Phil Bredesen

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Phil Bredesen
Governor Bredesen.jpg
48th Governor of Tennessee
In office
January 18, 2003 – January 15, 2011
Lieutenant John Wilder
Ron Ramsey
Preceded by Don Sundquist
Succeeded by Bill Haslam
66th Mayor of Nashville
In office
September 27, 1991 – September 24, 1999
Preceded by Bill Boner
Succeeded by Bill Purcell
Personal details
Born Philip Norman Bredesen Jr.
(1943-11-21) November 21, 1943 (age 74)
Oceanport, New Jersey, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Susan Cleaves (m. 1968–1974)
Andrea Conte (m. 1974)
Children 1
Education Harvard University (BA)
Signature
Website Campaign website

Philip Norman Bredesen Jr. (born November 21, 1943) is an American politician and businessman who served as the 48th Governor of Tennessee from 2003 to 2011. A member of the Democratic Party, he was first elected in 2002 with 50.6% of the vote, and was reelected in 2006 with 68.0%. He previously served as the 66th Mayor of Nashville from 1991 to 1999. Bredesen is the founder of the HealthAmerica Corporation, which he sold in 1986. Since 2011, he has been chair of a firm that develops and operates solar power stations.

On December 6, 2017, Bredesen announced he would run for Bob Corker's open seat in the United States Senate, as Corker is not seeking reelection in 2018.[1]

Early life and career[edit]

Bredesen was born in Oceanport, New Jersey. His parents divorced and his mother worked as a bank teller. During Bredesen's childhood, his grandmother, who sewed for a living, lived with the family. Bredesen grew up in Shortsville, New York, 30 miles from Rochester.[2] He attended Red Jacket Central Elementary and Secondary School in the adjoining village of Manchester.[3]

He received a scholarship to Harvard University, where he graduated with an undergraduate degree in physics.[4] In 1967, Bredesen moved to Lexington, Massachusetts, where he did classified work for Itek and received a draft deferment during the Vietnam War.[2]

In 1968, Bredesen worked for the campaign of Minnesota Senator Eugene McCarthy, who was seeking the Democratic presidential nomination.[2] Bredesen launched his first political campaign in 1969, when he ran for the Massachusetts State Senate. He was defeated by a popular incumbent Republican, Ronald MacKenzie.[2]

Bredesen joined pharmaceutical firm G.D. Searle & Company in 1971, and moved to London in 1973 to manage one of the company's divisions.[5] In 1974, he married Andrea Conte. In 1975, the family moved to Nashville, Tennessee, where Conte had been recruited by Hospital Corporation of America.[2] In Nashville, Bredesen founded HealthAmerica Corp., an insurance company.[6] He sold his controlling interest in HealthAmerica in 1986,[6] and because of the wealth he earned from the company, did not accept his gubernatorial salary.[7]

Mayor of Nashville[edit]

In 1987, Bredesen ran for mayor of Nashville. He finished second out of 10 candidates with 30% of the vote, behind only 5th District Congressman Bill Boner, who won 46%.[8] Since Boner fell short of the necessary threshold for an outright victory, he and Bredesen faced each other in a runoff. Boner won the runoff, 75,790 votes to 66,153,[9] largely by emphasizing that he was a Nashville native while Bredesen was a Northerner.[10]

In December 1987, Bredesen ran in the Democratic primary for the 5th District congressional seat left open by Boner's victory. He finished a distant second behind Bob Clement, son of former governor Frank G. Clement.[9]

In the years following that loss, Bredesen quietly established relationships with city officials and prepared for a second run. Nashville, meanwhile, struggled economically. In the 1991 mayoral race, Boner was dealing with a personal scandal, and declined to run.[11] Bredesen won the election, defeating Councilwoman Betty Nixon, 78,896 votes to 30,282.[9]

As mayor of Nashville, Bredesen added more than 440 new teachers, built 32 new schools and renovated 43 others. He also implemented a back-to-basics curriculum to teach students the fundamentals of learning.[6] Under the Bredesen Administration, the NFL's Houston Oilers (now Tennessee Titans) were brought to Nashville and furnished with a new stadium, Nissan Stadium; the NHL awarded Nashville its first of four new expansion franchises, the Nashville Predators; and Bridgestone Arena was built.[11] Bredesen also attempted to lure the NBA's Minnesota Timberwolves to Nashville, but was unsuccessful.[12] A new downtown library was built as a cornerstone of major improvements to the entire library system, the city's downtown entertainment district was renovated,[6] and two parks, Beaman Park and Shelby Bottoms, were established.[11]

