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Press Releases

Haslam Touts Poll Showing Big Lead

Press Release from Haslam for Governor Campaign, Aug 10, 2010:

Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam receives his highest level of support so far following his Republican primary victory last Thursday in the race for governor of Tennessee.

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in the Volunteer State shows Haslam earning 56% support. Democrat Mike McWherter, a businessman and son of a former governor, picks up 31%. Three percent (3%) prefer some other candidate, and 10% are undecided.

Haslam won 48% of the vote in last week’s GOP primary to defeat Congressman Zach Wamp and Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey.

In June, Haslam was the only Republican of the three to reach 50% support against McWherter, who was unchallenged for the democratic nomination. In the first survey of the race back in March, Haslam held a 45% to 27% edge over McWherter.

Full Analysis at RasmussenReports.com

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Featured News Transparency and Elections

Haslam Wallops Wamp, Routs Ramsey, Manhandles Marceaux

Everybody knew Bill Haslam was the favorite to win the GOP gubernatorial nomination, but even the Knoxville mayor himself was surprised by how quickly and convincingly he sewed up victory Thursday night.

Less than an hour after the polls had closed, The Associated Press declared Haslam the winner.

“It was a little better than I was expecting, to be quite frank,” he told reporters at the Hilton Nashville Downtown hotel where his family and supporters gathered to watch the returns. “So we’re very, very pleasantly surprised. The word humbled sounds trite, but it’s really true.”

Almost half the 725,000 voters who picked up a ballot in the Republican primary voted for Haslam, giving him 47 percent of the vote. According to election results from WKRN, 29 percent of voters chose Chattanooga Congressman Zach Wamp, leaving 22 percent voting for Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey of Blountville and 1 percent each for internet phenom Basil Marceaux, Sr., and Joe Kirkpatrick, who officially dropped out of the race and endorsed Ramsey last spring.

No one issue drove opposition to Haslam’s bid than his opponents’ — especially Wamp —  criticism of his family’s national line of truck stops, Pilot Oil, and the Knoxville mayor’s refusal to disclose his profits from the company.

Yet in the end the attacks did little to slow the his lavishly funded campaign juggernaut.

Haslam continually pointed to his leadership with the business to illustrate his ability to balance a budget and create jobs — even while his competitors painted his family’s business as a conflict of interest for a Tennessee governor.

“I’m proud of Pilot,” Haslam told reporters after he accepted the Republican nomination. “Wouldn’t any governor want a company like Pilot headquartered in Tennessee? I think the answer is yes. If somebody thinks differently, they should say so.”

Wamp fought some of his own battles, including attacks on his Congressional voting record. He also was quoted as saying he would consider a possible Tennessee succession from the United States if the federal government continues to manage the states. He later came off that message, saying that wasn’t exactly what he meant.

Ramsey attracted a significant faction of Tea Party voters with his message about shrinking state government and telling the federal government to stay out of Tennessee’s business. But his message wasn’t enough to sway enough voters to his side. He will retain his legislative post as lieutenant governor and leader of the state Senate.

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Transparency and Elections

If Haslam Wins, Expect to Hear Plenty More About Pilot Oil

Bill Haslam has a double-digit lead by almost every measure in the Aug. 5 Republican primary for governor.

The lone Democratic candidate, Mike McWherter, has already been making steady jabs at Haslam, as though the general election is already between the two of them.

Republican Zach Wamp says the state will be surprised and he will be the next governor, and Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey claims to be the only one moving up in the race.

But in the event that the polls are not wildly off base, it seemed natural to ask Haslam a simple question: Would he be ready for three more months of pounding about Pilot Oil?

Pilot is the Haslam family business, the string of truck stops that has made the Haslams a fortune. The company recently completed a merger with competitor Flying J to become Pilot Flying J, a colossus in the world of travel centers.

Haslam has been targeted for his involvement with Pilot from the start of the campaign — primarily for not disclosing his personal income from the business, which is classified as a Subchapter S corporation, which means its shareholders claim their gains and losses through their personal tax returns.

It’s also a status that allows a gubernatorial candidate to keep his income from the family business a secret if he wants to.

Haslam has done exactly that, insisting that since people already know about Pilot and that he has a stake in it, that’s all they need to know to make a judgment about it. While Haslam has endured near constant criticism from his opponents over the matter, he has not wavered on disclosure, the financing of the merger or any other aspect of his position about the company.

