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Haslam Touts First-Term Successes, Pledges Continued Emphasis on Education, Economy

Republican Bill Haslam is promising that one thing he definitely won’t do in his second term as governor is “coast to the finish line.”

“Four years from now, someone else will be standing in this spot and preparing to take over leadership of Tennessee,” Haslam said in his inaugural address after being administered the oath of office on Saturday by Tennessee Chief Justice Sharon Lee. “I feel an obligation to pass the baton to him or her with the state as prepared for the future as we can be.”

Haslam was first elected to the state’s highest office in a landslide in 2010. Four years later, in 2014, he faced no serious opposition and won with an even larger percentage of the popular vote. And the governor promised that over the course of the next four years he’ll continue focusing on two of the issues that he touts as his areas of greatest achievement in his first term.

“In education, we are now the fastest improving state in the country. Our high school graduation rates have increased from 76 percent to 88 percent over the past decade,” said Haslam, who prior to becoming governor served two terms as mayor of Knoxville. “There are now 100,000 more kids proficient at grade-level in math, and more than 57,000 additional students are proficient at grade-level in science. The number of students needing remedial math when they get to community college has decreased by 10 percent.”

He also talked up his “Tennessee Promise” program, launched last year, that offers two free years of college to any graduating high school senior.

“We are the first state ever to promise high school graduates the chance to attend community college or technical school free of tuition and fees,” said the governor.

Haslam noted that with respect to drawing successful businesses to Tennessee — something he said his administration has made a key priority — the skills and overall preparedness of prospective employees are crucial points of interest to corporate executives considering a move or expansion.

“Every company I talked to looked me in the eye and expressed their concern about whether Tennessee’s workforce is ready for tomorrow’s challenge,” Haslam told the several-hundred strong audience that turned out for the noontime ceremony on the south steps of the state Capitol. “Every company emphasized to me that we needed to quickly increase the percentage of our population with a certificate or degree beyond high school. To achieve that, we have to make certain that our students graduate from high school prepared for post-secondary education.”

Haslam’s comments were well received by both Democrats and Republicans on hand for the event — and for mostly the same reasons. Prominent members of both parties said they appreciated both his optimism and vow to keep fully engaged throughout his second term.

Tennessee House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh likes that Haslam plans to press an aggressive policy agenda.

“I don’t want him to just sit down and let these last four go by,” said Fitzhugh, D-Ripley. “I am ready for him to press forward on some of these issues.”

Fitzhugh said he has “a good working relationship” with the Republican governor. If Haslam is “a little accommodating” and commits himself to remaining “open to compromise,” then the next four years should be good for Tennessee, he said.

“Today is a great day to be optimistic about our state,” said Fitzhugh.

Likewise, Chris Devaney, chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party, appreciates that Haslam is assuring Tennessee “he’s not going to let off the pedal” in the homestretch. “He has been somebody that has had innovative ideas for moving the state forward on education and economic development, so we are excited about the next four years,” Devaney said.

He brushed off suggestion that Haslam, viewed as a centrist or even a liberal within the GOP, could himself become an increasingly divisive figure within his own party, which dominates both chambers of the Tennessee Legislature.

“As the family continues to grow, like in any big family, there are going to be arguments within the family,” said Devaney, who in December won a fourth term as leader of the TNGOP. “I think that at the end of the day, people have seen the good things that Bill Haslam has done and suggested. He has really been moving the state forward, so I think we are really going to have a good four years.”

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Press Releases

Haslam Inaugurated to Second Term, Looks Ahead

 Press release from the office of Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam; January 17, 2015:

Improving educational opportunities and outcomes for Tennesseans critical

NASHVILLE — Gov. Bill Haslam today was sworn in for his second four-year term as the 49th governor of Tennessee, addressing thousands of Inaugural attendees from across the state on War Memorial Plaza with the State Capitol serving as the backdrop.

“One thing I can guarantee you that we are not going to do in the next four years is coast to the finish line,” Haslam said.  “The decisions that we make in the building behind me are too important; too important to the 6.5 million Tennesseans who are alive today and even more important for the generations that will follow us.”

The governor called on Tennesseans to work together to build on the state’s successes and momentum.

“It’s about all of us. The governor, legislators, state employees, teachers, parents, community leaders, business executives, health care professionals, faith leaders, and citizens of all kinds saying: ‘We are on the right path, but we can do better, and we must do better,’” he added.

