If you have not had the privilege of meeting Governor Haslam, you may not appreciate how hard it is to say no to his requests.
When I was approached to accept the governor’s offer to serve as commissioner of this department, it took me no time to say yes to his offer to join the State of Tennessee. Without knowing the numerous details that this job opportunity entailed, it was an easy and instant yes!
I knew immediately that I had some big shoes to fill. One of my predecessors, former commissioner Bill Hagerty, was recently selected by the president to be the U.S. ambassador to Japan, and my immediate predecessor, Randy Boyd, is currently running to be elected the next governor of Tennessee. In other words, there was a lot pressure. Bill and Randy both did an incredible job of positioning Tennessee to compete on a global scale, while also focusing on our efforts within the state to invest in our rural and distressed areas to spread our success more evenly throughout Tennessee. As I’ve said since my first day on the job: I don’t want to change the direction of this department, I simply want to build upon the existing momentum that was created by Bill and Randy.