Press Releases

Wamp Launches Statewide TV Ad

Press Release from Zach Wamp for Governor; April 22, 2010:

Thirty-Second Spot Focuses On Job Creation, Wamp’s 20/20 Vision For Tennessee

NASHVILLE – Zach Wamp, Republican candidate for Governor, today announced his campaign began airing a 30-second television ad this morning on broadcast television outlets in every media market in the state to communicate his 20/20 Vision For An Even Better Tennessee and his detailed plan to help jump-start the state’s economy, put more Tennesseans back to work and build the most dynamic economy in America based on our strengths, regional assets and distinct advantages.

The new ad can be previewed today beginning at 8:00 a.m. CT/9:00 a.m. ET via Wamp’s campaign Web site at

“This first television ad is designed to convey my passion and my plan for how I will go right to work to get our state’s economy moving again,” Wamp said. “What Tennesseans want and need is a governor who will create jobs for their families and their communities. That’s what I’ve done in East Tennessee, and that’s what I will do for the rest of Tennessee.”

“One of my opponents has a red umbrella, one has a boot, but I am the candidate with a detailed plan to make Tennessee an even better state and create the most dynamic economy in America.”

Wamp’s ad opens by referencing the new Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga and his work creating the award-winning Tennessee Valley Technology Corridor 15 years ago to help attract more high-tech and manufacturing jobs and industry to East Tennessee. Wamp’s vision and work to link the region’s high-tech assets to create a high-tech jobs corridor now spans five states and 10 congressional districts – all working together to grow and attract the jobs of the future.

Often called the “Region’s Mayor” by U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, Wamp’s work to promote a regional approach to economic development 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.

To help trigger the Volkswagen success, Wamp refers in the ad to his leadership and work with Hamilton County leaders and other state and federal officials to help transfer and convert the abandoned Volunteer Army Ammunition Plant into a new technology-focused industrial park called Enterprise South.

That site is now home to Volkswagen’s new $1 billion auto assembly plant that will directly employ 2,000 workers and thousands more in related supplier and spin-off jobs.

Wamp closes the spot by introducing his 20/20 Vision For An Even Better Tennessee – a specific plan designed to move the state forward and create new “production jobs” all across Tennessee. Specifics from Wamp’s 20/20 Vision are now available online for viewing or download at

“My 20/20 Vision for Tennessee is clear. Our game plan is ready. And by working together, I know we can make this state even better and create America’s most dynamic economy right here in Tennessee,” Wamp said.

For more information about Zach Wamp and his campaign for governor, please visit the campaign online at

Press Releases

Top Gibbons Supporters Shifting To Wamp Campaign In West Tennessee

Press Release from Zach Wamp for Governor; April 21, 2010:

NASHVILLE – Zach Wamp, Republican candidate for Governor, today announced that key players from Shelby County District Attorney General Bill Gibbons’ gubernatorial campaign in West Tennessee have signed on to support Wamp in his bid for governor.

Kim Perry of Collierville, who served as Shelby County chairman for General Gibbons, will serve as the Wamp campaign’s new full-time Shelby County Coordinator.

Nancy Strawn of Jackson, who served as the Gibbons chairman in Madison County, will serve as Wamp’s new 8th congressional district chair for his gubernatorial campaign.

Jenci Spradlin, a well-known Republican activist and blogger in Jackson, who has more than 4,600 followers on Twitter and who previously supported General Gibbons for governor, has also signed on to the Wamp campaign team.

“I am honored and excited to have Kim Perry, Nancy Strawn, Jenci Spradlin and so many others in West Tennessee who previously supported my good friend Bill Gibbons come on board our growing campaign. No one is working harder to earn the support of Bill Gibbons and his many supporters all across our state, and I am proud to have these outstanding leaders join our team.” Wamp said.

“West Tennessee is a big focus for me because Memphis matters, and what is good for Memphis is always good for Tennessee. As Governor, growing jobs and greater economic success in Shelby and Madison counties, the Haywood Megasite and all of West Tennessee will be a top priority.”