“We can be a state government that treats its citizens like customers and gives full value for every tax dollar that is paid.  Tennessee can be the very best location in the southeast for high quality jobs. Most importantly, we can make sure that we get education right.  There is nothing more important for us to do.”

Haslam charted progress that has been made in Tennessee during his first four years in office, especially in his priority areas of a well-managed, efficient and effective state government; better educational opportunities and outcomes for more Tennesseans; and high-quality, good paying Tennessee jobs. Highlights include:

Efficient and Effective State Government

  • Tennessee has the lowest debt per person of any of the 50 states.
  • Tennessee tax rates are among the lowest in the country.
  • Overhaul of the state’s outdated employment system allows the state to now recruit, reward and retain the best and brightest to serve in state government.

Education

  • Tennessee is the fastest improving state in the country in academic achievement.
  • There are now 100,000 more kids proficient at grade-level in math, and more than 57,000 additional students are proficient at grade-level in science since 2011.
  • Tennessee is the first state in the country to promise high school graduates two years of community or technical college free of tuition and fees.

Jobs

  • 210,000 net new private sector jobs have been created in Tennessee since January 2011.
  • Tennessee named “State of the Year” in economic development for an unprecedented two years in a row.
  • Implemented tort reform and overhauled the state’s worker’s compensation system to further strengthen the state’s business climate.

The governor highlighted Tennessee’s leading status in the automotive manufacturing sector as well as other advanced manufacturing and technological industries where the state is at the center of innovation.  He also addressed challenges facing the state, including concerns about whether Tennessee’s workforce has and will have the technical skills and ability to meet the demands of a rapidly changing global economy.

“I see the job of governor as being part of a historically significant relay race.  I was handed the baton four years ago, and it is my job to be intentional about advancing that baton during my eight years in office and handing it off to the next governor in a better position than it was handed to me.

“As we embark on the second leg of this race, it is going to take all of us running together.  The time is right for us to take longer strides, to run harder, to reach further, and to gain more ground.  We can do this together, and to reach our full potential, we have to do it together.”

Text of the entire speech follows:

Governor Ramsey; Speaker Harwell; Members of the Tennessee General Assembly; Constitutional Officers; Justices of the Supreme Court; Members of Tennessee’s Congressional Delegation; Former Governors; Honored Guests; Friends; Crissy: my wonderful partner in this journey and the hardest working and best First Lady in the country; Our family, which has doubled since the last Inauguration; and the citizens of this great State that we all love:

Being sworn in for a second term makes me think back to four years ago when I was up here taking the Oath of Office for the first time. Becoming a Governor is a little bit like being shot out of a cannon. There is a great view, but the ground underneath seems to be shifting quickly. First, you hire a Cabinet and then a Senior Staff. Then, you move to Nashville. Quickly your jokes are funnier, people stand up when you walk into a room, and state troopers seem to be following you everywhere. Right away the legislature is in session and before you can even find the men’s room, your first budget is due. Four weeks later, it is time to give the annual address to the people of Tennessee to update them on the State of the State. My first thought was, how should I know? I just got here.

But, I did know. I knew that we had to focus on those issues that Tennesseans truly care about and are critical to our future:

First, a more effective and efficient state government that delivers the very best services to Tennessee tax payers at the lowest possible cost;

Then, better education opportunities and outcomes so more Tennesseans are prepared for the competitive world that we live in;

And finally, high quality, good paying Tennessee jobs and a business environment that gives companies the confidence to invest their capital right here in Tennessee. I believe that we’ve made progress on all three fronts.

On more efficient, effective government, Tennessee’s financial condition is something that we should all take pride in. We have the lowest debt per person of any of the 50 states. Our tax rates remain among the lowest in the country. Tennessee has now gone longer without a significant tax increase than in any time in modern history.

Our departments are focused on providing the very best services to citizens at the lowest cost possible. We are able to do that now more than ever because we overhauled the state’s outdated employment system. Today, unlike in the past, we are able to recruit, reward and retain the best and brightest to serve in state government.

In education, we are now the fastest improving state in the country. Our high school graduation rates have increased from 76 percent to 88 percent over the past decade. There are now 100,000 more kids proficient at grade-level in math, and more than 57,000 additional students are proficient at grade-level in science. The number of students needing remedial math when they get to community college has decreased by 10 percent. We are the first state ever to promise high school graduates the chance to attend community college or technical school free of tuition and fees.

On the job front, we have added 210,000 net new private sector jobs since January 2011. For the last two years in a row, Tennessee has been named the “State of the Year” for economic development. No state has ever won that award in back-to-back years.

