Tag Archives: Phil Bredesen

Bredesen commissioners’ company gets $100M investment

Silicon Ranch, the solar energy venture led by ex-officials in former Gov. Phil Bredesen’s administration, has landed another nine-figure investment, according to the Nashville Business Journal.

The Nashville-based firm has secured a $100 million equity investment from Partners Group, a Swiss private equity firm that manages an investment portfolio of more than $50 billion, according to a news release Wednesday.

Founded in 2011 by Matt Kisber and Reagan Farr, Silicon Ranch owns, operates and develops solar energy plants in Tennessee, Georgia, Arkansas and Mississippi. The company recently completed its first project in Colorado and Wednesday broke ground on a $100 million facility in Mississippi.

In the release, Kisber and Farr said the investment from Partners Group will help fuel additional growth for the company across the U.S. during the next 18 months.

“[Partners Group] are absolutely the right partner to help us accelerate our business model of developing to own all of our projects for the long-term,” Kisber, Silicon Ranch’s president and CEO, said in the release.

Added Farr, the firm’s CFO: “The solar industry in the U.S. is in the midst of rapid, dynamic expansion, and Silicon Ranch is well-positioned to a play a meaningful role in its development. Adding Partners Group as a business partner further enhances our ability to offer full-service renewable energy solutions to our diverse customer base across the country.”

Note: Kisber, a former state representative, was state finance commissioner under Bredesen. Farr was state revenue commissioner. Bredesen was an early investor in the company.

O’Malley campaigns in TN, gets a donation from Bredesen

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley brought his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination to Tennessee and noted he got a campaign contribution from former Gov. Phil Bredesen, reports The Tennessean.

“In Tennessee … I think I can compete and win, and compete and win in the general election,” the former Maryland governor said to reporters Thursday night at a Nashville hotel.

…“I think the overarching issue in this race is that 70 percent of us are working harder than we ever have,” he said. “But we aren’t earning anything more than we did 12 years ago and some us are making less.

“That’s not the way the American dream is supposed to work.”

In Tennessee, he’s earned support from at least one notable Tennessean. Former Gov. Phil Bredesen has contributed to his campaign, O’Malley said.

“Right off the bat,” he said.

O’Malley said he is campaigning off of a number of key issues, including debt free college, immigration reform, clean energy, criminal justice reform and the expansion of Social Security.

He’s also campaigned for a decrease in nationwide gun violence, and his Maryland gun safety legislation targeted at combat assault weapons and smaller ammunition clips created plenty of political finger-pointing as to why Beretta USA moved its headquarters to Gallatin.

But Maryland lost the plant due to Tennessee’s corporate incentives, O’Malley said. The Beacon Center of Tennessee, a conservative think tank, has criticized the state for corporate handouts.

“Beretta was one of those, with the NRA, that lobbied hard against (the legislation),” he said. “It was their choice to take the very generous corporate welfare being offered in Tennessee.

“If I had to do it over again, I would do same thing.”

Sunday column: Like governors before him, Haslam takes the helm for a hazardous voyage

As his predecessor might say, Gov. Bill Haslam is embarking on a hazardous voyage into legislative waters this week after four years of smooth sailing. Shipwreck is a real possibility.

It’s somewhat curious that former Gov. Phil Bredesen, famous for nautical analogies in his speeches on steering the Tennessee “ship of state” with a legislator crew, faced his greatest controversy in an eight-year reign in trying to slash enrollment in TennCare, the state’s name for Medicaid, over objections from fellow Democrats, then in the majority at the Legislature, and with the support of most minority Republicans.

Now we have Haslam trying to expand Medicaid/TennCare over the objections of many members of his own party – Republicans, who now enjoy Supermajority status — while backed by most of the minority Democrats. (One hears there may be an exception or two there.)

So the past and present governors had different directions. Yet Haslam has praised Bredesen for his actions at the time, given the circumstances he faced, and Bredesen backs expansion today, given the circumstances created by the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare.