Wamp has especially been tough on Haslam for not disclosing his income from Pilot and laying to rest concerns about conflicts of interest.

McWherter has been just as keen on bringing up Pilot. From the day the Democrat announced his candidacy, he started hitting Haslam, first on Haslam exaggerating the number of jobs he had created. McWherter, like Republican candidates, said Haslam should disclose his income from the company. McWherter referred to Haslam as an oil sheik. He even criticized Haslam on the grounds that people don’t know how the financing was done on the Flying J deal.

So how about it, mayor? Ready for more? Three months more of the same thing?

“I am,” Haslam said. “And I guess the question I’ve always asked of everybody is: Are you guys saying you don’t want Pilot here?

“If they don’t think they want Pilot to be a Tennessee company and don’t want more companies like Pilot, they should say that, because I’m proud of Pilot.”

Yet with opponents in the race for governor talking about the importance of having strong businesses to bolster the state’s economy, Pilot has been a consistent issue in the campaign.

And McWherter has clearly shown he’s ready to repeat some of the same lines of inquiry and criticism should he and Haslam square off in the general.

Haslam said he finds the ill will directed at his family’s successful enterprise somewhat curious.

Pilot began in 1958 as one gas station in Gate City, Va. The company built a convenience store in 1976 and began transforming its other locations. A “travel center” debuted in 1981, and aggressive expansion of the company followed. With the merger of Flying J, Pilot Flying J became one of the 10 biggest privately held companies in the nation.

“I think anybody who is governor would be proud of Pilot,” said Haslam, adding that another fellow named McWherter — former Gov. Ned McWherter — seemed to be fine with the company.

“Mike’s dad was awful proud of Pilot and came and spoke several times to our group,” Haslam said. “And I’m not quite certain why all this hostility toward a company I think most governors of most states would be proud to have.”

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Liberty and Justice News

Traffic Camera Debate Revived, Vote Delayed

Attempts Tuesday and Thursday by numerous House members to attach amendments dealing with traffic cameras has slowed the progress of a bill originally meant to expand the services automobile clubs can legally provide.

Rep. Charles Curtiss, the Sparta Republican who is sponsoring the HB 2875, has resisted efforts to allow most of the amendments offered to be attached to the bill, but members continue to try to add traffic camera amendments to the bill. The parade of amendments led Curtiss today to put off consideration of the bill on the House floor for a second time this week.

So far, members have tried to attach roughly 10 amendments on to the bill relating to traffic cameras, but the only one that has successfully been attached up to this point has been an amendment sponsored by Rep. Joe McCord, R-Maryville. His amendment, approved on a vote of 86-7, prohibits the placement of traffic cameras on highways receiving state funding unless the location of the camera is approved by a county or municipal legislative body on two readings, caps fines at $50, and prohibits charging for court costs unless the ticket is actually challenged in courts. It also puts a ceiling of $50 on late fees per ticket.

McCord said he originally wanted to go farther, but that after talking with several members, they “felt local governments would be adequately responsible for the expansion and accountable to the public” with the amendment.

The move by McCord came just over two weeks after a compromise traffic camera regulation bill that had been gaining traction in the House was killed by a Senate committee. Members on that committee complained that they had not been part of the talks to shape the compromise House bill.

The House later defeated an amendment that would have put an outright ban on traffic cameras in the state.

That amendment was brought by a sheriff’s deputy, Rep. Charles Faulkner. A Republican from Luttrell, Faulkner said “if they were utilized for public safety, they would be in school zones…not on a four-lane stretch of highway in the middle of nowhere. They are using these things for revenue-generators, and that’s it.”

His amendment was defeated after Curtiss said he was afraid the amendment would cause the Senate to kill his bill.

The bill was soon thereafter delayed during debate of an amendment sponsored by House Republican leader Jason Mumpower of Bristol.

That amendment would have dealt with one traffic camera specifically near a town of about 1,000 that Mumpower said “sucked out…over a quarter million dollars a month” from the economy of East Tennessee, with more than half of that money going to the company that runs the camera, which is partially foreign owned.

“It’s not only sucking it out of Sullivan County, and it’s not only sucking it out of Tennessee, but it’s sucking it out of the United States,” Mumpower said, later adding that the tickets take money out local residents’ pockets and discourages tourists from returning to the area.