Wamp added that more top Gibbons leaders from other areas of the state who have now signed on to support the Wamp campaign would be announced soon.

Kim Perry is an experienced and well-connected political and community leader in Memphis. In addition to chairing General Gibbons’ campaign in Shelby County, Perry led the grassroots efforts for Shelby County’s McCain/Palin team in 2008 and currently serves as Vice-Treasurer of the Shelby County Republican Party Steering Committee.

Perry also serves as President of the Collierville Republican Club and Secretary of both the Lunch Hour Republican Club and the Republican Women of Purpose. She is an active member of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church and serves on the Collierville Arts Council and the Board of Directors for the Memphis Youth Symphony. Perry lives in Collierville with her husband, David, and her two children.

Nancy Strawn of Jackson previously served as General Gibbons’ Madison County campaign chairman, a position she also held with Bob Corker’s U.S. Senate campaign in 2006. Strawn currently serves as a member of the Tennessee Republican Party’s state executive committee and is a longtime grassroots activist who’s been involved in every Tennessee and national GOP campaign since 1964.

Jenci Spradlin is a small business owner, active blogger and grassroots activist from Jackson who’s also a prolific writer and political commentator on West Tennessee issues. You can find Jenci on Twitter as @JenciTN, where she has accumulated more than 4,600 followers. In fact, she has more followers on Twitter than any of the three Republican candidates for governor.

For more information about Zach Wamp and his campaign for governor, please visit the campaign online at

Press Releases

Haslam Announces ‘Students For Haslam’ Coalition

Press Release from Bill Haslam for Governor; April 16, 2010:

Students From All Over Tennessee Back Knoxville Mayor’s Run For Governor

KNOXVILLE – More than 175 college students and recent graduates from across Tennessee joined together today to endorse Republican gubernatorial candidate and Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam because they believe he has the proven executive experience and conservative values to help build a brighter future for all Tennesseans.

“As I get closer to graduating college, Tennessee’s unemployment rate is becoming more and more of a concern to me,” said Kevin Criswell, a student at Austin Peay State University. “We need someone who knows how to bring jobs to Tennessee so that I’ll be able to raise my family in the same great state that I love so much to. Bill Haslam is that man.”

The announcement of “Students for Haslam” came as the 2009-2010 school year is coming to an end. “I was excited to join Students for Haslam, during my time at the University of Tennessee I have seen firsthand what he has done in Knoxville,” UT junior Carlyn Greive explained. “The challenges that he overcame in Knoxville show that Haslam is the best person to help Tennessee overcome the issues that we face all over the state today.”

The two-term Mayor of Knoxville – who was reelected in 2007 with 87 percent of the vote – is the only candidate with proven experience needed to promote business and recruit and retain jobs.

“Bill Haslam understands the challenges that we face as we graduate. Being the Mayor of Knoxville helped him understand the connection between the state’s universities and bringing jobs to Tennessee,” said Patrick McAnally, a student at Lipscomb University. “He understands that if we can continue to strengthen our education system, we will be able to attract the jobs that Tennessee needs.”

“As a student at the University of Memphis and as someone who grew up in Memphis, I was looking for someone who would be able to reach out and strengthen all of Tennessee’s schools,” said Ben Gianinni. “I believe Bill Haslam will make a great Governor.”

During his Tennessee jobs tour, Mayor Haslam has also discussed the critical need for Tennessee to develop a strong education system that will meet the needs of the next generation of jobs coming to Tennessee. “I am excited about Mayor Haslam’s focus on making sure we are prepared for the jobs of the future,” said Walker Farrell, a student at University of Tennessee at Martin.

“I chose Bryan College because of its conservative roots,” said Bethany Diamond, a junior at Bryan College. “Growing up in Knoxville I saw Bill Haslam show that same servant leadership that we learn about in the classroom. That really helped me decide that he was my candidate for Governor.”