We’ve passed sweeping tort reform legislation and overhauled our worker’s compensation system. We established an entrepreneurial job creation strategy that has gained national attention known as Launch TN.

We’ve also brought together our tourism-related businesses to jointly market Tennessee in a way that has never happened before.

But despite our accomplishments and momentum, one of the things that I’ve realized during my time in office is that we haven’t had nearly high enough expectations of ourselves. In many ways, we’ve settled and haven’t lived up to our full potential. So, one thing I can guarantee you that we are not going to do in the next four years is coast to the finish line. The decisions that we make in the building behind me are too important; too important to the 6 and a half million Tennesseans who are alive today, and even more important for the generations that will follow us.

Four years from now, someone else will be standing in this spot and preparing to take over leadership of Tennessee. I feel an obligation to pass the baton to him or her with the state as prepared for the future as we can be. But this isn’t about who the Governor is now, or who the next Governor will be four years from now.

It’s about all of us. The Governor, legislators, state employees, teachers, parents, community leaders, business executives, health care professionals, faith leaders, and citizens of all kinds saying: “We are on the right path, but we can do better, and we must do better.”

We can be a state government that treats its citizens like customers and gives full value for every tax dollar that is paid. Tennessee can be the very best location in the southeast for high quality jobs. Most importantly, we can make sure that we get education right. There is nothing more important for us to do.

As I mentioned earlier, we truly are making progress today in education in Tennessee. It is not an exaggeration to say that the eyes of the country are on us to see if we can continue to show the significant gains that we have made in the last several years. Unfortunately, our history in Tennessee is to take two steps forward and then two steps backwards.

I think that every governor for the last 100 years has said that education would be a priority and has worked to improve educational outcomes and opportunities for our children, but for too long Tennessee has remained near the bottom of state rankings in academic achievement.

Let’s seize on this momentum and on the hard work of our teachers and students to continue the progress that we are making. No other state can claim to be the fastest improving state in the country for educational results. No other state can say that they guarantee high school seniors two years free at a community or technical college.

Getting education right will go a long way to address all of the challenges we face in our state. It will mean more jobs for more Tennesseans; less reliance on federal and state services; higher incomes; healthier citizens; and the list goes on.

I wish you all could’ve been with me this week in Detroit at the North American International Auto Show. Like me, you would’ve been filled with pride as you realized the leading status that Tennessee now has in the automotive manufacturing world. As a matter of fact, for four years in a row we have been named the “State of the Year” for automobile manufacturing. Last year, Tennessee produced more than 750,000 vehicles, and the largest automobile plant in North America is now in Tennessee.

You would’ve been excited to listen in as scientists from Oak Ridge National Lab talked about carbon fiber technology that can be used to make automobiles lighter and more fuel efficient and that Tennessee is in the inside lane to be at the center of that innovation.

Like me, you would’ve watched in amazement as a car could be made to order on a 3D printing press with a total construction time of about 12 hours. In the not too distant future, a person will literally be able to design his or her own car. Again, Tennessee is at the forefront of the technology innovation.

But, like me, you would’ve walked away concerned. Concerned because manufacturer after manufacturer emphasized that the world is moving really fast, and the need to have workers with the technical skills and ability to keep up has never been more critical. Every company I talked to looked me in the eye and expressed their concern about whether Tennessee’s workforce is ready for tomorrow’s challenge. Every company emphasized to me that we needed to quickly increase the percentage of our population with a certificate or degree beyond high school. To achieve that, we have to make certain that our students graduate from high school prepared for post-secondary education.

I see the job of Governor as being part of a historically significant relay race. I was handed the baton four years ago, and it is my job to be intentional about advancing that baton during my eight years in office and handing it off to the next governor in a better position than it was handed to me.

As we embark on the second leg of this race, it is going to take all of us running together. The time is right for us to take longer strides, to run harder, to reach further, and to gain more ground.

We can do this together, and to reach our full potential, we have to do it together.

It is an honor to serve as your Governor. Every day I walk up the marble steps of this beautiful building behind me, and I count myself blessed to have a job that I love and to work with people who are committed to serving the 6 and a half million people who call Tennessee home.

Four years from now, someone else will be standing here, and I will be sitting up here watching and cheering. On that day, like this day, I will know that Tennessee’s best days are ahead of us.

Wishing you Godspeed, I promise to give my all for this great state that we call home.

