Saturday, January 19, 2019

A Farewell and Thank You from Govenor Bill Haslam

January 18, 2019

Dear Fellow Tennesseans,
This morning, I walked up the stairs to the State Capitol for the last time as governor, and I can honestly say I felt the same sense of excitement as I did on January 15, 2011.

Every time I climbed those stairs over the past eight years, I’ve looked forward to the work - doing what we could to help improve the lives of Tennesseans.

My hope is that we’ve made an impact.

By changing the culture of expectations around dinner tables, making college free to all Tennesseans and providing opportunities that will change the trajectory of their lives.

By strengthening the K-12 education we offer our children, watching Tennessee students become the fastest improving students in the country because of their hard work and the hard work of their teachers.

By fostering the best possible environment for job creation so businesses can thrive and grow, creating more than 450,000 jobs and maintaining a record low unemployment rate.

By coming out of years and years of federal oversight of the services we provide to children, families and the developmentally disabled.

By changing the way we hire and reward state employees. By being good stewards of taxpayers’ money, tripling the state’s rainy day fund, proposing and signing balanced budgets, including two that had no new debt, and earning the highest rating possible by all three bond agencies.

By putting money back into the pocketbooks of Tennesseans and the private sector, cutting $800 million in taxes.

We’ve faced challenges too, and I always came away newly reminded of and inspired by your resolve and how you come together, Tennesseans helping Tennesseans, to get through the toughest of times.

I leave the State Capitol today with a heart overflowing with gratitude, incredibly thankful for this opportunity that, for some reason, was bestowed upon me.

Lamar Alexander told me shortly after I was first elected, “Being governor of your state is a great job, unless your home state is Tennessee, and then it’s the best job in the whole world.” And he is absolutely right.

Crissy and I are grateful for you calling on us to serve, for giving us the greatest jobs we could ever imagine.


Rod's Comment:

I am immensely pleased with the record of Governor Bill Haslam. Before Bill Haslam's tenure as Governor, anytime there was a ranking of states on almost any metric about all one could say about Tennessee's ranking is, "Thank God for Mississippi." Tennessee usually ranked in the bottom two or three states. Governor Haslam has made me prouder to be from Tennessee than ever before.  We still have a ways to go in some areas but we have made tremendous progress.
I think Governor Haslam is too modest in touting his accomplishments. In some rankings, Tennessee ranks near the top. Tennessee is the state with the least public debt per person in the country. At the same time Governor Haslum cut taxes he reduced the number of state employees by hundreds and instituted reforms that reward employees for performance rather than simple longevity.  Our pension plan is recognized as one of the top 6 strongest pension funds in the United States. 

Governor Haslam may not be the ideologue that some conservative activist would like but he has shown that applying common sense conservative principles to government operations really works. We are fortunate to have had him as governor. I hope that Governor Bill Lee will continue the progress Tennessee has made. 

I thank Governor Haslam for his service to our state and wish him the best in his future endeavors.  and hope he does not retire from public service.

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