Bredesen ultimately prevailed in cutting about 170,000 people from TennCare enrollment after considerable controversy in courtrooms as well as in Legislatorland. Haslam’s success in adding about 280,000 — an estimate increased by about 80,000 last week — will be decided in a special legislative session that begins Monday.
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Bredesen: Southern Democrats need a ‘better product,’ using the ‘Wal-Mart test’

Excerpt from a Politico article on Southern Democrats:
Phil Bredesen, the Democratic governor of Tennessee from 2003 to 2011, has a message for a party that may, after Saturday’s runoff in Louisiana, have no senators from the Deep South: “I come out of the business world. If you have a product that’s not working, you don’t say, ‘Our customers are lazy’ or ‘Our customers don’t know what’s best for them.’ The ones that are successful say, ‘I need a better product.’”

Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu, a tenacious survivor, is fighting against enormous odds to hold onto her seat in this weekend’s election, but among her fellow party members, the post-mortems have already begun. Still, interviews with more than a dozen elected Democratic officials, strategists and academics found some optimism that the party can find at least selective success across the South in the not-distant future, particularly in states with growing minority populations like North Carolina and Georgia.

But it will take more than demographics to rescue the once-dominant model of the centrist Southern Democrat, they agree: The party needs to spend less time on divisive social issues and more on middle-class economic concerns, and then hope that Barack Obama’s departure from the White House prompts skeptical white voters to give them a second look.

“We’re just trotting out the same old nostrums: a little class warfare here and a nod to labor unions there and more money for X, Y and Z programs,” said Bredesen. “People are looking for a vision.”

Most believe that vision will be found in pocketbook issues, particularly related to the middle class, including a revival of the more populist economic message that resonated during the first half of the 20th century. Support for student loans, Medicare and Medicaid, equal pay for equal work – all can be framed in a way that strengthens and bolsters the working class, Democrats say.

…Even as Democrats were getting swamped, Arkansas overwhelmingly passed a minimum wage hike. Polling shows heavy support in the region for expanding Medicaid, reforming student loans and giving women equal pay for equal work.

Former Mississippi Gov. Ronnie Musgrove said all those things are good, but Democrats need a broader, more comprehensive plan. “To me, the sweet-tea-and-grits crowd still likes our economic issues,” said Musgrove, who served from 2000 to 2004 and narrowly lost a 2008 Senate race. “Democrats need an economic message based on opportunity: education, job training, infrastructure rebuilding, and even health care – where voters know that Democrats can make a difference in these issues.”

Bredesen, the former Tennessee governor, put it more bluntly. “We’re known for gay rights, immigration, climate change and an unpopular health plan,” he said. “I think we’re on the right side on all those issues, but it’s not what people are looking for right now from government.

“I’ll be honest: it passes my understanding how particularly the past few years we’ve ignored the economic pain that’s been created in this country,” he added.

Bredesen said Democrats who are thinking about running for office need to adopt what he calls “the Walmart test.”

“When you think about what your platform is going to be, go to the nearest Walmart and stop someone in the aisle and tell them what you’re going to run on,” he said. “If that engages them and they’re interested, then you have a plan.”

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/12/mary-landrieu-democrats-113358.html#ixzz3L7TQHYn0

Haslam,Bredesen fret about low voter turnout impacting Amendment 2

State officials are concerned about a potential low voter turnout in the Nov. 4 general election and its impact on the four proposed state constitutional amendments on the ballot, reports the Commercial Appeal.

Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett, whose office oversees elections statewide, and state Election Coordinator Mark Goins said turnout on Wednesday, the first day of early voting, was light across most of the state.

Gov. Bill Haslam and former Gov. Phil Bredesen said Wednesday they’re concerned about the effect a low turnout will have on the amendments. The two conducted a forum at Lipscomb University in support of Amendment 2, which will control how state appellate court judges are appointed.

“It’s a non-presidential (election) year and there’s not a lot of heat being generated in many of the political battles,” Haslam said. “I’m concerned a lot of people will get to the amendments and just say, ‘I’m not sure I understand all that,’ and just skip it.

“Not voting is a no vote. I’m actually concerned, as an interested political person, that turnout might be really low, and it’s one of the reasons we’re doing what we’re doing.”
…Bredesen said that while he believes Amendment 2 will win a majority, he’s concerned by the number of people who approach him and ask, “‘Now, that Amendment 2 that you talk about, am I supposed to be for that or against it?’ And these are intelligent, informed people who watch the news or read the newspaper.

