Under Governor Haslam’s results-driven, common sense leadership, Tennessee is recognized as a national leader in education, job creation and fiscal responsibility.
His commitment to education is making a difference. Tennessee is the fastest improving state in the country in academic achievement. He has launched the “Tennessee Promise” – the only program in the country to give every graduating high school senior a chance to earn a certificate or degree beyond high school free of charge and with a personal mentor.
Governor Haslam has focused on making Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs, and Tennessee currently holds the title of “State of the Year” for economic development.
Working with the General Assembly, he has balanced the budget every year, kept taxes low, ensured Tennessee has the lowest debt in the country, and nearly doubled the state’s savings account.
Thanks to his work to make state government more customer-focused, efficient and effective, Tennessee is ranked the third best managed state in the nation.
Born and raised in Knoxville, Bill was blessed with parents who instilled their strong faith and work ethic in their children. As a young man, he excelled in academics and sports and was a leader in student government. When he was 16 years old, the sudden, unexpected death of his mother marked a turning point in his young life. His family leaned on each other and on their faith to get through the tough days.
Bill entered Emory University in 1976, and on the first day of class, met Crissy, a young woman from Memphis who would later become his wife. During college, Bill was a volunteer leader for Young Life, a Christian ministry that reaches out to adolescents, and today he serves on the Young Life Board of Trustees.
After graduating from Emory with a degree in History, Bill and Crissy married and moved to Knoxville, where Bill managed his family’s chain of gas stations. While lots of politicians talk about creating jobs, Bill Haslam has actually done it. When he first went to work for the company, Pilot Corporation had 800 employees, and when he left, it had more than 14,000 employees in 39 states.
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, insisted that city government focus on providing services in an efficient manner, helped found key education initiatives, and recruited and retained thousands of jobs to Knoxville.
Bill and Crissy have been married for 34 years and are blessed with three children and four grandchildren. For more than three decades, they have been members of Cedar Springs Presbyterian Church (EPC) in Knoxville, where Bill serves as an elder.