published Friday, November 5th, 2010

Haslam says city has edge in job creation

by Dan Whisenhunt
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    Staff Photo by Tim Barber/Chattanooga Times Free Press Governor-elect Bill Haslam answers questions from the media in the lobby of the Chattanooga Choo Choo before meeting with area mayors for lunch on Thursday.

Gov.-elect Bill Haslam said the Chattanooga area's recent success landing major industries gives it a leg up in the push for new jobs.

"Obviously we're building on some success here, and that's a lot easier to do than starting from scratch," said Haslam, who was in Chattanooga on Thursday.

Haslam met Thursday with local elected leaders at the Chattanooga Choo Choo to discuss job creation.

In the past two years, two $1 billion factories have come to the area -- Volkswagen in Chattanooga and Wacker Chemical in Bradley County.

Hamilton County Mayor Claude Ramsey said he hopes Haslam can help the county with jobs, education and infrastructure.

"Our relationship is extremely important," Ramsey said. "I hope we'll have a good relationship with Gov. Haslam."

Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield said he's looking forward to working with the new governor to "keep the progressive trend we've been enjoying" moving forward.

He said Haslam, who is mayor of Knoxville, "knows what we deal with every day."

In a meeting with reporters beforehand, however, Haslam offered few specifics about his plans for job creation, the upcoming budget or who would serve on his transition team and in his Cabinet.

"We're not ready to name a transition team at all," Haslam said. "We're a good deal of time away from naming a Cabinet. We want to get it right. I've made good hires and bad hires before in my life; it takes a lot longer to fix a bad hire."

He said he is considering people from Hamilton County but did not offer any names.

Haslam said he is beginning the process of working with state departments to prepare the upcoming budget, but again, didn't want to talk about areas he might cut.

"It's too early to talk about that," Haslam said. "I've said from when I first started running, there's an 800-pound gorilla waiting on the next governor -- a very difficult budget -- and that hasn't changed."

He said the budget would focus on "key things facing the state" such as jobs and education.

about Dan Whisenhunt...

Dan Whisenhunt covers Hamilton County government for the Times Free Press. A native of Mobile, Ala., Dan earned a degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Alabama. He won first place for best in-depth news coverage in the 2010 Alabama Press Association contest; the FOI-First Amendment Award in the 2007 Alabama Press Association contest; first place for best public service story in the Alabama AP Managing Editors contest in 2009 for economic coverage; and ...

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Tax_Payer said...

"Haslam met Thursday with local elected leaders at the Chattanooga Choo Choo to discuss 'job creation."

Perhaps job should have been written plural, for it concerns me dearly that one job may be created.

November 5, 2010 at 11:18 a.m.
GARRS said...

Not going to start a fight with neighboring Governers. But I have to admit, with the abundant growth of Auto Industries, he's aware of what horn to blow. I would not put much faith into any politician back patting themselves for this influx. Thank your locality mongers that gave incentives LIKE Free tax status, low cost utilities, low cost construction and properties, etc.

You can also thank them when your utilities INCREASE, whether you get one of the good jobs or not.

You MIGHT also see this drastic change as another blow to unionized labor. I have to agree, the days of the union are over, but I would like to see a more agressive military entity take its place that will punish things like atwill hiring, DOL centers that breach the public trust, and also punish political leaders for using their office to aid companies where they are invested.

November 5, 2010 at 3:43 p.m.
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