Press Release from Bill Haslam for Governor; May 4, 2010:
Will Develop Memphis-Specific Strategy to Address the City’s Unique Challenges, Opportunities
KNOXVILLE – Republican gubernatorial candidate and Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam today announced details of his Memphis Focus visit — three full days over the next two weeks working with local and community leaders to develop a specific strategy for state government to help the city build on its strengths and address the unique challenges it faces.
This week Mayor Haslam will meet with key industry, education and community leaders in Memphis, tour local schools, visit the Med, open the campaign’s Memphis headquarters, hold a special event with the Hon. Howard H. Baker, Jr., and knock on doors to continue introducing himself to Memphians.
Mayor Haslam announced plans to create a Memphis strategy during his statewide Jobs Tour in March, and he will hold key meetings in Memphis this week and next to learn more about what state government can do to help the city in areas including education, health care, economic development, and public safety.
“Every city and region in the state has its own unique strengths and challenges,” Haslam said. “There’s nowhere that this is truer than Memphis, and the next governor must not let the state capitol become insular or try to address issues across the state uniformly.
“Twenty-nine years ago I married my wife Crissy, a native Memphian,” Haslam said. “I’ve spent a lot of time in Memphis over the years, and not only is the health and vibrancy of Memphis of personal importance to me and my family, I recognize how critical it is to the success of the entire state.
“Historically, culturally, and economically Memphis is critically important to Tennessee, and that’s why I will continue to hone in on Memphis issues as a candidate and later, hopefully, as governor,” Haslam continued.
After attending the Strawberry Festival in Humboldt on Friday, Mayor Haslam will return to Memphis next Thursday the 13th for key meetings around public safety with Shelby County District Attorney General Bill Gibbons, Sheriff Mark Luttrell, and local police chiefs. Mayor Haslam’s schedule for this week is listed below.
“Memphis has created momentum that the next governor must help the city capitalize on,” Haslam continued. “From the Gates Foundation’s recent $90 million investment and ongoing partnership with Memphis City Schools and the resounding success of the local Teach For America chapter, to the impressive work of General Gibbons and Sheriff Luttrell in addressing violent crime, many great things are happening. Between the opportunities being created right now and significant existing assets including FedEx and the medical device industry, I believe there is much to build on in Memphis,” said Haslam. “However, it’s going to take the right strategy in order to address the city’s unique challenges and effectively capitalize on its strengths, and I am committed to working with local officials to develop a specific strategy to help Memphis do just that.”
Since announcing his run for governor in January of 2009, Mayor Haslam has spent 28 days in Shelby County and conducted nearly 100 meetings and events with community leaders and residents.
“Bill didn’t just decide Memphis mattered when it became politically expedient,” said Campaign Manager Mark Cate. “The success of the city has been of personal importance to him for a long time, and he has devoted a significant amount of time to Memphis issues over the course of this campaign. He understands it is vital to the success of this state, and with his experience as Mayor of Knoxville, he’s the best prepared to help the city address its unique local issues.”
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.
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 www.BillHaslam.com.