“Crissy and I truly appreciate all of the support we’re receiving in this campaign,” Haslam said. “Tennessee has so much to offer students seeking to learn and live here: no income tax, great colleges and universities, and incredible natural beauty. With the backing of these young Tennessee leaders optimistic about our future, we can make our great state even better, and attract high quality, well-paying jobs.”

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

Austin Peay State University

1. Kevin Criswell

Belmont University

2. D.J. King

3. Eric S. Deems

4. Rachel McNabb

5. C.J. Adams

6. Jim Darter

7. Spencer Carter

8. Benjamin Pate

9. Susan Harbison

10. Lisa Hellmann

11. Robert Woolsey

12. Kathleen Bond

13. David Grizzell

Bryan College

14. Savannah Stroud

15. Amelia George

16. Daniel Grayton

17. Ben Andrews

18. Matthew Green

19. Elaina Woodall

20. Catlin Hawkins

21. Adam Coker

22. Dustin Puckett

23. Jessica Dudely

24. Hannah McDonald

25. Caleb Young

26. Mandi Reynolds

27. Shannon McGowan

Carson Newman

28. Miles Hite

29. Amy Cate

30. Morgan McGaha

31. Caroline Segars

Cleveland State Community College

32. Case Roberts

33. Brandon Watkins

34. Michele Hughes

East Tennessee State University

35. Nick Mitchel

36. Amber Justis

37. Doug Wheeler

38. Michael Jones

39. Laura Clanton

40. Justin Black

41. Chelsey Johnson

42. Dustin Cowan

43. Nick Kolinsky

44. Andrew Stafford

45. Brandon Koski

Freed Hardeman University

46. Leah Wallace

Lee University

47. Dan Diffenderfer

48. Hannah Earl

49. Jonathan Seyferth

Lipscomb University

50. Patrick McAnally

51. Brandon Moss

52. Katie Connell

53. Amy Lawrence

Middle Tennessee State University

54. Michael Aucoin

55. Dustin Hillis

56. Herjin Emin

Pellissippi State Community College

57. Alyson Brooks

58. Brittany Gill

Tennessee Technological University

59. Whitney Russell

60. Houston Hill

Trevecca Nazarene University

61. Eric Baldwin

62. Garen Webb


63. Walker Farrell


64. Bridget Varley

65. Daniel Hunley

66. Jessica Roseberry

67. Rachel Harpole


68. Samantha Edwards

69. Carlyn Grieve

70. Betsy Harr

71. Conner Ingram

72. Ryan Turbeville

73. Tyler Lewelling

74. Abbey Booth

75. Alesia Legget

76. Ashley Lunch

77. Bonnie MacDonald

78. Brianne Gibson

79. Catherine Putnam

80. Cece Tyler

81. George Sanford

82. Lee Tyler

83. Meghan Wood

84. Charlie Wood

85. Clay Culp

86. Cody Smith

87. Lindsey Smith

88. Lindsay Lawrence

89. Elisa Wilhoit

90. Courtney Daly

91. Daniel Austin

92. Sarah Zimmerman

93. Nicole Austin

94. Kristin Ottaviano

95. Leticia Pickering

96. Rachel Santella

97. Matthew Santella

98. John Abraham

99. Keith Abraham

100. Kara Holcomb

101. Katie Tarpy

102. Shannon Conner

103. Kevin Tolliver

104. Ryan Sowell

105. Lance Baker

106. Sam Ellis

107. Robert Zachary Ellis

108. Ben Shires

109. Patrick Shires

110. Katie Shires

111. Sarah Mixon

112. William Mixon

113. Steele Cantey

114. Carey Smith

115. Brittney Carlton

116. Erica Linginfelter

117. Henley Carruthers

118. Rachel Hale

119. Blaine Wedekind

120. Mary Fran

121. Tyson Hahn

122. Gracie Reynolds

123. Marghee Jones

124. Lee Tyler

125. Robin Overby

126. James Akins

127. Will Brewer

128. Lindsey Lawrence

129. Todd Skelton

130. Ashley Lynch

131. Jay Spurlock

132. Mollie Plaskett

133. Beth Pressley

134. Alan Blizzard

135. Geoff Cusick

136. Madi Teague

137. Deanna Jarnigan

138. Margaret Ingram

139. Kristin Foreseburg

140. Morgan Mayo

141. Nicholas South

142. Chelsea O’conner

143. Rob Brandt

144. Emily Altshuler

145. Tyler O’Conner

146. James Scandlyn