When other members indicated they would like to come forward with similar amendments, Curtiss asked that the bill be put off until Monday night before a vote could be taken on Mumpower’s amendment.

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Liberty and Justice News

BTW, Effects of Laws Against DWSMSing Still Unknown

Text messaging behind the wheel of a moving vehicle is illegal in Tennessee and about 20 other states. But there’s continuing debate on just whether the laws here or elsewhere are showing any demonstrable policy successes.

That topic was the subject of a short discussion detour on this week during a AAA Auto Club presentation before the House Transportation Committee.

At this point, it is still “too early to measure statistical results (of the texting ban) in Tennessee” that was signed into law last spring, said Don Lindsey, public affairs director for AAA of East Tennessee.

But Lindsey said one of the only studies in the country to study texting behavior before-and-after passage of an anti-texting law — a “direct observation” survey of thousands of California motorists that was sponsored by AAA — indicated the practice had dropped off by more than two-thirds.

According to a AAA press release, visual surveys conducted prior to the texting ban showed that about 1.4 percent of Orange County drivers were texting while driving. “The two post-law surveys showed that level had dropped substantially — to about 0.4 percent — a decline of about 70 percent overall,” stated the release.

The release noted that “surveys of the general public and AAA’s membership” show support for texting laws running between 80 and 90 percent — but also that “20-25 percent of drivers admit to texting while driving at least once in the past.”

Lindsey told Tennessee legislators the California study gives clear indication that “laws can have an effect on behavior.”

Soon thereafter, Rep. Phillip Johnson, R-Pegram, one of 30 state lawmakers who voted against the anti-texting bill last year, stopped Lindsey’s presentation to signal his incredulity with the study’s methodology and results.

“I find it hard to attribute (the texting decline) to passing the law,” said Johnson, who chairs the Rural Roads Subcommittee. “And how do you know they were texting?”

“You could see them,” Lindsey responded.

Johnson then asked how the researchers could be sure the motorists “weren’t punching a phone number,” which is still legal.

“They could tell because they didn’t put it up to their ear. They were looking at it and reading it. They could tell for any number of reasons,” said Lindsey.

Johnson  indicated he remained unconvinced, and said that while the results might be “pretty dramatic,” “striking,” and even “shocking,” he wouldn’t read much into them.

“We have trouble with the texting law that we have right now, and I don’t think law enforcement has even applied it yet because they can’t prove it,” said Johnson.

Mike Browning, spokesman for the Tennessee Department of Safety, reported after the meeting that state troopers have issued just seven citations for infractions of the law.

“(The Department of) Safety sees texting and driving as a very dangerous distraction behavior,” he wrote in an email to TNReport.

Browning added that “(i)t is a challenge for law enforcement since dialing on a cell phone is permissible, however if officers clearly observe a motorist engaged in texting or reading a device, they are subject to citation.”

After the exchange between the AAA spokesman and Rep. Johnson during the committee hearing, another lawmaker referenced a study released last month that suggested there’s no indication laws banning the use of cell phones while driving have improved traffic safety.

That study, sponsored by the Highway Loss Data Institute, found “no reductions in crashes after hand-held phone bans take effect.”

HLDI researchers said they examined monthly collision claims before and after hand-held phone-use by drivers was banned in New York, Connecticut, the District of Columbia and California. They also looked at similar data from nearby jurisdictions without the bans for control purposes.

The researchers determined “the laws aren’t reducing crashes, even though we know that such laws have reduced hand-held phone use, and several studies have established that phoning while driving increases crash risk,” said Adrian Lund, president of both HLDI and its affiliate, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which is an automobile insurer-supported group.

“Whatever the reason, the key finding is that crashes aren’t going down where hand-held phone use has been banned,” Lund said. “This finding doesn’t auger well for any safety payoff from all the new laws that ban phone use and texting while driving.”

After that study was mentioned, it was AAA’s turn to scoff at the findings.

“It was very irresponsible of them to even comment on texting, because their study had nothing to do with texting,” said Kevin Bakewell, public affairs vice president for AAA Auto Club South. “Their study had to do with the use of hands-free, or hand-held cell phone bans in some states.

“There’s a huge difference between texting and using a cell phone.Texting obviously requires you to take your mind not only off the road, but your hands off the wheel, and you eyes off the road as well,” he added. “Their study did not even look at texting, but they did comment on it, unfortunately.”

