Haslam challenges freshmen lawmakers to seek the 'right answer'

Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at 1:31pm

Gov. Bill Haslam encouraged the legislature’s large class of freshman lawmakers to resist falling back on what may be the politically right answer to public policy problems.

In a freshman orientation for the state House of Representatives’ 22 first-time state lawmakers Tuesday, Haslam said, “There’s a way to be about good government versus a way to always be about politics.

“There are times when you have to come up with a political answer. That’s just the reality,” the governor said. “But I really hope that we’re always driven by getting to the right answer.”

The governor admitted the “right” answer will likely look different to each member of the diverse class of legislators elected earlier this month to begin serving in earnest once the General Assembly convenes Jan. 8, 2013.

The election gave Republicans sweeping two-thirds political majorities in both chambers, allowing them to decide any legislation, approve rules or cut off debate without Democratic votes.

Haslam said lawmakers should familiarize themselves with the state budget and how spending plans work and drive policy decisions, warning that plans to cut taxes but increase spending on a project won’t balance out.

Meanwhile, wading through policy issues is tougher than it seems, offered Haslam, who oftentimes finds himself on the fence before announcing what direction he wants to take.

“Once you get here, things tend to be a lot less clear than maybe they were before,” he said. “I’m a person of conviction. I really am. I’m not saying that we should just be somewhere in the mushy middle and everybody’s got a great point. But we do have to realize in every discussion that the other fella might be right.”

6 Comments on this post:

By: pswindle on 11/27/12 at 3:49

Haslam has no power. All he does is sign the bills when they reach his desk. He has siad that he would not push a certain policy, but Beth or Ramseyy would and he would sign it with a smile.

By: donsan on 11/27/12 at 5:48

I would challenge the new lawmakers to be honest and keep the people in mind when they do anything.

By: pswindle on 11/28/12 at 7:15

What is the right answer, Governor? Could it be YES SIR, Governor? Could it be, whatever you, Beth and Ramsy want done, sir?

By: govskeptic on 11/29/12 at 7:16


You always point out the Democratic view with just as much clarity as the Minority
leaders in short and foolish style. These new lawmakers have a portion of the
population to serve that doesn't necessarily live in an urban area with the same
priorities as that of the National Party, nor it's left of center leadership such as
Haslam and Alexander. The voters selected them, not a judge nor Governor.

By: Badbob on 11/29/12 at 8:31

It will be a terrible time to be a woman in Tennessee. It will be a terrible time to have a child in public schools. This state will suffer for generations after they get done giving the state to the wealthy as Ramsey has already announced.

By: Rocket99 on 11/29/12 at 9:08

The right answer is not what Haslam, Harwell or Ramsey say it is. The right answer is most definately not what Faux News and all of it's idiots say it is. The right answer is not what the preacher says it is in church on Sunday.

The right answer is what's best for the citizens in Tennessee, not just the wealthy, but the common, everyday, hard working person.

Ramsey is out of touch with reality. He needs to be replaced as speaker.

Harwell has a solid head on her shoulders. She does seem to be more for the people than the deep pockets.

Haslam can't really relate to the average Tennessee citizen because of his family's empire. He's also too busy paying back political favors. The T3 Project he's pushing needs to be examined thoroughly. Someone is getting big bucks out of it at the expense of hard working employees.

The Republican party needs to get back to its roots and quit letting the religous right run the show. Fiscally conservative is what a true Republican is supposed to be. Not a Bible thumping idiot who thinks that God should be put in all parts of government while silencing all others who disagree religously.

At one time, the Republican party was the Party of the People. It's now the Party of the crazy so called Christians and corporations.

Currently, the Democratic party is the one who is trying to protect the interests of the everyday person.