147. William Hampton

148. Dylan Gouldthorpe

149. Alex Dick

150. Oliver Davis

151. Anthony Mubarak

152. Benjamin Morrow

153. Brandon Morrow

154. Trey Huffine

155. Rob Hibbard

156. Tom Grobe

157. Harris Haworth

158. Whitney Haworth

159. Hunter Alley

160. George Barnes

161. Tommy Jervis

162. Natasa Zavonavich

163. Callie Hinson

164. Ace Burch

165. Trent Sanders

166. Rebecca Leach

167. Casey Smith

168. Lauren Ridley

169. Shelby Thompson

170. Jonathan Wiesehuegel

171. Connor Kent

172. Seth Jensen

173. Andrew Temple

Vanderbilt University

174. Ryan Stewart

175. Krystal Cluen

176. Grant Starrett

177. Rick Apple

Watkins College of Art and Design

178. Cara McAnally


GOP Guv Campaigns Seek To Woo Women Voters

Candidates vying for the Republican nomination turned their attention to the ladies Wednesday.

Although not all of the candidates relayed their message in person at the Tennessee Federation of Republican Women luncheon in Nashville; one sent his wife and another a female volunteer to stump for their respective campaigns.

The speeches were aimed at more than 250 attendees, some proudly donning red sequenced hats, gathered in Nashville for the federation’s annual lobby day.

U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp, a candidate  who currently represents the sixth Congressional District, reveled at the Tennessee GOP’s historic opportunity to gain control of the governor’s office and both chambers of the Legislature.

“It will be up to us to govern. You need a strong, dynamic governor with a vision for the future,” the congressman from Chattanooga told the group on Wednesday. “We’re not going to change this country from the top down. We’re going to change it from the bottom up. And it starts right here in Tennessee in the year 2010.”

Wamp was the only major candidate to speak at the Ladies Day on the Hill event. Fellow GOP candidate Ron Ramsey, the Senate Speaker who was reportedly busy meeting with Gov. Phil Bredesen that afternoon, sent his wife to testify for him.

“I know I’m biased, but I do believe that Ron needs to be our next governor,” said Sindy Ramsey, a federation member who is a co-partner of the family’s realty and auctioneering business. “He’s the only candidate with the experience needed to keep running the state the Tennessee way, by tightening our belts and living within our means, just like families across the state have to do every single day.”

Knoxville Mayor and GOP gubernatorial candidate Bill Haslam also missed the event. Campaign volunteer and longtime federation member Barbara Outhier, spoke for him instead.

She relayed a message from Haslam that thanked the federation for its “tireless efforts to ensure that Tennessee continues to be the state of equal opportunity, limited and more effective government and preservation of what we call sacred, leadership and encouraging principles centered on our values and faith.”

She added that his dedication to his faith make him the top choice for governor.

Joe Kirkpatrick, a relatively unsung, underfunded but nevertheless energetic GOP candidate for governor, also spoke at the luncheon. With few appearances at gubernatorial forums, he took the opportunity to outline positions of his campaign and catalog the Republican women in his life.

“The constitution matters. It is time to transcend the era of political correctness for one of constitutional correctness,” said Kirkpatrick.

The candidates are each vying for the Republican nomination at the Aug. 5 primary in hopes of facing off against lone Democratic candidate Mike McWherter to become the next governor.