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NewsTracker

It’s Time for My Close-Up

Bill Haslam stepped in as governor more than six weeks ago, but his inauguration team is still tying up loose ends from the more than $2 million week-long party.

The Inauguration Committee just shared more than 1,000 photos from the week of his Jan. 15 swearing in, including images from the soon-to-be governor’s farewell speech in Knoxville and a country music concert in Haslam’s honor the night before the big day. Aside from his actual inauguration, the pictures also include snapshots from his inaugural gala that night and pics of him shaking hands with visitors wandering around the executive mansion the day after.

The inauguration was paid for with donations, with about $1.4 million coming from business donors and about $1 million from individuals.

Think you can find yourself in the photos? Most of the images show Haslam front and center, but a handful of photos feature him shaking hands, posing with the public and signing autographs.

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News

Haslam’s Speech Mostly Well-Received by Dems

Democrats in the Tennessee Legislature could no doubt think of a lot of people they’d prefer to be taking charge of Tennessee’s state government other than Bill Haslam.

It’d surely suit them just fine if Phil Bredesen was the governor for another your years.

But most members of what’s now the minority party in both legislative chambers who shared their thoughts with TNReport on Saturday expressed a decidedly hopeful outlook that the new governor’s interests and priorities are similar to, or at least are reconcilable with, their own.

Gov. Bill Haslam’s inaugural speech touched on improving education, encouraging good health among citizens, fostering job creation and meeting the state’s fiscal challenges “with a measure of compassion.” Some Democrats say they’re on the same page with Haslam. Although, a few worried that some of words and phrases he used in his speech hinted at an agenda more typical of a Republican on the national stage than an independent-minded, state-focused Tennessean.

After the new governor’s speech, TNReport asked Democrats what they came away with:

Chattanooga Sen. Andy Berke said he thinks Haslam is someone who wants to accomplish a lot during his governorship and he looks forward with working with him on many of those ideas. Berke indicated he appreciates the governor’s willingness to emphasize the importance of crafting policies that promote education improvement and job growth.

House Democratic Caucus Leader Rep. Craig Fitzhugh, of Ripley, says the new governor’s inauguration speech showed he and Democrats share many of the same goals.

Nashvillian Rep. Brenda Gilmore said she was happy to hear words from Gov. Haslam indicating he sees himself as a leader for all the people of Tennessee, not just those who identify and and affiliate with the GOP.

Senate Minority Leader Jim Kyle, a Memphis Democrat, said the new governor’s speech was overall quite positive and at times even uplifting. But Kyle added Haslam’s talk of government having to take things away from people wasn’t easy to hear. “But he pulled that off very well, and we are going to work with him the best we can,” said Kyle.

Sen. Beverly Marrero, the leader of the 22-member Shelby County Delegation to the Tennessee General Assembly, agreed that tough economic times call for tough choices. But she said lawmakers need to make sure they protect certain vulnerable populations.

Former House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh, a Covington Democrat, believes the chances are good Gov. Bill Haslam will, for the most part, carry on the legacy of Phil Bredesen, whom Naifeh characterized as an “outstanding governor.”

Rep. Gary Odom, a former Democratic Caucus Leader in the House, said Haslam’s inauguration speech hit on all the key points the state needs to work on in the next four years.

Rep. Joe Towns, high ranking member of the House of Representatives’ Democratic Caucus, said Haslam’s speech employed partisan GOP euphemisms and code words. Democrats, he said, have always been efficient stewards of state resources in Tennessee. Towns suspects Haslam and the GOP are signaling “they are going to try to decimate education” in the name of reform, said Towns.

Lowe Finney, the Senate Democratic Caucus Chairman, indicated he’s hopeful Gov. Bill Haslam will follow in the steps of Phil Bredesen on education, and that the new governor will bring a sense of bipartisan cooperation to office.

TNReport also spoke to Republicans and former Speaker Kent Williams about what they took away from Haslam’s speech.

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News

Republicans Relish Inaugural Remarks, Historic Moment

Tennessee Republicans, riding high and living large in both chambers of the state’s General Assembly, were all smiles and optimism after Gov. Bill Haslam’s inaugural speech Saturday.

Which wasn’t too surprising. With Haslam’s swearing in as 49th governor of the state, they control the Legislature and the executive branch for the first time since the late 1860s.

TNReport caught up with several GOP lawmakers after Haslam’s inauguration. Here are some of their observations and impressions on the important day:

State Sen. Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxville, says he agrees with the themes and points of emphasis in Haslam’s first speech as governor, particularly the parts about government scaling back programs and spending.

