On November 4, 2014, Bill Haslam was re-elected Tennessee’s governor 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.
In 2013, Haslam launched the Drive to 55 initiative to increase the number of Tennesseans with a postsecondary degree or credential to 55 percent by 2025. More Tennesseans started going to college and fewer needed remediation when they got there. First-time freshmen enrollment increased 30 percent at community colleges and 32 percent at technical colleges, and the college-going rate in Tennessee increased to a high of nearly 64 percent in 2017.
Under the Haslam administration, Tennessee students became the fastest improving in the country in academic achievement. High school graduation rates are now at an all-time high, and under the Drive to 55 initiative, the Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect programs were launched, making Tennessee the first state in the nation to offer high school graduates and adults two years of community or technical college free of tuition and mandatory fees.
During Governor Haslam’s time in office, approximately 450,000 net new private sector jobs were created in Tennessee and in 2018, Tennessee’s unemployment rate reached the lowest level in state history and has remained close to that record-low rate. Tennessee was ranked No.1 for advanced industry job growth, No. 1 for jobs created through foreign direct investment, and became a three-time winner of “State of the Year” for economic development by Business Facilities magazine.
The governor worked with the Tennessee General Assembly in 2017 to pass the largest tax cut in Tennessee history while delivering a safe, reliable, and debt-free transportation system. He and his administration cut more than $575 million in recurring spending, shrunk state government by 7 percent, balanced the budget every year, ensured Tennessee had the lowest debt in the country, and more than tripled the state’s savings account. For only the second time in state history, Tennessee was awarded a triple AAA bond rating.
In 2003, Haslam 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 thirty-seven years and are blessed with three children and nine grandchildren. For more than three decades they have been members of Cedar Springs Presbyterian Church (EPC) in Knoxville where Bill serves as an elder.