Press Releases

Official Statement from Wamp Campaign on Ramsey TV Ad

A Statement from Zach Wamp for Governor, April 14, 2010:

“Ron Ramsey obviously is trying to rewrite history. The ad fails to mention that state spending has nearly tripled since he joined the Legislature, from $11 billion to $29 billion a year, and state government has added more than 10,000 workers to the payroll on his watch.”

“Let’s be clear. When Sen. Ramsey had a chance to slow the runaway growth of state government, he voted to pass the largest tax increase in Tennessee history, and even flirted with a new state income tax along the way.”

“Now that may be Ron Ramsey’s way, but it’s the wrong way for Tennessee taxpayers.”

– Sam Edelen, campaign spokesman

For more information about Zach Wamp and his campaign for governor, please visit the campaign online at

Press Releases

Haslam Wants A Statewide Jobs Clearinghouse Online

Press Release from Bill Haslam for Governor, April 8, 2010:

Will Provide Access to Critical and Timely Information for Stakeholders Across the State

FRIENDSVILLE – Republican gubernatorial candidate and Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam announced today plans to develop an online jobs clearinghouse that will pull together existing market data in a user-friendly way so that every jobseeker, employer, community official, higher education institution, and economic development organization has access to timely and accurate information on the current and future economic landscape of Tennessee.

As governor, Mayor Haslam will lead the creation of a system that will allow users to easily access tailored information on each community and region’s industry strengths and educational attainment levels, projected workforce needs, and the training and education required for high demand career fields as well as information on how it can quickly be obtained.

“Tennessee is still suffering from nearly 11 percent unemployment,” Haslam said. “Lots of people are looking for work, but the question is, ‘How can we aid in that process? How can we help people make informed decisions about what careers to pursue, what businesses to start, what training to offer?’”

This one-stop shop will serve both a short-term and long-term purpose. It will help the thousands of Tennesseans who have recently lost their jobs quickly rejoin the workforce, but it will also help communities, entrepreneurs, and postsecondary institutions make informed decisions about future economic development.

“The focus of my campaign, and my top priority from the moment I enter office, will be to make Tennessee the #1 state in the Southeast for high quality jobs. The first objective will be to get Tennesseans back to work immediately,” Haslam continued. “Getting people timely information on economic trends, projected workforce needs, the jobs of the future and how to obtain them – I think that’s a great start.”

Mayor Haslam recently concluded a three-week, statewide Jobs Tour and transitioned this week into a focus on workforce development. Today he is spending time in Blount, Bradley, and Loudon counties, including visits related to workforce development at Cleveland State Community College and the new Blount County campus of Pellissippi State Community College. The Mayor’s schedule for the rest of the week 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. 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

News Transparency and Elections

Wamp Scoffs at McWherter’s Tax-Break Vow

Republican gubernatorial candidate Zach Wamp said Tuesday Democrat Mike McWherter’s pledge to give tax breaks to businesses that create jobs is an example of an “empty campaign promise” that can’t be met.

He likens such an idea to the strategies coming out of Washington from President Obama.

Wamp, in Montgomery County as part of several campaign stops Tuesday in Middle Tennessee, also said he has enough money to compete with Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam for the Republican nomination. He said he will begin his own television campaign advertising soon and described the request for an ethics investigation into his living quarters in Washington as “bogus.”

Wamp, the 3rd District U.S. representative from Chattanooga, pointed out that the state is looking at a budget deficit of over $1 billion.

“I think we all have to be careful that we’re not just throwing out political promises you can’t meet once you’re governor, because tax breaks right now in Tennessee are going to be really hard to come by until we fill up this $1-billion-plus budget hole,” Wamp said. “And that’s responsible, honest talk.

“Anyone who’s talking about tax breaks as soon as they become governor right now is just trying to throw out some empty campaign promise, in my opinion. Right now, we’ve got to reform the way state government does business, we’ve got to right-size state government. Frankly, if the Democratic nominee’s incentives for economic development mirror President Obama’s, no thanks.”

McWherter last week, in his speech formally announcing his candidacy, said he would give tax breaks to businesses who hire Tennessee workers. McWherter also called into question Haslam’s honesty in his campaign ads that said Haslam helped create 11,000 jobs.