Rep. Glen Casada, a Franklin Republican and one-time contender for Speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives, said that from his vantage point the new governor was at his Bill Haslam-best and hit the right points in his inauguration speech. Casada added that people have to understand that cuts and reductions are indeed coming, it’s not a matter of if but when.

Johnson City state Sen. Rusty Crowe said he thinks Haslam is positioned well to deliver a solid budget to the General Assembly — and in comparison to other states, the fiscal picture could be a lot worse.

Somerville Sen. Dolores Gresham, who chairs the chamber’s education committee, said she’s eager to get the session underway and begin working with Haslam. She said she’s looking forward to education reform efforts with the new administration.

Germantown Sen. Brian Kelsey said former Gov. Phil Bredesen did an “excellent job” as the state’s highest ranking government leader for the past eight years and that the new governor will build upon his achievements, particularly in the realm of education.

Sen. Bill Ketron, R-Murfreesboro, said Haslam seems to have hit the ground running and hitting on all cylinders politically from the outset. “It’s going to be an exciting time for our state,” said Ketron.

Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, of Blountville, said Haslam’s plan for regionalizing economic development initiatives, redoubling education reform have Republicans in a state of high optimism, and his talk of scaling back government spending and programs are welcome words not just to the GOP faithful, but to voters in general. Ramsey noted that he and former Gov. Bredesen “got along most of the time, we really did.” He added, “On fiscal issues, we got along almost all of the time.”

Shelbyville Sen. Jim Tracy said he particularly liked Haslam’s talk of “cutting and living within our means, just like we have to do with our family budget.”

Sen Jamie Woodson lauded Haslam’s focus on education in his address.

TNReport also spoke to Democrats and the Legislature’s lone Independent about their impressions of Haslam’s speech.

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Press Releases

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam’s Inaugural Address

This is the administration-provided text of the speech delivered by Gov. Bill Haslam following his swearing-in to office on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2011:

Let me begin by thanking you for placing your confidence in me to serve as your Governor.

With humility, I accept your trust to be a responsible steward of our state’s resources.

As my friend Lamar Alexander says, being the Governor of your home State is a high honor, and if that state just happens to be Tennessee, well it doesn’t get any better than that.

One Saturday night about eight months ago, Crissy and I were driving home from Henry County. It was close to midnight as we came through Nashville, which I knew meant we would be getting home to Knoxville about 3 a.m. As we drove down

I-40, I saw the lights illuminating our state capitol.

With many months and miles behind us, and quite a few more to go, I thought, “that’s a really beautiful building – but it sure does take a lot of work to get there.”

I want to thank my wife, Crissy, who spent endless days with me traveling 120,000 miles across our state. She joined me in shaking hundreds of thousands of hands, eating a thousand chicken dinners, knocking on countless doors and probably most painful for her, listening to me give the same speech about 2,000 times. Somewhere along the way she later recounted, she had learned how to look at me adoringly without listening to a word I said.

To our children Annie, Leigh and Will and his wife, Hannah, thank you for your incredible support and encouragement along the way.

The road to public office traverses over paths that are long, challenging and often partisan. Our democratic system asks good men and women to stand for election as Republican, Democrat or Independent.

After the voters speak freely and openly through the ballot box, the time comes to set aside those things that separate us, and join our hands and our hearts together to aspire to greatness.

Now is the time to help Tennessee reach its potential.

Speaking of aspiring to greatness, Governor Bredesen, thank you for a job well done. And to your wife, Andrea Conte, as First Lady you set the tone to raising awareness of crime victimization and crime prevention. Thank you.

Governor Bredesen, you often used nautical analogies to describe your ship of state. You stood at the helm, in good times and through some that were more tumultuous, and never veered off course.

And as an aside, I truly hope our national leaders will use your insights into the health care system to bring about real reform.

Today, a new set of hands will grab hold of those oars and pull with the currents – sometimes against – toward a new horizon.

For two years I criss-crossed Tennessee, from the mountains in the East to the banks of the Mississippi River in the West, sharing in the stories that stitch together the fabric of our state and our people. I also learned that Tennesseans have opinions – lots of opinions. But that is a good thing. And listening to those opinions, as varied as they may be, is what prepared me to lead.

From thousands of conversations along the campaign trail and experiencing first-hand the strong work ethic among Tennesseans, this is a state with people who are up to the challenges that we face.

