Gov. Bill Haslam: States are innovators

Crissy and I returned Monday from the National Governors Association winter meeting in Washington, D.C.
Mar 1, 2014


Crissy and I returned Monday from the National Governors Association winter meeting in Washington, D.C. 

It was a good conference, full of productive conversations with other governors, and it’s always nice to be able to talk about all of the good things happening in Tennessee.

In addition to the NGA meetings, I joined Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper for “Powering Advanced Industries: A Bipartisan Dialogue on State Strategies,” an event hosted by the Brookings Institute.  

Tennessee’s leadership in growing advanced industry jobs, particularly in the automotive sector, was a central focus. I also participated in Politico’s State Solutions Conference and appeared on a segment of PBS NewsHour for a spirited conversation with host Judy Woodruff and Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn.

I joined the other governors in a meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House and left with a couple thoughts, which I shared at a press conference with other Republican governors. 

First, the difference between what you hear from a lot of governors and what you hear from the White House is an understanding about how jobs get created. 

Many of my fellow governors and I believe that jobs are created when businesses or individuals feel the confidence to invest capital, and at the state level we’re working hard to create that confidence. Second, the reason governors continue to ask Washington to trust states to solve problems, is because we are – we’re coming up with flexible, creative ideas to address issues. 

For example, everywhere I went in Washington, there was a lot of interest in the Tennessee Promise, our proposal to give graduating high school seniors the chance to go to a community college or college of applied technology free of tuition and fees.

The clear takeaway from my visits with other governors is there is growing frustration, across both parties, with Washington and a lack of getting things done. 

No surprise, the best part of my trip was coming home to Tennessee. 

Let me mention one other thing. This month we launched “Transparent Tennessee,” a one-stop shop for searching public data on how state dollars are spent. This is one more effort to make state government more customer-focused, efficient and effective.

As always, we appreciate your interest in what we’re doing and welcome your feedback. You can email me at

Bill Haslam is governor of Tennessee. 


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