News release from governor’s office:
NASHVILLE – Gov. Bill Haslam today announced that Commissioner of Economic and Community Development Bill Hagerty will take a temporary leave of absence to volunteer as a member of the Romney/Ryan presidential readiness team in Washington, D.C.
Hagerty’s unpaid leave will run from Monday, September 17 through Tuesday, November 6. Despite the scheduled time away, he will be in Nashville October 18 and 19 to oversee the Governor’s Conference on Economic and Community Development.
The presidential readiness team is led by former Gov. Mike Leavitt of Utah. Hagerty served in a similar role for the 2008 presidential campaign of U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).
“Bill’s background makes him a logical choice to serve in this role,” Haslam said. “He will do a great job.”
Deputy to the Governor Claude Ramsey will assume oversight of the department during Hagerty’s leave of absence.
“Creating and growing Tennessee jobs is a top priority for our administration, and I appreciate Claude for his willingness to serve in this capacity in the upcoming weeks,” Haslam continued. “His experience will be an asset to the department as we continue to focus on new jobs in Tennessee.”
— Update Note: The Tennessee Democratic Party does not approve. Excerpt from a party news release: “Once again Hagerty and Haslam have said to the people of Tennessee that their economic future is less important than the economic future of the special interests, millionaires and billionaires who would benefit from the top-down policies of Romney economics,” said Chip Forrester, Chairman of the Tennessee Democratic Party.
Hagerty will return to the department on Wednesday, November 7.
Former presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty and Gov. Bill Haslam urged Knoxville residents on Friday to throw their support and their vote behind Mitt Romney in Tuesday’s Republican presidential primary.
From the News Sentinel report: “He (Romney) is the most capable, most knowledgeable and, importantly, most electable candidate on the Republican side,” said Pawlenty, a former Minnesota governor.
Pawlenty, Haslam and Bill Hagerty, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, spoke to about 150 people during a pro-Romney rally at the Turkey Creek Public Market.
Romney himself will court local voters on Sunday when he appears at West Hills Elementary School. Doors open at 4:30 p.m. for the event, and Romney will speak between 5:15 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., Haslam said.
…”President Obama would defeat handily the other presidential candidates,” Pawlenty said. “If we were going to interview for the job of president of the United States and we were to list the criteria the top of our list would be somebody that actually ran something before, somebody that actually led something before as an executive.” Hank Hayes has a report from Johnson City on a similar rally:
Gov. Bill Haslam and other leaders supporting Mitt Romney’s GOP presidential bid insisted Friday that Romney is making up lost ground against Republican rival Rick Santorum leading into Super Tuesday.
A newly unveiled amendment to a controversial bill that keeps permanently secret the names of business owners getting taxpayer cash and other incentives still allows the state to keep the owners’ names secret, reports Richard Locker. The bill, sought by Gov. Bill Haslam’s Economic Commissioner Bill Hagerty, is set for floor votes in both the House and Senate this morning. After the secrecy bill ran into stiff opposition from both Democrats and Republicans, Hagerty’s Department of Economic and Community Development drafted a “compromise” amendment released late Wednesday.
The amendment, which would replace the original bill, allows public release of the name of the company or business receiving the taxpayer money, as well as the amount received and the number of jobs to be created and the location.
But it does not allow release of the names of the owners, state Sen. Roy Herron, D-Dresden, said Wednesday night.
“ECD’s amendment does not require disclosure of ownership. This secret secrecy amendment implicitly does what the original bill did explicitly. It makes ownership of these companies secret,” Herron said.
In a Senate floor debate last week, Herron charged that allowing the state to keep secret the names of privately held businesses that receive state cash grants and various other incentives to locate or expand in Tennessee would deny taxpayers the right to know who’s getting their money and could lead to corruption.
From Georgiana Vines’ report on a Mitt Romney rally in Knoxville Monday evening: Tennessee Commissioner of Economic and Community Development Bill Hagerty, a key Romney adviser, acknowledged other candidates are vying for the Republican nomination but “it is important to put in the best person to stand up to Barack Obama.”
Hagerty said he and Romney had both started their careers at the same firm and that he has known the candidate for more than half his life.
He told a story about Romney being in a meeting when he determined his son, Tagg, had lost a water ski, over which he was moping. Romney left the meeting and went out in a boat for about 1½ hours until the ski was found, he said.
“He taught the value of perseverance,” he said.
Hagerty was asked what Romney’s chances are in the Feb. 28 Michigan primary and he described it as “tough.” Conservatives have embraced Rick Santorum, a former Pennsylvania senator, and the United Auto Workers are energized against Romney, he said.
“The polls are too close to call,” he said. He said Romney is expected to carry Arizona on the same day.
…Former Knoxville Mayor and U.S. Ambassador Victor Ashe and U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, R-Johnson City, also urged the crowd to get out and work hard for Romney. Ashe, who initially supported former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, who has now dropped out of the presidential race, said the Tennessee primary is a “real contest.”
“Make it a contest for the right person,” Ashe said.
Roe, a physician before being elected to Congress and an opponent of the federal health-care plan that passed, said he’s talked with Romney and he would sign a repeal of the plan. Romney would bring a “first-class” team to the White House, he said.
News release from Department of Economic and Community Development:
NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development announced today that Commissioner Bill Hagerty will lead ECD’s trade mission to China and South Korea April 15-21, 2012 that will focus on Tennessee’s medical device manufacturers and other health care companies.