There is a will to work… a desire to earn a good wage… and to support a family. But for some, in all honesty, the opportunities are scarce or difficult to attain. Too many of our fellow citizens remain unemployed and many more are under-employed.

The emerging landscape for jobs in our state breaks in two distinct ways.

There is the vibrant hum of a new economy, that is growing, that encourages learning, and that taps the educated. Others feel left behind, struggling to gain a foothold and wary of having the tools to compete.

In the new economy there is room for those who prepare for the challenges of a changing workforce. Some come equipped with the right education and skills while others reach out to re-train, re-educate and re-enter a competitive marketplace.

It is time to aspire to be more.

As Tennesseans we often aim too low when it comes to our education, our health and our economy. It is time to raise our sights.

A person under-employed as well as those unemployed seek to discover a future in front and not a fleeting image from a rear view mirror.

But please understand this point: Government stands ready to assist, but government is not the solution.

Offering hope through workforce development, technical training and work keys are building blocks on the road to job recovery and job security. But equally important is the individual determination and drive to invest the time and energy and hard work to be more.

There are those who are convinced there is no penalty for giving up and dropping out of school – a job will be readily available. But, for those who give little, there will be little in return.

We cannot accept 28,000 students dropping out every year without completing high school. As leaders, our job is to help define reality for all to see and to understand – educational achievement is the real key to the future.

The expectations and standards of education for EVERY STUDENT in Tennessee are high. This is the time to continue significant education reform – and shame on us if we let this moment escape without meaningful action. The path for better jobs now and into the future requires more than the current 1 out of 5 Tennesseans over the age of 25 who have a college degree.

This is my commitment to you: We will improve our teaching, learning, retention and graduation. Every student deserves a great teacher, and every school needs a great principal. The tools will be in place – the rest is up to each of us to seize the opportunities.

Businesses deciding whether to locate or expand in Tennessee look for more than incentives. The single best recruiting tool for future job growth is a high quality in our work force that flows from our educational achievements. I recently attended new governor’s school. I think I passed! There are twenty-six brand new Governors. All of us ran on a platform of bringing jobs to our state. The competition is intense. Not just with our fellow states in the U.S., but with countries from across the world.

We are honing an edge that will allow Tennessee to stand out in a highly competitive world where everyone is looking for the smallest advantage to succeed.

Reforms and investments in Tennessee’s education system offer promises for tomorrow. But money and good intentions are not enough to bridge the gap. Commitments are required– from parents, teachers, students and elected officials. The standards for educational excellence have been raised and we need plenty of helping hands, not pointing fingers, in our climb to the Top.

It is time to reach for the top tier and not be satisfied with merely being better than last.

A quality workforce also embraces healthy choices and personal responsibility and accountability for a healthy lifestyle. We can’t remain 44th out of the 50 states in the health of our citizens and attract the jobs that we want, nor obtain the quality of life we desire in Tennessee.

Our goal is simple: Top-tier education for our children. Re-training for those out of work and underemployed. A healthy lifestyle. All three will make Tennessee number one in the Southeast for high quality jobs.

Going forward, the governor’s responsibilities will be different. Compared to 20 years ago, efficiency now is the operative word because resources are fewer. There is no other choice.

Thomas Freedman recently wrote that “we are leaving an era where to be a mayor, governor, senator, or president was on balance to give things away to people and we are entering an era where to be a leader will mean on balance to take things away from people. That is the only way we will get our fiscal house in order before the market brutally does it for us.”

As we slowly reverse the negative trends of the economic downturn that gripped our state and nation, we will be diligent in watching the weight of state government, going on a diet of efficiency and effectiveness.

State government will live within its financial means, and a Top to Bottom review will set priorities and establish measurable goals.

We face few easy alternatives in closing the budget gap and balancing the budget – difficult choices face us. We will make the right decisions that point us toward the future – while doing so with a measure of compassion.

Today, as we begin writing a new chapter in our state’s history,

I ask you, the elected state senators and representatives, to join with me in rolling up our sleeves and going to work.

Our measure of effective state government is whether our citizens are served well and at the lowest possible cost.

The people of Tennessee are our customers and we will be all about great customer service. In business our goal was to make sure that every employee was either taking care of a customer or taking care of someone who was taking care of a customer.

As Mayor of Knoxville, our goal was to listen, to lead, to be open and transparent and to get things done. State government will do no less.

Years ago, my father instilled in his children a sense of being unable to sit back, look at a problem and not do anything. He taught us that life does not revolve around our own world, as comfortable as that might be. You have to be willing to reach out, take a risk, and understand that the reward for a job well done comes from knowing you have played your part with the gifts God has given you so you are part of something bigger than yourself.

