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Haslam Strikes Gubernatorial Tone in Cookeville Debate

Press Release

Location: Cookeville, TN

Responds to Petty Attacks from Untested Opponent

Had it been a boxing match, Bill Haslam would have drawn a unanimous decision while his opponent wandered around the ring looking lost.

Haslam, the Knoxville Mayor and Republican gubernatorial nominee, parried more than 20 questions with specific responses and gubernatorial tone while his opponent apparently searching for the camera relied on petty attacks on a national business headquartered in Tennessee.

The audience of 400 -- asked to hold their applause -- just could not resist applauding on Haslam's answers.

- Conservation: "Rural economic development does have to be a priority…We don't want to do that at the expense of our landscape. We can bring jobs to our rural areas and protect the beauty that makes us call it home."

- Support for Scientific Research: "When you go out to recruit jobs you begin with what are the assets you have…What I'm encouraged to see from our higher institutions is they understand their role in workforce development…Each of them is reaching out to form partnerships that work."

- Race to the Top: "Use [TVAAS] to find where teacher performance is working and where it's not…If we're going to move forward we're going to have to use data to see what's working and what's not in schools."

- Support for Farmers: "Here's why farming is important: it feeds us; it's a large source of jobs and farmers keep Tennessee looking the way it does…You have my commitment they'll remain a primary contributor to Tennessee."

- Economic Development: "Economic development is all about having a specific strategy…to succeed you need a specific strategy for how you're going to do that. One of those things is target likely success stories, find the models that are working here and replicate them."

"Crissy and I are excited to get back out on the trail and push toward Oct. 13 and early voting and on through Election Day on Nov. 2," Haslam said. "We'll continue to take our message of job creation, budget management and strengthening education to Tennesseans all over the state," Haslam said.

Mayor Haslam is the two-term Republican Mayor of Knoxville, reelected in 2007 with 87 percent of the vote. A hardworking, conservative public servant, Haslam led Knoxville to become one of the top ten metropolitan areas for business and expansion, while reducing the city's debt, tripling the rainy day fund, reducing the number of city employees to the lowest amount in 15 years and bringing property taxes to the lowest rate in 50 years. An executive leader with a proven record of success, he helped grow his family's small business from 800 employees into one of Tennessee's largest companies with 14,000 employees.

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