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William 'Bill' Edward Haslam
Birthdate: Aug. 23, 1958
Birth Place: Knoxville, TN, United States
Residence: Knoxville, TN
First Elected: 2010
Undergraduate: Emory University
Bill Haslam was born Knoxville, Tenn. He received a bachelor's degree from Emory University.
He is a former president of the family-founded Pilot Corp. chain of truck stops, one of the country's largest privately owned companies.
Haslam was elected Knoxville mayor in 2003.
He announced his bid to succeed term-limited Gov. Phil Bredesen in January 2009, a day after former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist announced he wouldn't seek the Republican nomination.
Haslam stressed his executive experience as mayor and as president of Pilot in the Republican primary campaign. He was the dominant fundraiser of the campaign and also contributed more than $1.5 million of his own money.
Haslam and his wife, Crissy, have three children.
Bill Haslam was elected Tennessee governor in 2010 by the largest margin for a non-incumbent in state history.
Haslam, a former Knoxville mayor and president of the family-owned Pilot Flying J chain of truck stops, survived a tumultuous three-way Republican nomination fight in which his opponents accused him of not being conservative enough.
His convincing win over Democrat Mike McWherter, the son of a popular former governor, and the election of a key ally as House speaker initially served to smooth some disagreements within the party.
Haslam has said he wants to be flexible and open to "work to get to the right answer, not just our own answer," through he has sometimes struggled to exert pressure on fellow Republican lawmakers to abandon bills he doesn't agree with.
In 2012, Haslam issued his first veto, which stopped a bill aimed at rescinding Vanderbilt University's nondiscrimination policies for religious groups on campus. Haslam said he disagreed with Vanderbilt's position, but argued that the state can't tell private intuitions what to do.
The move angered social conservatives, and illuminated Haslam's delicate balancing act among the various factions within his party.
The hire of a Muslim-American woman as a director of international programs for the state's economic development program drew complaints from several local Republican groups, and the Haslam administration ultimately released a statement to deny that it was involved in promoting a part of the Islamic code known as Shariah law.
"The promotion or advancement of religious ideology is an inappropriate role of state government that is unacceptable, and will not happen during this administration," Claude Ramsey, the governor's chief deputy, said in a letter to the chairman of the state Republican Party.
The governor has argued that too much attention has been paid to intra-party discord at the expense of major initiatives he has spearheaded, like trying to improve the state's education system.
Haslam was the dominant fundraiser in the governor's race, but was also relentlessly targeted by rivals Zach Wamp, a former congressman, and Ron Ramsey, the speaker of the state Senate, who both claimed Haslam would consider imposing a state income tax. He was also called weak on gun rights and was criticized for his refusal to disclose his earnings from Pilot.
Haslam's campaign said releasing his Pilot earnings would reveal personal information about the income of family members not running for office, and proprietary information about the company with annual revenues of more than $20 billion.
In 2012, Haslam's brother, Jimmy, agreed to purchase the NFL's Cleveland Browns for a reported $1 billion.
Source: Associated Press
113th Congress on Twitter
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