Russ Rader, a spokesman for IIHS, acknowledged his group’s study didn’t look at texting bans, only cell phones.

“But we would not expect a different results if we had studied texting bans,” he said. “The reason for that is these laws are very difficult to enforce. Lawmakers who think these laws are going to have a significant effect on reducing crashes are likely to be disappointed — whether it is a hand-held cell phone ban or texting.”

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Press Releases

Bredesen Signs Special Session Education Legislation

State of Tennessee press release, Jan. 26, 2010:

NASHVILLE – Calling it a “landmark opportunity” for public education in Tennessee, Governor Phil Bredesen today signed into law two bills passed during this month’s special session of the 106th General Assembly that was focused on improving K-12 and higher education.

Joined by a bipartisan group of lawmakers – including Lieutenant Governor and Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey and House Speaker Kent Williams – Bredesen put his signature on the “Tennessee First to the Top Act of 2010” and the “Complete College Tennessee Act of 2010.” The new laws enact a range of measures designed to spur improvement in Tennessee’s education pipeline – specifically, improving student performance and graduation rates at both the high school and college levels.

“With these new laws in place, we’ve now got a landmark opportunity to move Tennessee public education forward in a dramatic and positive direction,” Bredesen said. “I’m grateful to the General Assembly for its swift, bold action. And I’m thankful to the scores of teachers, parents, students, community leaders, business people, and public education advocates who worked tirelessly to lend their views and support.”

The Tennessee First to the Top Act makes several changes that have been discussed for years, but which became more pressing in order to make the Volunteer State more competitive in the federal Race to the Top initiative. Race to the Top provides $4.35 billion in competitive grants designed to encourage and reward states that are pursuing education innovation. Among other changes, the Tennessee First to the Top Act:

  • Establishes an “Achievement School District” that allows the commissioner of the state Department of Education to intervene in consistently failing schools.
  • Requires annual evaluations of teachers and principals.
  • Creates a 15-member teacher evaluation advisory committee to recommend guidelines and criteria to the State Board of Education.
  • Allows local school systems to create local salary schedules for teachers and principals, with state approval.
  • Removes limitations on use of certain student-achievement data so the data can be used in making decisions on teacher tenure.

Meanwhile, the Complete College Tennessee Act – the product of nearly year-long talks with a bipartisan group of state lawmakers on how to improve college completion in Tennessee – makes several changes designed to enhance cooperation between colleges and universities in the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) and University of Tennessee (UT) systems.

Among other changes, the Complete College Tennessee Act:

  • Funds higher education based in part on success and outcomes, including higher rates of degree completion.
  • Makes community colleges the centerpiece in Tennessee’s strategy by expanding common programs and common courses to promote consistency and quality across the two-year system.
  • Creates a statewide transfer policy so that any student who earns a two-year degree at a community college can move on to a four-year university as a junior.
  • Requires TBR and UT to establish dual-admission and dual-enrollment policies at all two- and four-year colleges and universities.

Tennessee’s college-completion strategies are a natural extension of K-12 education reform measures. Race to the Top places a premium on states that aren’t simply focused on getting kids through high school but also are looking at college enrollment.

“Combined, the new laws give Tennessee the ability to focus on our entire education pipeline in one panoramic view,” Bredesen said. “Together, they represent an important step forward in our ongoing effort to make public education Tennessee’s highest priority.”

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News

Budget Clock Starts Ticking When Special Session Ends

Once lawmakers finish with any changes they plan to make to the state’s higher education laws and put an official end to the legislative special session currently underway, they’ll have less than 45 session days to tackle the state budget.

Lawmakers are given 90 days over two years to meet in regular session — which involves hearing and hammering compromises on bills, vetting ideas for new laws and, most pressingly, determining each year’s state operating budget.

Since January of 2009, the Senate has used up 47 of the 90 allotted session days. The House has met has met 46 times.

Only those days in which the entire Senate or House chamber meets, typically twice a week, are counted against the total allowed days. Committee hearings and meetings on off-days do not.

Bredesen called the Legislature into special session at the Capitol last week specifically to change education laws that deal with evaluating K-12 teachers, addressing failing schools and to increasing college graduation rates. Lawmakers approved one set of proposals for K-12 last week and they’ll focus on higher education reform this week.