You start with the presumption of saying yes to making a difference and then you see what you can do to help.

That is the measure of leadership.

Leadership shapes reality – it’s how education reform grasps the knowledge reins for the future or how, with a gentle nudge, people reach the next rung on the ladder even when it is a stretch to grab hold.

Let me be very clear. Fiscal challenges and difficult options will characterize our time and leadership. We have to be willing to press ahead because you feel it is the right step – not necessarily the most popular – in setting the course for the future of all Tennesseans.

Leaders listen, draw on the experience of others and their own life experiences and values, and lay out a path that embraces the hopes, dreams and aspirations for all.

We are at a new day in government in our country and our state. This is not a reference to Republicans winning elections that Democrats won two or four years earlier.

Today, reality is a landscape created from fewer financial resources but one that still provides for the common good.

There are opportunities before us. We cannot do or be everything. We have to exercise good judgment as we set our priorities.

The path we will travel will not be smooth and there will be a few bumps along the way.

But we will successfully navigate – learning new ideas and building on existing experiences.

This sense of hope and optimism comes from the knowledge that guiding principles serve as anchors in times of challenge. They empower us to do more and help us seek simplicity in moments of uncertainty and confusion.

As your governor, I promise to be a good listener and a continuous learner, to lead with grace and humility, and when faced with adversity, to respond with determination. And finally, I will work hard. In business, as a mayor, and as a candidate for governor, I have learned nothing replaces hard work.

After over two years of preparing to be here, I am ready and excited to get to work.

I hope you will join me along the path we start blazing today that will shape the future for Tennessee.

Thank you for your support, your encouragement, your prayers and your commitment to making Tennessee a better place to live, to work, and to raise a family.

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Press Releases

Haslam Kicks Off Week-Long Inaugural Celebration

Press Release from Gov.-elect Bill Haslam; Jan. 10, 2011:

Statewide Tour Features Community Events, Nashville Concert and Inauguration of 49thGovernor

KINGSPORT, Tenn. – Governor-Elect Bill Haslam today began a series of regional celebratory events in cities across the state leading up to an inauguration weekend in Nashville when Haslam becomes Tennessee’s 49th governor.

The Haslam Inaugural theme, “Tennesseans – Working Together, Moving Forward,” reflects the bipartisan and community-based inaugural celebrations that will take place this week and indicates the inclusive style of leadership Haslam will emphasize to stimulate job creation, education reform and effective and efficient state government.”

“Traveling across Tennessee the past couple of years in the campaign I was reminded every day that Tennesseans possess a special spirit and character,” said Haslam.  “We work together in difficult times, always with optimism and towards a better future.  ‘Working together, moving forward,’ is how my administration will work and how together we will achieve a better future for Tennesseans.”

This news release provides the schedule for the statewide inaugural tour and weekend activities in Nashville beginning Friday evening with a benefit concert featuring Sara Evans, Diamond Rio and Bo Bice.

The Inaugural Ceremony begins Saturday at 11 a.m. (CST) at Legislative Plaza.  Press interested in gaining credentials for the ceremony and access to the press platform should contact Andrew Chironna at (615) 690-8668 or via e-mail at AChironna@billhaslam.com.

Weekend Inaugural Activities

Friday, January 14

8 p.m. – “All Together Now,” a benefit concert featuring Sara Evans, Diamond Rio and Bo Bice, at Nashville Municipal Auditorium. All proceeds from the concert will be donated to TN Achieves, a scholarship initiative benefitting community college students.  Tickets are $10 and available on-line at www.billhaslam.net, www.ticketmaster.com, or at the Municipal Auditorium box office.

Saturday, January 15

8:30 a.m. – Inaugural Prayer Service at Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium, 116 5th Avenue North. For the first time in Tennessee history, this inaugural event is made open to the public.  This event requires media credentials; please contact Andrew Chironna at (615) 690-8668 or via e-mail at AChironna@billhaslam.com.

11:00 a.m. – Inaugural Ceremony, Legislative Plaza, the corner of 7th Avenue North and Union Avenue.

12:45 p.m. – Inaugural Parade, beginning on Fourth Avenue North at Nashville Municipal Auditorium.  Primary parade viewing will be on Union Avenue, between Fourth and Sixth Avenue North around Legislative Plaza.  The Governor’s review stand will be located at Sixth Avenue North at Deaderick Street.  The parade features high school and college marching bands as well as service organizations from across Tennessee.

