Governor Bill Haslam discusses his accomplishments, regrets

Governor Bill Haslam discusses his accomplishments, regrets

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam is ending his eight-year term with solid approval numbers.

In December, a Vanderbilt poll had 61 percent of Tennesseans approving of his job as governor.

“I can’t tell you how encouraged I’ve been so many times by the heart and spirit that’s Memphis," said Haslam.

After eight years, Haslam is looking back to Memphis, the state of Tennessee and beyond.

“We became the fastest improving state in the country in education results a lot of that with some real improvement in West Tennessee,” said Haslam.

Haslam reflected on accomplishments like bringing nearly a half-million jobs to the state while improving education for all.

“Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect, which means everybody in Tennessee, if you don’t have a college degree you can go to college for two years free. Community college or technical school, that’s a big deal,” said Haslam.

Haslam admitted he regrets not being able to fulfill the Memphis Regional Megasite,

"We have what we call the Memphis Regional Megasite. Not being able to land somebody there I think is one [regret] but I still think it is a wonderful asset for the state. The Lee administration will focus on it,” said Haslam.

Haslam said he is in touch with his successor, Bill Lee, constantly, answering questions about what to expect.

"Being governor in some ways you are the CEO it's a somewhat different situation you need to learn to work within that you have that idea persuade all those points that you need," said Haslam.

Haslam has success in that respect, raising the gas tax in 2017 to pay for road and bridge repairs and manufacturing improvements. However, he failed to gain support for Insure Tennessee, a Medicaid expansion plan.

"I think what Tennessee wants to do is to try to find a way to cover some of those folks but not have the cost get out of control," said Haslam.

When asked about his next move, Haslam said he plans to relax for a bit.

“I was mayor for seven years, governor for eight years. We’re going to take a little bit of a step back, take a little bit of a vacation when we finish and think and pray about it,” said Haslam.

To see the first part of the interview, click here.

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