“That’s the kind of stuff that scares you, because people will either do the wrong thing, or say ‘I don’t understand this’ and pass on to the next one. It’s very difficult to explain the nuances of this to somebody.”

First ‘Yes on 2’ TV ad features Bredesen, Haslam

News release from Vote Yes on 2 campaign committee:
NASHVILLE, Tenn.– The Vote Yes on 2 campaign today unveiled its first television spot that will begin running across the state next week in support of Amendment 2.

Amendment 2 is the judicial selection amendment to the state constitution that will strengthen the voice of the voters in selecting appellate court judges in Tennessee.

The TV spot features Governor Bill Haslam and former Governor Phil Bredesen, who are co-chairs of the Vote YES on 2 campaign, as well as an array of top leaders from respected organizations from across the state, encouraging Tennesseans to Vote YES on 2.

Campaign spokesman John Crisp said the new TV spot will begin airing on broadcast stations and cable TV outlets on Monday, October 13.

“We are pleased that Amendment 2 has earned such broad and bipartisan support from so many top leaders and respected organizations who want fair and impartial judges held accountable to the people of Tennessee,” Crisp said. “Now we look forward to the next three weeks as voters learn more about why passing Amendment 2 is so important to the future our of state.”

Crisp said a companion radio spot, featuring former U.S. Senator Fred Thompson, another campaign co-chair, will also begin running across the state next week.

Note: Script is below
A script of the new Vote YES on 2 TV spot follows:
Vote YES on 2 — TV :30
Title: “Everyone””

“Tennesseans from across the state are voting YES on Amendment 2”
(Laura Frost, Past President, Sumner County Bar Association)

“Because YES on 2 protects our right to vote for judges”
(Lacy Upchurch, President, Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation)

“And YES on 2 adds new accountability”
(Sheriff Bill Holt, President, Tennessee Sheriffs’ Association)

“So we have fair and impartial judges”
(Madeleine Taylor, Executive Director, NAACP, Memphis Branch)

“Held accountable to the people of Tennessee”
(Gov. Phil Bredesen)”

“It’s your voice. Your vote on judges.”
(Gov. Bill Haslam)

“Together, we can move Tennessee forward.”
(Gov. Bredesen)

“By voting YES on Amendment 2.”
(Gov. Haslam)



Bredesen, Haslam jointly pitch Amendment 2 passage

Gov. Bill Haslam and his predecessor, former Gov. Phil Bredesen, made a joint pitch for passage of Amendment 2 at Knoxville Wednesday. An excerpt from the News Sentinel’s report:

Doug Blaze, dean of UT’s College of Law, asked the two men questions and then read questions from the audience. In response to one that asked if the governor’s role would be lessened by having the Legislature confirm appointees, Bredesen said: “It’s true. I wish it wasn’t. But this is still better (than a direct election).”

Bredesen, a Democrat, several times compared Tennessee’s system of appointing and electing judges to that of the U.S. Supreme Court, in which members are chosen by the president and confirmed by the Senate for life. He said if the nine justices had to face elections after making controversial or courageous decisions, the quality of decisions would suffer and “be colored by political realities.”

“Don’t wish that on Tennessee,” he said.

Both men agreed that average voters generally do not come in contact with members of the appellate courts, although this year three state Supreme Court justices successfully campaigned against strong opposition to keep their jobs. The three had been appointed by Bredesen.

Haslam, a Republican up for re-election in November, said rather disparate groups are supporting Amendment 2 such as labor, chambers of commerce, and the Beacon Center of Tennessee, a politically conservative think tank.

“They have skin in the game,” he said.

Haslam stressed what he considers the political accountability of the amendment: the governor, who is elected, makes the appointments; the Legislature, which also is elected, confirms; and voters get a chance to say whether judges remain in office in a retention election.

Fred Thompson, Phil Bredesen join to back ‘Yes on 2″ in an op-ed piece

Former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen and former Republican U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson have done a joint op-ed piece supporting a state constitutional amendment on judicial selection, coordinated with the launching of a public relations campaign for passage called “Yes on 2.” Here’s an excerpt from the article, as it appeared in The Tennessean.

While we come from different professional backgrounds and have represented different political parties through the years, one thing that clearly unites us is our love for Tennessee.