None of the three major Republican nominees — Wamp, Haslam or Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey — has advocated tax breaks in the campaign.

“The government largess and the government make-jobs by the Democrats in power today in this country haven’t worked, and there’s not a whole lot of state incentives you can offer in the state budget unlike the federal budget for small business investment,” Wamp said.

Kim Sasser Hayden, McWherter’s campaign manager, said in an e-mail response, “Zach Wamp’s spent way too long in Washington, and he’s busy finding excuses how not to get things done.”

“Zach is right about one thing: It will be difficult to get things done if his views prevail,” she added.

Wamp reported campaign fund-raising figures this week that put him over $3 million in total contributions, but that was far short of the figure Haslam’s campaign put out that said Haslam has now topped $7 million in funds.

“He could spend $50 million if he wants to,” Wamp said of the wealthy Haslam. “So you really can’t worry about what their top number is. What you do is raise the amount you need to communicate with 500,000 people.”

Wamp reflected on some of Haslam’s own words to make his point.

“There’s some science to this,” Wamp said. “He said himself a year ago you could run a successful campaign for governor with $5 million, and I agree with what he said a year ago, because that’s about what I’m going to do. If you’re a good candidate, $5 million is all it takes. If you’re not a good candidate, who knows? It may take $15 million.”

Wamp, who noted that on Thursday there will be only 100 days before early voting starts, said he would be airing television ads “very soon.”

“That’s all I’m going to say,” he replied about the timing. “With 100 days to early voting, you’re getting into a window where people are paying attention and therefore paid communication becomes essential, and we’re not very far at all away from paid communication.

“Frankly, I’m really excited about that, because I have won the ground game in this campaign for 15 months. Now that I get to go up on air very soon, this is going to be a very successful campaign down the stretch.”

Wamp also has issues to address in Washington, however. A watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, has filed complaints with the Senate Ethics Committee and the House Office of Congressional Ethics against Wamp and other members of Congress who live or who have resided in a building known as C Street House. The group claims congressional members who stay in the house are paying below-market rates in violation of rules regarding gifts for members.

“It’s a totally bogus claim,” Wamp said Tuesday. “To allege we’re not paying market value is simply not analyzing the market.”

He said CREW’s request for an investigation is just that.

“This was just an outside group filing the complaint,” he said. “Unless and until that committee takes it up, it’s not in any way an investigation. It’s just been filed, so I don’t know if they will or what they will do to take it up, to be honest with you. It is the most ridiculous allegation and claim that I have seen. I have lived there for 14 years. Isn’t it interesting that this just now comes up?

“Over 50 members of Congress live in their offices for free, subsidized by the taxpayer,” Wamp said. “Over 50.”

CREW says House and Senate gift rules prohibit what’s being done.

“Unless they’re going to do an evaluation of all 535 members — and it will be a wide range, from the freebies in the House gym to multi-multi-millionaires — you can’t just pick a few and file an investigation,” Wamp said. “I don’t see how you just pick a few and say we’re going to look at them but not everybody. They need to look at everybody if they’re going to look at one.”

Press Releases

Haslam Reaches $7M In Campaign Funds

Press Release from Bill Haslam for Governor; April 5, 2010:

Mayor Has Financial Support in All of Tennessee’s 95 Counties From More Than 9,000 Contributions

KNOXVILLE – Republican gubernatorial candidate and Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam raised $1.3 million since January 15, 2010, an effort during the short 10-week quarter that put him over the $7 million mark in total contributions received since he began his campaign last year.

Haslam now has financial support in all 95 Tennessee counties from more than 9,000 contributions, indicative of the depth and breadth of support for his proven executive experience. He is the only major candidate who has not loaned his campaign money or given more than the individual limit.

“The broad-based financial support Bill Haslam has received is indicative of Tennesseans’ enthusiasm for his unique combination of successful private-sector and public-sector executive experience,” said Brad Martin, a member of Mayor Haslam’s Finance Team.