6:30 p.m. – First Couple’s Celebration at Opryland Hotel, in the Delta Ballroom. The dinner and dance features Lorrie Morgan and the Pat Patrick Band. Tickets are $250 and available on-line at www.billhaslam.net.

8 p.m. – Inaugural Ball at Opryland Hotel, in the Delta Atrium. The inaugural celebration features Memphis entertainers Jason D. Williams and The Soul Shockers.  Tickets are $50 and available on-line at www.billhaslam.net.

Sunday, January 16

11 a.m. – 3 p.m. – An open house at the Executive Residence for East and West Tennesseans.

Sunday, January 23

Noon – 3 p.m.  – An open house at the Executive Residence for Middle Tennesseans.

Free shuttle service is available at three locations on Franklin Avenue – Father Ryan High School, Franklin Road Academy and First Presbyterian Church. On both dates, parking will not be available at the residence.

January 10-14, Statewide Celebrations

• Tri-Cities – Monday, Jan. 10, 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., Marriott Meadowview, 1901 Meadowview Parkway, Kingsport.

• Chattanooga – Tuesday, Jan. 11, 5:30 p. to 7 p.m., Tennessee Aquarium, One Broad Street.  To RSVP, write to heather@billhaslam.com;

• Jackson – Wednesday, Jan. 12, 11:30 to 1 p.m., West Tennessee Research & Education Center, 605 Airways.  To RSVP, write to marybrette@billhaslam.com;

• Memphis — Wednesday, Jan. 12, 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., Memphis Botanic Gardens, 750 Cherry Road. To RSVP, write to jennings@billhaslam.com.

For more information on the inaugural celebration and events, please visit www.BillHaslam.net.

Categories
Press Releases

Haslam Inaugural Website Goes Live

Statement from Governor-elect Bill Haslam Inaugural Committee; Dec. 30, 2010:

We are pleased to announce that the official Bill Haslam Inaugural 2011 website is now live at BillHaslam.net. This site should have all of the information you need to plan your visit to Nashville for the Inaugural weekend. Visitors can find discounted hotel rates, reserve tickets for Inaugural events and a whole lot more at BillHaslam.net. Please recognize that while many events are open to the public at no charge, we do have some space limitations so we encourage you to make your reservations as soon as possible.

Kim Kaegi

Haslam Inaugural Committee 2011, Inc.

Categories
Press Releases

Haslam Team Releases Inauguration Week Details

Statement from Governor-elect Bill Haslam Inauguration Team; Dec. 23, 2010:

So many Tennesseans worked hard to ensure that Bill was elected as the next Governor of our great state. We believe he will move our state forward on jobs, education and fiscal responsibility. As Bill takes office, many challenges lie ahead and our state will need to Work Together to Move Forward.

Tennesseans across the state are excited about their new Governor and will come together in Nashville the weekend of January 14 to celebrate. The Inaugural Ceremony and surrounding activities will be open to the public and attendance to most events is offered at no charge. At the same time, Bill and Crissy realize that not all Tennesseans will be able to join the celebration in Nashville. Therefore, in appreciation of the tremendous honor to serve as your next Governor, Bill and Crissy invite you to join them for Regional Celebrations taking place across the state the week of January 10. All of these regional events are complimentary and open to the public. Please make plans to visit with the First Lady, Governor-elect, and members of his administration.

Kim Kaegi

Haslam Inaugural 2011, Inc.

Tennesseans Salute Governor-elect Bill and Crissy Haslam

Monday, January 10

5:30 – 7 pm

Marriott Meadowview

1901 Meadowview Parkway

Kingsport, TN 37660

RSVP: Kendall@BillHaslam.com

Tuesday, January 11

5:30 – 7 pm

Tennessee Aquarium

One Broad Street

Chattanooga, TN 37402

RSVP: Heather@BillHaslam.com

Wednesday, January 12

11:30 am – 1:00 pm

W. TN Research & Education Cntr.

605 Airways Blvd

Jackson, TN 38301

RSVP: Marybrette@BillHaslam.com

Wednesday, January 12

5:30 – 7 pm

Memphis Botanic Gardens

750 Cherry Road

Memphis, TN 38117

RSVP: Jennings@BillHaslam.com

Thursday, January 13

5:30 – 7 pm

The Foundry

747 World’s Fair Park Drive

Knoxville, TN 37921

RSVP: Kendall@BillHaslam.com