bill haslam

Gov. Bill Haslam to give Senate bid ‘serious consideration’

Gov. Bill Haslam announces on Nov. 13, 2018, that Ernst & Young will add 600 jobs in Nashville. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Term-limited Gov. Bill Haslam tells Andy Sher of the Chattanooga Times Free Press that he was caught off guard by Sen. Lamar Alexander’s decision not to seek another term, and that he will give “serious consideration” about running for the seat.

“That’s obviously new news to me as well,” the Republican governor told the Times Free Press. “I will give it serious consideration and will have a better answer to your question in coming days. But for now this is a great time to honor Lamar.”

Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke was coy when the paper asked the Democrat about whether he will run for the open Senate seat.

“There are many issues important to me that affect not just Chattanoogans, but Tennesseans as a whole. I am always looking for opportunities to focus on the issues that will help improve the quality of life in Tennessee,” he said.

Other potential candidates include U.S. Rep. Diane Black (R-Gallatin), who came in third in the Republican gubernatorial primary earlier this year; U.S. Rep. Mark Green (R-Ashland City); U.S. Rep. David Kustoff (R-Memphis); and Bill Hagerty, president Donald Trump’s ambassador to Japan and a former state economic development commissioner.

Ag tech company Indigo bringing 700 jobs to Memphis

A release from Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration:

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe and Indigo Ag, Inc. President and CEO David Perry announced today that the agricultural technology company will establish the headquarters for its North American commercial operations in Memphis.

Indigo will invest nearly $6.6 million and create over 700 jobs in Memphis over the next three years.

“I’m extremely pleased to see Indigo create hundreds of corporate office jobs in Memphis with this expansion,” Haslam said. “Indigo is one of the fastest growing startups in the country, and the decision to make Memphis such a vital part of its future growth is a testament to Tennessee’s vibrant economy and skilled workforce.”

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Haslam names advisory boards for UT campuses

Gov. Bill Haslam announces on Nov. 13, 2018, that Amazon will locate its East Coast logistics hub in Nashville. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal )

A release from Gov. Bill Haslam’s office:

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today appointed 20 members to the new advisory boards for each of the four campuses within the University of Tennessee system: The University of Tennessee, Knoxville; The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga; The University of Tennessee at Martin; and The University of Tennessee Health Science Center. The advisory boards were created under the UT FOCUS Act passed by the General Assembly last session.

“These board members will positively impact the multiple and diverse campuses that comprise the UT system,” Haslam said. “We wanted members who could focus their attention on the individual campuses and respond nimbly to the specific needs of each institution.”

The UT advisory board members are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the General Assembly. Each board is comprised of five public members, one faculty member and one student member.

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TennCare director Wendy Long leaving for Nashville post

TennCare Director Wendy Long is leaving her position with the state to become director of health for the Metropolitan Board of Health of Nashville and Davidson County.

Here’s the full release from Gov. Bill Haslam’s office:

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced TennCare Director Dr. Wendy Long will leave state service in January. The Metropolitan Board of Health of Nashville and Davidson County has selected Dr. Long as the new director of health, pending contract approval by the Metropolitan Council.  

Haslam appointed Dr. Long in June 2016 as the director of TennCare after she previously served in other executive positions within the agency including deputy director and chief medical officer. Dr. Long has 14 years of service to TennCare and more than 30 years to Tennessee State Government. Dr. Long’s state service includes working as assistant commissioner at the Tennessee Department of Health where she oversaw a wide variety of programs and services including maternal and child health, communicable disease control, and the operation of local and regional health departments throughout the state. 

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Haslam names final voting member of UT board

A release from Gov. Bill Haslam’s office:

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today made his final appointment to the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees. Alan D. Wilson is the 12th member to join the reconstituted board following passage of the University of Tennessee Focusing On Campus and University Success (FOCUS) Act earlier this year. The legislation restructured the UT Board of Trustees to enhance governance of the UT system.

Wilson retired in 2016 as chief executive officer, president and chairman of the board of directors of McCormick & Company, Inc., where he served in leadership roles for 23 years. He subsequently served as executive chairman of McCormick & Company until 2017. Before joining McCormick & Company, Wilson worked for nine years at Procter & Gamble. Wilson graduated from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville with a bachelor’s degree in communications and is a veteran of the U.S. Army.

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Ernst & Young announces 600 new jobs in Nashville

Gov. Bill Haslam announces on Nov. 13, 2018, that Ernst & Young will add 600 jobs in Nashville. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

A press release from Gov. Bill Haslam’s office:

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe and Ernst & Young LLP (EY) officials announced today that the global professional services firm will invest more than $20 million to establish a facility to deliver tax managed services for clients and tax technology operations in Nashville. EY expects to create more than 600 jobs over the next five years.

“EY’s decision to create hundreds of technology and service delivery jobs in Nashville affirms our ongoing efforts to bring high quality jobs to Tennessee,” Haslam said. “Tennessee’s pro-growth policies continue to attract leading international businesses to our state. I’d like to thank EY for making this major investment in Middle Tennessee and bringing us one step closer to making Tennessee the top state in the Southeast for high quality jobs.”

