Haslam says he's more focused on job creation

Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Gov. Bill Haslam, right, addresses supporters at a gathering where Marshall County's senator, Bill Ketron, center, introduced Haslam. State Rep. Sheila Butt, left, was also traveling with the governor.

COLUMBIA -- Gov. Bill Haslam is focused on recruiting new businesses, helping what's here grow, and fostering an environment for more jobs, he said during an open event within a block of the Maury County Courthouse.

"We're really out now making Tennessee a great location for jobs," Haslam said while traveling with state Sen. Bill Ketron, who represents Marshall County. Jobs "is the big issue, obviously... We're working on our education system so we can compete with anybody in terms of having a workforce that's prepared.

"That's what my focus is on now, and it's going to be my focus every day so people can get a job," the governor said.

Haslam visited various businesses during a road trip on Thursday when he had some public appearances such as delivering a grant check in Spring Hill and speaking to a couple hundred people at the Copper Kettle restaurant on 7th Avenue, just off Columbia's square.

"Despite the rather sour economy right now," he said, "I'm encouraged by what we see."

His public remarks were not specific, but he was later asked about General Motors' plant.

"I had discussions about that today," Haslam said.

Paraphrasing the message he got from GM officials, the governor said, "'Overall, we need the country to start buying more cars each year.'"

He was also asked about Marshall County and replied that he and the Department of Economic and Community Development are working on regional plans that may help residents in several counties.

Subsequently, Haslam and TDECD Commissioner Bill Hagerty announced a business is moving from Alabama to Pulaski.

They joined representatives from Spears Coastline Plastic on Monday to announce the company's purchase of the New Tech Color Additives building in the Pulaski/Giles County Industrial Park.

Spears Coastline Plastic is a leading manufacturer of Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride (CPVC) pipe for fire protection, plumbing and industrial market applications and will be transferring its Ardmore, Ala.-based manufacturing facility to the Pulaski facility over the next few months, bringing 25 jobs to the region, with the intent to add 25 more within a five-year period.

Also Monday, Lewisburg Industrial Recruiter Greg Lowe endorsed a new approach to organizing classes to educate people for jobs planned by businesses.

Lowe also commented that while he remains an advocate for Lewisburg and Marshall County, he's accepted the concept that regional economic development improves neighboring counties.