Applications are available at tn.gov/ecd/tntrade/trademission, along with a video explaining the trade mission. The deadline for companies to apply is Feb. 1. The trade mission is part of the recently announced TNTrade, a new initiative designed to help boost exports by Tennessee’s small- and medium-sized businesses.
“Last year, Tennessee exported roughly $30 billion dollars in goods; however, fewer than two percent of all Tennessee companies are exporters,” Hagerty said. “This trade mission will allow participants to be introduced to potential distributors and customers in the rapidly growing Asian market and explore new sources of revenue.”
Hagerty will lead a group of approximately 10 medical device manufacturers and other health care companies on visits to Beijing and Shenzhen in China and Seoul, South Korea. Participants will attend meetings arranged by the U.S. Commercial Service as well as attend the China International Medical Equipment Fair, the largest exhibition of medical equipment and related products and services in the Asia-Pacific region.
Participants will be provided with lodging, ground and air transportation, interpreters and meetings during the trade mission. Companies selected to go on the trade mission must arrange and purchase their own airfare to and from Asia.
TNTrade is a statewide initiative intended to support Governor Haslam’s goal of making Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs. The program is funded through a U.S. Small Business Administration State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) grant.
News release from Department of Economic and Community Development:
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty today released the Regulatory Reform Report, an ECD-led review of federal and state rules and regulations impacting businesses. One of the key strategies of the governor’s Jobs4TN economic development plan was to conduct this review with the goal of identifying obstacles to investment.
“To reach our goal of becoming the No. 1 state in the Southeast for high quality jobs, we must always be focused on strengthening our attractive business climate to attract and grow Tennessee jobs,” Haslam said. “This regulatory review process was important to identify areas for improvement both through internal and external evaluations.”
In conducting the review, ECD surveyed Tennessee business leaders, advocacy groups and state departments to identify federal and state laws, regulations and processes that could have a negative impact on economic development and job creation in the state.
“I want to thank those who gave of their time and participated in the regulatory review process, including Tennessee businesses, local stakeholders and our fellow state government departments. Their cooperation and feedback were essential to producing the Regulatory Reform Report,” Hagerty said. “Identifying areas where there are opportunities for improvement is the first step in streamlining and modernizing our regulatory environment and better serving the people and businesses of our state.”
The report suggests a number of recommendations, which include:
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty announced key appointments today to the Tennessee Film Entertainment and Music Commission (TFEMC).
Bob Raines, who was most recently serving as interim executive director, is now the executive director. Music industry veteran Hank Adam Locklin will fill the newly created role of director of music and business development.
News release from governor’s office:
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty recently approved more than $23 million in Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) to assist with infrastructure improvements in Tennessee.
The pair announced recipients of the grants in East Tennessee today – West and Middle Tennessee grant recipients were announced earlier this month; a list of these recipients can be found here: http://news.tn.gov/node/8062.
“As we work to make Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs, the proper infrastructure must support existing and future businesses,” Haslam said. “I am pleased the state of Tennessee is able to partner with our local communities to make these projects a reality.”
The funds were allocated under a procedure authorized by the Tennessee General Assembly.
“Community development is essential in growing the economy and creating a business friendly environment,” Hagerty said. “CDBG grants allow communities to take the steps needed that will ultimately encourage existing businesses to expand and future companies to relocate and invest in Tennessee.”
Allocation of CDBG funds is based on priorities set at local levels where community needs are best known. The CDBG program is administered in Tennessee by the Department of Economic and Community Development.
Below is a list of communities who were awarded grants:
Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty did a Q&A session with the Tennessean. A couple of excerpts: On the results of ECD’s “top-to-bottom review:
“The result of that was a fundamental change in our organizational structure. We are now divided into nine distinct regions, each with a highly competent regional director and staff that is focused extensively on the needs of existing businesses in the state of Tennessee.
“The (department) staff itself has been reduced by 42 percent while the average salary of each employee in our department has increased by more than $10,000. We have a smaller department but a very highly functioning department, and that staff is highly focused on recruiting.
“We have four overseas offices and we have a business development team that is focused on recruitment of companies from outside the state. They are working on a global basis every day to bring new companies to the state.” On the search for regulations bothersome to business that should be changed, Hagerty said the big problem is at the federal level.
“There, our objective is to work closely with our congressional delegation to make sure those issues are aired in a constructive manner and identify businesses that may be willing to either testify before Congress in Washington or maybe field hearings here in Tennessee to underscore their issues and perhaps make a difference at the federal level.
“I don’t expect anything transformational at the state level, but I do suspect we’ll find opportunities for incremental improvement there. At the municipal level, I suspect we’ll find opportunities to share learning and best practices across the state.”
By Erik Schelzig, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Gov. Bill Haslam’s office confirmed Thursday that the state is in talks with General Motors to expand production at the automaker’s Tennessee plant.
The state’s economic development chief, Bill Hagerty, was in Detroit to meet with GM officials, as were mayors representing communities surrounding the Spring Hill plant that stopped assembling the Chevrolet Traverse in 2009.
“We’ve been having conversations with GM and local officials,” Haslam spokesman David Smith said in an email to The Associated Press. “We’ve heard from the company that the primary factor is a question of vehicle demand increasing rather than incentives.”
More than 2,000 workers were idled at the plant south of Nashville when production of the Traverse as shifted to Michigan. But it has continued to build engines, and GM last year announced a nearly $500 million investment to manufacture the next generation of the company’s Ecotec engine at the complex.