate potential campaign debate and to accesses how the voter might respond. So-called “push-polls” are designed specifically to persuade.

5. To our knowledge, there is no overlap whatsoever between legitimate polling firms and firms that conduct so-called “push polls.”

The AAPC Board urges the news media and the public to take note of these distinctions and to refrain from characterizing persuasion or advocacy phone calling as “polling.” These two campaign services are totally different and should not be confused with each other.

The AAPC acknowledges, of course, that voter persuasion by telephone is a perfectly legitimate campaign practice. What we condemn is advocacy phone calling that:

1. Masquerades as survey research;

2. Fails to clearly and accurately identify the sponsor of the call; or

3. Presents false or misleading information to the voter.