Lawmakers ultimately have until July 1, 2010 — the beginning of the fiscal year — to pass a budget. The General Assembly usually OKs a budget package sometime between April and June.

Almost across the board, members of the Tennessee General Assembly agree that their most trying task this spring will be ironing out the state’s FY2011’s spending and revenue agenda amid a sluggish business environment, lofty unemployment and a $1.5 billion hole they attribute to lackluster tax collections.

Last fall, Gov. Phil Bredesen asked state departments to draw up separate plans for cutting 6 percent and 9 percent respectively from their annual budgets, which ranged from reining in state employee health care costs to closing a handful of veterans centers.

The governor expects to announce his budget plan Feb. 1.

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Press Releases

Tennessee Named ‘State of the Year’ by Business Magazine

State of Tennessee press release, 6 Jan. 2010:

Hemlock Semiconductor Earns Silver Award for 2009 Economic Development Deal of the Year

NASHVILLE – The editors of Business Facilities magazine, a national economic development publication, have named Tennessee the magazine’s 2009 State of the Year for the number of new jobs created and amount of capital investments made during the calendar year. New Jersey-based Business Facilities also named the Hemlock Semiconductor project in Clarksville, Tennessee its 2009 Silver Award winner for Economic Development Deal of the Year, citing the company’s announced investment of $1.2 billion dollars and the creation of 500-900 new jobs.

“With our strong and productive workforce, low taxes and nationally recognized business climate, Tennessee continues to distinguish itself as one of the most business-friendly states in the nation,” said Governor Phil Bredesen. “I appreciate this recognition of our success in securing corporate investment and creating higher skilled, better paying jobs for the people of our state.”

“Despite the economic downturn, Tennessee welcomed more than 16,700 new jobs and $3.1 billion in new capital investments in 2009,” said Commissioner Matt Kisber, Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development. “Job creation continues to be our top priority, and we are grateful to Business Facilities for recognizing the efforts to generate economic growth in our state.”

Business Facilities editors noted Tennessee won the honor “due to an aggressive and creative development effort that defied the economic downturn with a series of multi-billion-dollar projects.” Cementing Tennessee’s position on top were back-to-back announcements that the world’s two largest polysilicon manufacturers, Hemlock Semiconductor and Wacker Chemie AG, would both locate major production facilities in the state.

“In a difficult economic year, Tennessee has set a proactive example of successful development that should serve as a model for all states charting their path to recovery. Governor Bredesen and his team have consistently impressed us with a strategy that has put in place a solid foundation for future growth for years to come, moving Tennessee into a leadership position in emerging and established industries,” said Jack Rogers, Editor in Chief of Business Facilities magazine. “Business Facilities congratulates Tennessee for a well-deserved honor as our 2009 State of the Year.”

The magazine also recognized Tennessee’s commitment to the creation of clean energy jobs with its innovative Green Energy Tax Credit for certified green energy supply chain manufacturers. The Green Energy Tax Credit was also expanded last year to include integrated customers and suppliers and qualified affiliates of green energy manufacturers.

The Business Facilities awards are added to a collection of honors Tennessee has received for its economic development efforts in 2009. Tennessee was ranked among the top five states in the U.S. for best business climates by Site Selection magazine. Southern Business & Development magazine named Tennessee a co-state of the year and Governor Phil Bredesen, Commissioner Kisber and Revenue Commissioner Reagan Farr were named to the publication’s Ten People Who Made a difference list.

Tennessee also won Area Development magazine’s prestigious Gold Shovel Award, which is presented annually to the state achieving the most success in terms of job creation and economic impact.

About the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development.

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Press Releases

TN Unemployment Down in 50 Counties, Up in 36, Same in 9

State of Tennessee Press Release, 23 Dec. 2009:

NASHVILLE – Tennessee’s unemployment rate for November was 10.3 percent, down 0.2 percentage point from the October rate of 10.5 percent. The United States’ unemployment rate for the month of November was 10.0 percent.

County non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for November 2009, released today,

show that the rate decreased in 50 counties, increased in 36, and remained the same innine counties.

Lincoln County registered the state’s lowest county unemployment rate at 6.7 percent, down 0.2 from its October rate. Lauderdale County had the state’s highest unemployment rate at 18.6 percent, down 0.2 from the October rate, followed by Haywood County at 18.0 percent, up from 17.9 percent in October.

