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Bill Haslam: ‘The Most Important Republican Governor You Never Heard of’

Pollitico hails Gov. Bill Haslam as a model for Republican governors in a profile piece. Here’s an excerpt:
But while attracting scant national attention and eschewing the camera-friendly approach of most up-and-coming Republican governors, Bill Haslam has amassed one of the most extensive conservative governing records in the country.
He is, in short, the most important Republican governor you’ve never heard of. And as the National Governors Association gathers in Washington this week for its winter meeting, the national GOP may have something to learn from Tennessee.
Since his election in 2010, Haslam has overhauled the Tennessee civil service, stripped back teacher tenure, cut taxes, enacted tort reform and expanded charter schools. Add up the various items on his agenda, and it looks a lot like a version of the pro-growth platform Washington Republicans have been grasping for.
Haslam has done all that during his first term without triggering the kind of large-scale backlash that other aggressive Republican governors have encountered. There aren’t tens of thousands of protesters, or even one irate MSNBC host, camped outside Haslam’s window.
The 54-year-old Haslam, who recorded a 68 percent approval rating last month, disavows any interest in national office. Yet to friends and allies, Haslam’s experience in Tennessee is at the very least a model for national Republicans groping around for ideas that appeal to the middle class
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Note: For a somewhat different perspective, see Jeff Woods’ commentary on the ‘insanly fawning profile.”