Bill Haslam is the incumbent Governor of Tennessee who is in office since January 15, 2011. He succeeded Phil Bredesen with Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey in 2011. In 2014, Randy McNally succeeded Ron Ramsey. Previously, Bill was the Mayor of Knoxville from December 20, 2003 to January 10, 2011.
Early Life and Education
Bill Haslam was born on August 23, 1958. Raised in Knoxville with a Republican family, Haslam went to Webb School of Knoxville for early education. Graduating from the Webb School, he joined Emory University for an undergraduate degree in history.
Bill Haslam is married to his college sweetheart Crissy Garrett. The couple has three children: Leigh, Will and Annie Haslam.
Completing the college education, Bill Haslam started working at his father’s company, although he aspired to be a history teacher. However, as he worked at Pilot, he became increasingly attached to it. In 1995, Bill became President of the company. Four years later, he entered Saks Fifth Avenue as its CEO and operated under the capacity until he received the offer to venture into Harold’s Stores Inc. in 2001. On the side, Haslam owns the minor league baseball team Tennessee Smokies.
In 2002, a successful businessman and a renowned person, Bill Haslam decided to run for Mayor of Knoxville against Madeline Rogero. After a tight and aggressive political campaign, Bill Haslam won the election with 52% as opposed to Rogero’s 46% votes. Haslam sought for another term in Mayor’s office in 2007 election and subsequently defeated his opponents with 87% votes. As a history graduate, Bill Haslam’s administration has mainly inclined towards saving historical heritages such as Bijou Theatre and S&W Cafeteria. Likewise, Haslam was crucial in boosting the economy of the downtown Knoxville by introducing tax subsidies on real estate developing.
As the second term in Mayor’s office came to an end, Bill Haslam decided to run for Tennessee Governor in the 2010 Gubernatorial Election. Subsequently, he won the Republican nomination with 47.40% votes against four other Republican colleagues. In the general election, Haslam defeated Democrat Mike McWherter and 17 other candidates with a majority of 65.03% votes in hand. Similarly, Bill sought for another term in Governor’s office and ran in the 2014 election. Gaining the Republican nomination with 87.68% votes, Haslam faced Democrat Charlie Brown and many other candidates in the general election. Haslam indeed had an easy victory as he won 70.31% votes out of more than 1.3 million turnouts.
As Governor of Tennessee, Bill Haslam largely focused on increasing employment rate alongside an achievement of sustainable economic growth. In the same way, he adopted a balanced budget policy which led to an increment of state savings. In 2011, he used austerity policies with a decrease in government budget by 3.9%. Likewise, he prohibited any forms of discrimination against homosexuals on employment opportunities and other services. Haslam also played a crucial role in stabilizing the protests in Nashville by ordering a curfew.
In 2012, Haslam introduced a larger budget proposal with an intended spending of $31 billion. Although the budget presented tax cuts by $50 million, it had increments in other sectors such as infrastructural developments, state employees’ wages and a reduction in inheritance and sales tax which supposedly leads to an increase in investment. Under Haslam’s administration, Tennessee Excellence, Accountability and Management Act was formulated to establish a new meritocratic system of hiring state employees. Likewise, Haslam repeatedly criticized Obamacare.
As a Governor of Tennessee for the second term, Haslam has been able to veto the proposal of making Bible Tennessee’s official book. Likewise, he has been continuing his vision for a sustainable economic growth, tax reductions for investment, job creation and development of meritocracy.
Donald Trump and Bill Haslam
President Donald Trump and Governor Haslam could be seen as having a similar background as they both are successful businessmen. Likewise, the two leaders also agree on a lot of political and economic issues. For instance, they both oppose abortion and Obamacare. Similarly, the pair has repeatedly stated to crackdown on illegal immigrants in the US. However, Bill endorsed Marco Rubio during the 2016 Republican primaries.
Bill Haslam also urged Donald Trump to step down and let Mike Pence run the Republican campaign. As Trump won the general election, he called for party integration.