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UPDATE: Amazon to invest $230M, add 5,000 jobs in Nashville

Gov. Bill Haslam announces on Nov. 13, 2018, that Amazon will locate its East Coast logistics hub in Nashville. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal )

Here’s a press release from Amazon outlining its $230 million and adding 5,000 jobs in Nashville.

Amazon’s new Operations Center of Excellence in Nashville

  • Downtown Nashville, along the Cumberland River, is the heart of the city just north of the Gulch and is home to urban living, retail, restaurants, entertainment venues, hospitality, open green spaces, and offices. The area is served by commuter rail, more than a dozen bus routes, and is a 15-minute drive to Nashville International Airport.
  • As part of Amazon’s investment, Tennessee, Davidson County and the city of Nashville will benefit from 5,000 full-time, high-paying jobs; over $230 million in investment; 1 million square feet of energy-efficient office space; and an estimated incremental tax revenue of more than $1 billion over the next 10 years as a result of Amazon’s investment and job creation.
  • Amazon will receive performance-based direct incentives of up to $102 million based on the company creating 5,000 jobs with an average wage of over $150,000 in Nashville. This includes a cash grant for capital expenditures from the state of Tennessee of $65 million based on the company creating 5,000 jobs over the next 7 years, which is equivalent to $13,000 per job; a cash grant from the city of Nashvilleof up to $15 million based on $500 for each job created over the next 7 years; and a job tax credit to offset franchise and excise taxes from the state of Tennessee of $21.7 million based on $4,500 per new job over the next 7 years.

“We want to thank Amazon for its continued investment in the state of Tennessee and are excited about the additional 5,000 corporate jobs they will be creating in Nashville,” said Governor Bill Haslam of Tennessee. “It has never been clearer that Tennessee is a great place to do business, and we continue to attract a wide variety of global companies that provide high-paying, quality jobs for our residents.”

“Amazon’s decision to expand its presence in Nashville is a direct result of the talented workforce and strong community we’ve built here,” said Mayor David Briley of Nashville. “These are quality, high-paying jobs that will boost our economy, provide our workers with new opportunities, and show the rest of the world that Nashville is a premiere location for business investment. We thank Amazon for investing in Nashville, and we look forward to welcoming them to this community.”

8:49 a.m.: Reuters reports that while Nashville might not have made the final cut for Amazon’s second headquarters (that one appears to be a split decision between New York and northern Virginia),  the Tennessee capital is in line for a separate East Coast hub of operations. That decision will be good for 5,000 new corporate jobs in the city, according to the news services’ sources.

A press conference for an unspecified “significant economic development announcement” was scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Central at the state Capitol.

Haslam predicts Blackburn will win by at least 5 points

Gov. Bill Haslam speaks at a press conference at the state Capitol in Nashville on March 1, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Gov. Bill Haslam predicted on  NBC’s Meet the Press with Chuck Todd on Sunday that Republican Marsha Blackburn will comfortably win the Senate race against Democrat Phil Bredesen because voters in Tennessee care more about the partisan makeup of the chamber than about the individual promises made by candidates.

The governor said the furor surrounding the Supreme Court confirmation hearing for Brett Kavanaugh shifted the race in Tennessee by 5 or 6 percentage points in Blackburn’s favor, adding that he thinks “Marsha will win by at least that much.”

“Tennessee is one of those states where the Kavanaugh hearings did change things,” Haslam said. “People realized well it really doesn’t matter, kind of, what you’re saying. The color of the jersey you’re wearing up there is really important.”

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Haslam outlines TNReady changes following testing problems

Gov. Bill Haslam, left, and Wayne Miller, the former executive director of the Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents, attend an Oct. 24, 2018, press conference in Nashville about changes to the TNReady testing program. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

A release from Gov. Bill Haslam’s office:

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Department of Education Commissioner Candice McQueen today announced changes in the delivery of the TNReady assessment for the current school year and additional changes that will take effect beginning in the 2019-20 school year. The changes are a direct response to a report from educators generated by the recent statewide listening tour that included roundtable conversations and online feedback from educators including teachers, testing coordinators and school administrators on how to make improvements to assessment delivery.

“These are real solutions, some of which are already underway or will be implemented later this year, that will be felt by educators, students and parents across the state,” Haslam said. “Throughout the listening tour, the message from teachers was clear that we do not need to start over but rather do all we can to improve the delivery of TNReady. We think these changes will do just that and create a better testing experience for both students and teachers.”

The Department of Education has already made significant changes, including a successful verification of the testing platform involving roughly 50,000 students, ensuring quicker turnaround of results starting with the fall end-of-course assessments, and providing better educator training opportunities.

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Haslam names former state senator, NES chief to UT board

Gov. Bill Haslam speaks at a press conference at the state Capitol in Nashville on March 1, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Gov. Bill Haslam has made two more appointments to the reconstituted Board of Trustees of the University of Tennessee: former state Sen. Jamie Woodson (R-Knoxville) and Decosta Jenkins, the president and CEO of the Nashville Electric Service.

Here’s the full release:

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today appointed two additional members to the Board of Trustees of the University of Tennessee. Decosta Jenkins and Jamie Woodson join the board in advance of the meeting scheduled for November 2.

The appointments follow passage of the University of Tennessee Focusing On Campus and University Success (FOCUS) Act earlier this year. The legislation restructured the UT Board of Trustees to enhance governance of the UT system.

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