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State economic leader chats with chamber

Xavier Smith • Sep 13, 2017 at 2:45 PM

The Lebanon–Wilson County Chamber of Commerce welcomed the state’s economic and community development leader Wednesday to discuss the state’s job recruitment efforts and success in Wilson County.

Bob Rolfe, Tennessee Economic and Community Development commissioner, discussed the past, present and future of Tennessee economic development.

“Our No. 1 mission every day is what can we do to recruit more jobs to Tennessee – high-quality, family-waged jobs to Tennessee,” he said.

Rolfe also discussed former commissioners Bill Hagerty, who served four years, and Randy Boyd, who served two years, and their roles in attracting business to Tennessee.

“I think Bill Hagerty deserves an enormous amount of credit for setting up the infrastructure for us to recruit large projects that have benefited here. We’re going to talk about some of these marquee names that have come to your community. Ladies and gentlemen, there are no communities that have some of these marquee names,” Rolfe said.

Since Gov. Bill Haslam was first elected in 2011, more than 147,000 jobs were created in the state, featuring 1,100 projects and $28 billion in private capital investment, according to Rolfe.

“The private sector creates the jobs. The private sector invests the capital, and that’s a big statistic that I think exceeds the number of jobs created,” Rolfe said.

Rolfe also highlighted Wilson County’s success since Haslam took office.

“When it comes to the Wilson County report card, 4,700 jobs since 2011, 30-plus projects and $800 million of private capital investment,” he said. “Ladies and gentlemen, there may be one or two other communities that have that kind of report card, but I’ll just say congratulations and very well done. I know we’re just beginning.”

Rolfe said he didn’t know about the future of development in the state, but he vowed state economic leaders would do their due diligence on all potential projects.

“I don’t know how far this trend’s going to go, but I can promise you this – the state of Tennessee, with our General Assembly and governor’s approval – we’re going to make good decisions. You’re not going to wake up and be embarrassed that your state – those guys and girls at [economic and community development] – gave away $5 billion,” he said. 

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