Andrea Conte Walkway Crisis Averted

Gov. Bill Haslam says he has “no problem” naming a sidewalk at the bottom of Capitol Hill after his predecessor’s wife despite red-lighting the move as costly last month, reports TNReport.
“It’ll happen. It’ll happen,” Haslam laughed when asked by reporters about the proposal Tuesday. “We’ll get that paid for, with state money.”
The Republican governor’s staff raised objections to the cost of naming the perimeter track of Bicentennial Capitol Mall — down the hill from the Capitol Building — after former first lady Andrea Conte, wife of Phil Bredesen. Former Democratic Speaker Jimmy Naifeh had brought forward the proposal.
…”Let me just say, that was one of those cases where we put a fiscal flag on anything that cost money,” Haslam told reporters after speaking to the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce. “Anything that cost us, we just said, ‘Hold it, that wasn’t in the initial budget so that will take some consideration.’ And that’s one of those.”
“Obviously, we have no problem honoring Andrea for the things she’s done, and it’s not a significant amount of money,” he said.

(Note: Naifeh says six former Bredesen staffers had told him they would put up $750 each to cover the estimated $6,000 cost to the state for signs bearing Conte’s name along the pathway. The speaker emeritus says he and Haslam talked after the “flag letter” was issued and Haslam said he didn’t know about it, but was sure the cost could be covered in routine Department of Environment and Conservation regular operations budget.)

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