In response to Joe Sullivan's rant (void of city charter basis for the accusations) against the Wamp campaign's charges of impropriety toward financing tactics used by our Mayor to develop downtown... well... I say "whatever it takes!" to move Knoxville's real downtown forward. ["Zach Wamp is Reprehensible," Insights, June 10, 20010] Good for the Haslam family and use of Pilot Oil fortune, assuming that no law nor charter rule was broken!
I do like Mayor Bill a lot as a person. He's the most wealthy, influential, and productive Mayor that Knoxville has ever had and I hope we can keep him here focused on our hometown. He is the only one who has and will "champion" the major downtown, public/private projects he and his team have initiated. Mayor Bill is also the most qualified to make sure that the next unknown Mayor funds and fulfills the tremendous development yet to be completed past his term in office. Plans such as the stagnant 20-year South Knoxville waterfront, upcoming Cumberland Avenue, progressing Central Avenue, eventual Magnolia Avenue, and the battered Ten-Year [Plan to End] Chronic Homelessness solutions—plus anything, I mean anything, positive to connect the Old City to downtown would be nice. That has been half of my reply to any friend asking the "Why Wamp for governor?" question, which addresses Knoxville's status-quo risks returning without an effective Haslam-family champion like Mayor Bill here and in focus.
Most of all, my choice for governor is inspired and motivated by proven results for a large swath of Tennessee and even friendly corners of neighboring states. Ask any member of the Tennessee Valley Corridor which elected official has delivered positive economic, technological, and entrepreneurial benefits to our entire region—including many who create global solutions in Oak Ridge, but most of those members live right here in Knox County. Zach Wamp has that proven track record over many years, as he and Akins-Crisp worked hard to gather and partner many regional business leaders in the right places at the right times every year for 15 years.
Truth be told, neither Republican has the self-made, self-sufficient business chops and history like our current Democrat in the gov's mansion. However, Zach had his own small business and, as a member of Congress, has strategized with many here, organized a regional organization here, and sold Tennessee like no other in Congress for 15 years... just ask the latest, major Tennessee investor and CEO, the man from VW North America. As for Mayor Bill's only non-family business venture, Saks Interactive... well, Google it and learn more. Funny how that management experience misses the campaign bio, ads, and editorials. However, the larger Haslam family has a proven track-record of helping move our hometown past the status quo and into a much better future, which is exactly where many of us here would like to see their considerable financial power and spiritual wealth concentrated and invested for these most critical years and decades to come.
As for the right man for governor, these are tough days ahead in Tennessee with unfunded mandates, bloated budget challenges, special interests, and teacher union fights coming for state leaders. Thus, I'm more concerned about a fighting passion to take on the entrenched status quo in Nashville and up in D.C. than I am "civility." Zach is a proven fighter for Tennessee and has delivered proven results in regional jobs, investments, and economic development as 1 of 535 legislators in our nation's capitol. What kind of influence will he offer as one of 50 governors, with a majority of those being fellow Republicans? Proven, direct job creation results, passion, and a fighting spirit... those are the key factors that determined our family's support for our next governor, in addition to our needs right here in Knoxville for years to come. If you watched the Shelby County debate on PBS, you know who can make the strongest case for Tennessee's needs and wants.
It's not about the nice guy we should like better. The GOP decision is all about who will take on all issues with passion, national and international relationships, and a relentless will to fight for what is right for all 95 counties in Tennessee... plus, what is best for our hometown's momentum.