“Crissy and I have received incredible support out on the campaign trail, and the response to our statewide Jobs Tour really showed us that Tennesseans want their next governor to be someone with business experience balancing budgets and meeting payroll,” said Haslam, who continues to knock on neighborhood doors across Tennessee. “Our focus on making Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs is resonating with Tennesseans all across the state.”

“Things are tough right now. Tennesseans need a Governor who can not only recruit new jobs but also support existing employers so they can expand their businesses right here in Tennessee,” said Pete DeLay, another member of Mayor Haslam’s Finance Team. “At the same time, our next Governor will be faced with the most challenging State budget in our generation. Bill Haslam’s record in both the private sector and as Mayor of Knoxville shows that he has the experience to meet these challenges.”

Bill Haslam is the two-term Mayor of Knoxville. 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

Business and Economy Education Featured News

McWherter: It’s All About Jobs

Democrat Mike McWherter officially launched his campaign to be Tennessee’s governor Thursday, and while he currently has no competition left in the Democratic primary, McWherter made it sound like he’s already running against Republican Bill Haslam.

McWherter said he does not know who his Republican opponent will be after the Aug. 5 primary, and said he has no preference, but he referred to Haslam’s television ads in his speech and acknowledged openly afterward that he was addressing those ads.

He focused on the claim in a television advertisement Haslam has run that says Haslam has helped create over 11,000 jobs in his business, Pilot Corp., the chain of travel centers owned by the Haslam family. Other Republican candidates for governor have criticized the ad as being misleading, and McWherter joined the chorus Thursday.

“I believe in truth in advertising,” McWherter said. “Even the other Republicans have been critical of Mayor Haslam’s ads about creating jobs that really were not created. They were bought. They weren’t all in Tennessee.

“I think that’s misleading. For somebody who has created jobs, and I understand how to create jobs, I want to make sure my message to Tennesseans is always truthful. That’s part of being in this campaign, is to hold everybody accountable, make sure they’re telling the truth.”

Haslam’s campaign was asked to respond to McWherter’s comments, and Haslam spokesman David Smith said in an e-mail, “That’s not worth a response.”

In his speech, McWherter referred to a candidate “juggling numbers” in television advertising.

“These are serious times, and these times require more from a candidate than simply juggling numbers on his TV ads to inflate his accomplishments,” McWherter said. “Tennesseans will see through those tricks, they’ll take the measure of the man, and they will say, ‘If he’s going to stretch the truth about jobs, then how can we trust him on this economy?'”

The criticism of Haslam’s ads has been that it is misleading to assert that the company created its large number of employees when the history of the company is that Pilot acquired established business interests as it grew.

McWherter, son of former Gov. Ned McWherter, owns a beer distributorship in Jackson and is chairman of the board of a Union City-based bank. His speech on the steps of the Capitol, after officially filing papers to run for governor, focused heavily on job creation, and he announced his intention of giving a tax break to businesses that create jobs.

McWherter said he would give tax breaks “to small businesses, to mom and pop operations, to the entrepreneurs, to the rural farm operations.

“It’s crystal clear, and it’s simple. If you create jobs in Tennessee, we’ll give you a tax break. We have to look after our own.”

When pressed on how he could offer a tax break given the state’s long run of declining revenues, McWherter said it would work economically.

“When you start putting people back to work, you’re making consumers,” he said. “We are a consumption-based economy. The more people we can get back to work, the more revenue we will have, and that revenue will pay for that tax break. I’m confident that those numbers will work.”

He said he was not ready to commit to a specific type of tax break but said, “I will definitely work on a tax break for small business out there, business that puts people to work.”

He said they would have to be businesses who can document that they were hiring people.

“It’s crystal clear, and it’s simple,” he said in his speech. “If you create jobs in Tennessee, we’ll give you a tax break. We have to look after our own.”

