On November 4, 2014, Bill Haslam secured the largest re-election victory in modern Tennessee history. Under his leadership, Tennessee is recognized as a national leader in education, economic development, efficient government and fiscal strength.
Since 2011, Tennessee students have been the fastest improving in the country in academic achievement. High school graduation rates are at an all-time high, and Tennessee is the first state in the nation to offer high school graduates two years of community or technical college free of tuition and fees.
Just three years into the governor’s Drive to 55 initiative to increase the number of Tennesseans with a postsecondary degree or certificate to 55 percent by 2025, more Tennesseans are going to college and fewer need remediation when they get there. In fact, first-time freshmen enrollment increased 25 percent at community colleges and 20 percent at technical colleges in one year, and the college-going rate in Tennessee increased to a historic high of 62.5 percent in 2015.
More than 330,000 private sector jobs have been created since Governor Haslam took office in 2011. Tennessee has been ranked No. 1 for advanced industry job growth, No. 1 for jobs created through foreign direct investment, and is the only three-time winner of “State of the Year” for economic development by Business Facilities magazine.
Working with the Tennessee General Assembly, the governor and his administration have cut more than $500 million in recurring spending, shrunk state government by 5 percent, balanced the budget every year, kept taxes low, ensured Tennessee has the lowest debt in the country and more than doubled the state’s savings account. Tennessee has been ranked the third best managed state in the nation, and for only the second time in state history, has been awarded a triple, triple-A bond rating.
In 2003, Bill ran successfully for mayor of Knoxville and was re-elected in 2007 with 87 percent of the vote. As mayor, he balanced eight consecutive city budgets, tripled the Rainy Day Fund, focused city government on providing services in an efficient manner, helped found key education initiatives, and recruited and retained thousands of jobs to Knoxville.
He and his wife, Crissy, a native of Memphis, have been married for 35 years and are blessed with three children and six grandchildren. For more than three decades they have been members of Cedar Springs Presbyterian Church (EPC) in Knoxville where Bill serves as an elder.