Bill Haslam, the Sammons Enterprises Fellow at the Bush Institute, is the former governor of the State of Tennessee. He was first elected in 2010 and was re-elected in 2014 with the largest victory in modern Tennessee history.
Under his leadership, Tennessee became recognized as a national leader in education, economic development, efficient and effective government, and fiscal strength.
During his two terms as governor, Tennessee students were the fastest improving in the country in academic achievement, and high school graduation rates reached an all-time high. Tennessee became the first state in the nation to offer high school graduates and adults two years of community or technical college free of mandatory tuition and fees as part of the governor’s Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect programs.
Approximately 450,000 private sector jobs were created during his time in office, and Tennessee’s unemployment rate reached the lowest level recorded in state history.
Haslam proposed and implemented significant legislative initiatives, including working with the Tennessee General Assembly to simultaneously pass the largest tax cut in Tennessee history and improve the state’s transportation infrastructure. His administration right-sized state government while building a customer-centric approach, cut more than $575 million in recurring spending, balanced the budget every year, more than tripled the state’s savings account, and helped the state earn a triple AAA bond rating.
In 2003, Haslam ran successfully for mayor of Knoxville and was overwhelmingly re-elected in 2007. 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.
Since leaving office, Haslam has returned to the private sector and continues to be engaged on many local and national issues. He is currently the Chair of the Wilson Center and serves on the National Board of Directors for Teach for America, and Young Life Board.
Haslam and his wife, Crissy, have been married for 40 years and are blessed with three children and ten grandchildren.