That is why we have come together to join Gov. Haslam as the co-chairs of the new Vote YES on 2 campaign to pass the Judicial Selection Amendment to Tennessee’s Constitution this fall.

Passing Amendment #2 will not only bring clarity and certainty to the way Tennesseans choose our Supreme Court justices and other appellate judges, but it also will add new accountability and a stronger voice for Tennessee voters in the selection process.

…Passing Amendment #2 will put an end to the questions and will help ensure we get the most qualified, diverse, fair and impartial judges that Tennesseans want and deserve.

Amendment #2 preserves the best parts of the current system while making it even better by adding new checks and balances and strengthening the voice of Tennesseans in the process.

It continues to trust our governor to appoint the most qualified persons as appellate court judges, while giving our elected representatives in the legislature the right to confirm or reject the governor’s appointments.

Most important, Amendment #2 protects the right of Tennesseans to vote to reject or retain the judges at the end of their respective terms.

Amendment #2 gives Tennesseans three powerful votes in the selection of our appellate judges:

• By voting for the governor, who will make the appointments.

• By voting for our state senators and representatives, who will confirm or reject the appointments.

• By voting to keep or fire the judges at the end of their respective terms.

By passing Amendment #2, the voice of the people will clearly be heard.

Haslam following in Bredesen’s footsteps with ‘Tennessee Promise’ in re-election year

By Erik Schelzig, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A popular Tennessee governor running for re-election wants to create a free community college program. Sound familiar?

Republican Gov. Bill Haslam, who is up for a second term this fall, proposed the change in his State of the State on Monday night. His Democratic predecessor, Phil Bredesen, made a similar pitch en route to sweeping all 95 counties in 2006.

Haslam’s “Tennessee Promise” proposal would cover a full ride at two-year schools for any high school graduate, at a cost of $34 million per year. That’s $9 million more than Bredesen’s proposal, which would have required the equivalent of a C average to qualify for free tuition.

Despite his landslide win, Bredesen’s proposal never gained much traction in the Legislature. A scaled-back version was included into a larger lottery scholarship bill that passed the House, but ultimately failed in the Republican-controlled Senate in 2007.

Bredesen said at the time that his tuition proposal was overshadowed by all the attention paid to a 42-cent (cigarette) tax increase that narrowly passed the Legislature that year.

He was unsuccessful in reviving the tuition proposal over the following three years of his time in office, despite his belief that 2-year college represents a “magic ingredient” for improving Tennesseans’ access to higher education.
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Bredesen, Slatery back judicial selection amendment; Haslam plans ‘Yes on 2’ campaign

Former Gov. Phil Bredesen and Herbert Slatery, counsel to Gov. Bill Haslam, called on Nashville’s business community Wednesday to actively support a proposed amendment to Tennessee’s Constitution regarding the selection of appellate judges, according to the Nashville Post.

The proposed amendment seeks to change the current “Tennessee Plan,” in which a committee presents a panel of candidates to the governor for his appointment. The proposed “Modified Federal Plan” would do away with the committee, leave appointments solely in the governor’s hands to be confirmed or denied by the legislature. In both plans, the public would vote every eight years to retain the appointees.

Opponents of the Tennessee Plan have claimed the retention election violates the state Constitution, and the Tennessee General Assembly terminated the plan under the Sunset Law last June. Haslam resurrected the system until the public could vote on the new amendment — which passed through the state legislature last year — in the upcoming November general election.

At a Tennessee Business Roundtable gathering Wednesday, Bredesen and Slatery painted a picture of the amendment’s alternative — politicized and paid-for judicial elections that would undermine the legitimacy of legal decisions.

“What’s really at stake here is something fundamental to our third branch of government,” Slatery said. “Whether our judges on the highest courts are validly appointed, whether they lawfully hold that position. I think this is the most serious judicial issue in my lifetime.”

…Bredesen called appellate elections a “disaster” and said judges would be voted in through special-interest campaigns.

“The bottom line is that electing judges is largely about social conservatism,” Bredesen said. “Putting judges in place that will support socially conservative issues,” which, he said, could swing away from the business community’s interests.

Slatery announced that Haslam’s administration intends to run a public campaign on the issue. Tentatively called “Vote Yes on 2,” the campaign will be led by Steven Susano, son of Knoxville Court of Appeals judge Charles Susano.