McWherter referred to the large economic boosts the state has received in recent years, such as the new Volkswagen plant, bringing in investments of up to $1 billion.

“It’s good to get international companies to locate here in Tennessee and put Tennesseans to work and we need to do more of that,” he said. “But we must make sure Tennessee-based businesses are the ones growing and supplying these major industries.

“It’s not enough for a Tennessean to be unloading a truck full of supplies at a factory gate. Those suppliers need to be Tennessee-based businesses, and those need to be Tennessee jobs.”

Following the speech, McWherter pointed to the stark contrast between when times are good economically and when they’re not in the state, and he used that to make the case for a tax break.

“Three years ago, we had pretty much full employment here in the state,” he said. “At that time, our revenue was so large, the legislature appropriated monies for all the state representatives and state senators to take back to their districts. We were running that kind of surplus.

“I don’t mean to say giving away, but providing help for local fire stations and places like that. If we get people back to work, we will have revenue to sustain that kind of tax break.”

McWherter said he did not have a timetable for when his own television ads might appear.

“I have not got a plan for putting ads on TV yet,” he said. “I imagine I will probably go on air certainly the week after the primary, once we know who the Republican nominee is. But I might go on before then, just depending on what our strategy is.”

McWherter was speaking one day after his last remaining primary opponent, Kim McMillan, dropped out of the race. McMillan announced on Wednesday that instead of continuing her bid for governor she would run for mayor of Clarksville instead.

McWherter had been considered the Democratic front-runner by many observers almost since he said he was in the race. Gradually, candidates in what once was a crowded field began to drop out. Nashville businessman Ward Cammack, then state Sen. Roy Herron, then state Sen. Jim Kyle all left the race, and McMillan’s departure Wednesday put McWherter in position to focus solely on the Republican field. The general election, when nominees from the Republican and Democratic parties square off, is Nov. 2.

The Republican field includes Knoxville Mayor Haslam, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey of Blountville and Congressman Zach Wamp of Chattanooga.

Press Releases

Rowland Will Not Seek Re-Election

Statement from Rep. Donna Rowland, R-Murfreesboro; April 1, 2010:

I want to express my gratitude to the residents in the 34th District for the overwhelming vote of confidence given me two years ago. I took that to heart; even more determined as your state representative to show fiscal responsibility and accountability. Amid the heavy burdens, duties and responsibilities, I have not recoiled.

At the close of this year, I will have completed ten years of service. This milestone has led me to re-evaluate what is next. When first elected to the General Assembly, I felt that 10 years was an appropriate amount of time to serve. Never did I intend to be a career politician; I just wanted to be the best representative that I could be while addressing issues for my constituents.

My decade of service on Capitol Hill is coming to a close and I have made the decision not to seek re-election to the 34th District. Any private ambitions that I may have cherished in my younger days have been satisfied beyond my wildest dreams. For that, I would like to thank two groups of people, my family and the people of Rutherford for allowing me to serve for the past ten years.

To the people of Rutherford County, it has been an honor to represent you and a pleasure to get to know so many people with whom I would not have otherwise worked. The dedication to the improvement of our community is overwhelming in both the private and the public sectors. Having been allowed to be a part of that dedication is an honor I will cherish.

No path in public life is traveled alone. Along that path have been supportive family and friends. I have also been blessed with a talented, hard-working staff that has helped me do a better job. No one could have asked for a more dedicated staff to help with the thousands of constituents concerns.

I will be forever grateful to the friends and volunteers who have given their counsel and support over the years. I say a simple and heartfelt ‘thank you.’ It has truly been my friends and supporters who have made this journey possible.

Our state faces many severe and unrelenting problems. I will stay active on these matters and continue my efforts to help our citizens come together for the future of our children and grandchildren.

Other than wearing the military uniform of my country, I can think of no higher privilege than serving in public office. I hope to remain active in public service and perhaps even seek elective office again in the future. The many kindnesses, opportunities and friendships extended to me are something I cherish and for which I will be forever grateful.

Donna Rowland