Knox County had the state’s lowest major metropolitan rate of 7.7 percent, down 0.1 percentage point from the October rate. Hamilton County was at 8.5 percent, down 0.2 percentage point from the October rate. Davidson County was 8.8 percent, down 0.1 from the previous month, and Shelby County was 10.0 percent, down 0.1 from the October rate.

Click Here For More Information (pdf)

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Press Releases

State Enters Public-Private Education Partnership with Battelle

State of Tennessee News Release, Dec. 11, 2009:

Network to Focus on Science , Technology, Engineering & Math

MT. JULIET — Governor Phil Bredesen, joined by NASA Space Shuttle pilot and Mt. Juliet native Capt. Barry Wilmore, today announced a new public education partnership with the global research and development enterprise Battelle as part of Tennessee’s push in the federal Race to the Top competition for education innovation.

Under the partnership, Battelle, which co-manages Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in a joint venture with the University of Tennessee, will work with the state Department of Education and local school systems to establish a statewide network of programs and schools designed to promote and expand the teaching and learning of science, technology, engineering, and math — or STEM — education.

The “Tennessee STEM Innovation Network” will be modeled in part on previous STEM efforts led by Battelle in other states, including its home state of Ohio. The new partnership comes on the heels of President Obama’s November launch of “Educate to Innovate,” a nationwide campaign to move American students from the middle to the top of the pack in science and math achievement over the next decade. Battelle is a “core partner” in the national campaign.

Bredesen, who majored in physics in college, said Tennessee already is well positioned thanks to a strong base of existing businesses, colleges and universities, programs, local schools and other organizations focused on 21st-Century innovation. With Battelle joining as a partner, he said, Tennessee can expand educational opportunities and better coordinate efforts for the benefit of teachers and kids across the state. Additionally, he said, Tennessee can create new STEM teaching and learning models that can be shared with the rest of the country.

“Battelle is a world-class partner with a track record of bringing innovative teaching and learning strategies into public schools,” Bredesen said. “We want to learn from their experience and make Tennessee the nation’s leader in STEM education.”

Joining Bredesen in making the Battelle announcement was Capt. Wilmore, a graduate of Mt. Juliet High School, Tennessee Tech University and the University of Tennessee, who embodies the importance of STEM teaching and learning to America’s future. The astronaut’s studies in aviation and electrical engineering laid the groundwork for a career that eventually led him to pilot NASA’s STS-129 Space Shuttle mission last month. Promoting STEM learning is a key priority in NASA’s public education efforts.

“Captain Wilmore represents the very best of Tennessee and the life opportunities that exist for kids who want to pursue science and math,” Bredesen said. “We appreciate NASA’s commitment to promoting STEM learning in America.”

“We applaud the state of Tennessee for its vision to enhance science and math education, and we look forward to working as a partner in this major public-private effort,” said Battelle’s Richard Rosen, Vice President, Education and Philanthropy. “Advancing STEM education is key to the future of our nation.”

Battelle has strong roots in STEM education. In August 2006, Battelle helped launch Ohio’s first STEM-based school, Metro Early College High School, on the campus of The Ohio State University. For the past two years, Battelle has managed the Ohio STEM Learning Network, a public-private partnership designed to foster and spread meaningful and sustainable innovations that change the way education looks and works. It has mobilized the support of 47 institutions of higher education, 81 public school districts, and more than 300 unique business and community partners. This fall, Battelle applied lessons learned from Metro High School to launch Delta High School in Richland, Wash.

As the world’s largest independent research and development organization, Battelle provides innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing needs in energy and the environment, national security, and health and the life sciences. Battelle conducts more than $5.2 billion in global research and development annually through contract research, laboratory management and technology commercialization. Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, Battelle is one of the nation’s leading charitable trusts focusing on societal and economic impact and actively supporting and promoting science and math education.

Detailed plans for Battelle’s involvement in the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network will be developed in the coming weeks. The ultimate scope of the network will hinge, in part, on whether Tennessee is successful in securing federal funds as part of the President’s Race to the Top competition. Regardless of federal dollars, Bredesen said it’s time for a new focus on STEM teaching and learning in Tennessee schools.

“In America and Tennessee, we have an obligation to improve our role in the global economy and create high-quality innovation jobs for the future,” Bredesen said. “Our new partnership with Battelle is a bold step toward making STEM a statewide and a national priority.”