Gov. Haslam: Encourage all to vote today

Published 9:33 am Tuesday, November 4, 2014


On the eve of the mid-term election, Gov. Bill Haslam spent Monday making campaign stops across the state, including one in the Tri-Cities.
Encouraging Tennesseans to vote and touting progress made in education and unemployment numbers, Haslam and his wife, Chrissy, attended a gathering of supporters at Tri-Cities Aviation in Blountville on Monday morning before moving on to other stops across the state.
“This is the start of a really long, but hopefully good campaign day,” Haslam said.
During his address to supporters, Haslam cited progress made during his administration to improve education.
“Tennessee now has TN Promise,” he said. “We are the only state in the country that if you graduate high school, we will pay for your first two years of college.”
More than 56,000 students have applied for the TN Promise scholarship money, according to Haslam.
“Let me put that in context for you,” he added. “There are only 62,000 seniors in the state,” he said. “The work those folks in the legislature did to make this happen is really important.”
The governor offered praise to the state legislature, not only for the scholarship program but for efforts to improve academic achievement test scores across the state as well. “Tennessee has one of the fastest growing educational improvement rates in the nation,” Haslam said, adding that while improvements are being made there is still “work to be done.”
Another area that will receive a continued focus, Haslam said, is economic development.
“Unemployment in the state is still too high, especially in some of the rural areas,” he said. While unemployment numbers have dropped significantly in the metro areas, Haslam said those numbers have been “stubborn” about declining in rural areas — areas he says he will put additional focus on bringing jobs to rural areas.
“Our biggest job growth this year has not been from new industries coming in to Tennessee, but from the expansion of existing industries,” Haslam said. “We will look at any way we can to help these existing industries grow.”
Several local and state officials were on hand during Monday’s campaign stop, including Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, State Sen. Rusty Crowe and State Rep. Timothy Hill. Haslam praised the work by the state legislature on helping get Tennessee through difficult economic times by making budget cuts and working to improve the state’s future.
“I think what you will see from this team is continuing to manage the state budget the way you manage your own,” Haslam said. “These folks are making hard but good decisions.”
Haslam made an impassioned plea to those in attendance to not only vote but to encourage others to vote. He cited reports from the state election commission that early voter turnout has been low this year.
“Get out and vote,” he said. “Vote in the right way so Tennessee can keep moving forward.”

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