Bredesen did not run for a third term in 1999. The Metro Charter had been amended in 1994 to limit city council members to two consecutive four-year terms, and was worded in such a way that it appeared to apply to mayors as well.[13] Although mayors had been permitted to serve a maximum of three consecutive terms since the formation of Metro Nashville in 1963, Bredesen did not make an issue of that.[citation needed]

Governor[edit]

Bredesen at the 2008 Governor's Luncheon

In 1994, Bredesen won the Democratic nomination for governor, capturing 53% of the vote in a primary that included more than a half-dozen candidates, among them Shelby County Mayor Bill Morris and state senator Steve Cohen.[9] In the November general election, he was defeated by the Republican nominee, 7th District Congressman Don Sundquist, 807,104 votes to 664,252.[9]

Bredesen ran for governor again in 2002. He easily won the Democratic nomination, capturing nearly 80% of the vote in a six-candidate primary,[9] and faced Republican 4th District Congressman Van Hilleary in November (the incumbent, Sundquist, was term-limited). Bredesen promised to manage state government better, improve Tennessee's schools and use his experience as a managed-care executive to fix TennCare, which had created a critical budget shortfall toward the end of Sundquist's term. His reputation as a moderate Democrat was well established (he is a member of the "good government" faction of the Nashville Democratic Party), so Hilleary's attempts to brand him as a liberal ultimately failed. Republicans also suffered from Sundquist's unpopular attempts to implement a state income tax.[14] Bredesen garnered more support in East Tennessee than was usual for a Democrat, especially one from Nashville. In November, Bredesen narrowly defeated Hilleary, 837,284 votes to 786,803.[9]

Bredesen became governor amid a fiscal crisis, with a predicted state budget shortfall of $800 million. Much of the shortfall was due to TennCare, which was $650 million over budget.[2] Sundquist had hoped to remedy the budget shortfall by implementing an income tax, but this proved wildly unpopular and was never enacted.[14] Bredesen argued that services would have to be cut, saying, "you can't have Massachusetts services and Tennessee taxes."[14] In 2003, he signed a 9% across-the-board spending cut.[2] In 2004, he enacted a series of changes to TennCare, essentially removing 191,000 Medicaid-eligible patients and reducing benefits. By 2006, these changes had reduced the program's cost by more than $500 million.[2] Bredesen used some of the savings to establish a "safety net" for health clinics affected by the cuts. In 2006, he implemented "Cover Tennessee" to cover people with preexisting conditions and the uninsured.[2]

During his first term, Bredesen enacted a number of measures aimed at improving education. In 2003, the state established the Tennessee Lottery to fund college scholarships for the state's high school graduates.[2] Teachers' pay was raised above average salary in the Southeast, and Tennessee’s pre-kindergarten initiative was expanded to include a statewide program for four-year-olds. Bredesen created the Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation, a statewide expansion of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library that offers free books for children, and in his fourth year, he signed legislation that increased funding for education by $366.5 million, much of which came from savings due to TennCare reform.[2]

To attract new industry, Bredesen worked with the General Assembly to reform Tennessee’s worker compensation system (changes supported by the business community and opposed by trial lawyers),[2] and invest in programs to help laid-off employees develop new skills. During his tenure, 2,889 companies, including Nissan and International Paper, expanded or moved to Tennessee, bringing more than 104,000 jobs and $12.8 billion in new business investment to the state.[15]

Bredesen meeting with FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate (back)

Bredesen launched a war on methamphetamine abuse, focusing on treatment, prevention and public awareness, with the Governor’s Meth-Free Tennessee initiative. Criminal penalties and resources for law enforcement were also enhanced as part of this program, which led to a 50% decline in illegal and toxic meth labs.[16] In 2005, Bredesen signed legislation establishing the Tennessee Heritage Conservation Trust Fund, which increased the state’s land-buying power in hopes of protecting ecologically significant land and conserving or restoring historically significant areas.[17]

In his 2006 reelection campaign, Bredesen brushed off a primary challenge from John Jay Hooker, winning nearly 90% of the vote.[9] In the general election, he defeated state senator Jim Bryson, 1,247,491 votes to 540,853,[9] sweeping all 95 counties and garnering more votes than any gubernatorial candidate in state history.

In 2007, Bredesen was criticized for proposing a privately funded $4.8 million underground entertainment annex to the Tennessee Governor's Mansion. Critics labelled the proposed complex "Bredesen's Bunker," and derided it as too elaborate and expensive.[18] In August 2008, Bredesen enacted further cuts to TennCare, placing restrictions on services to 10,800 TennCare patients who received some type of home nursing care. The new limits affected about 1,000 of those patients.[19][20]

In the 2008 elections, Republicans gained control of both chambers of the General Assembly for the first time since Reconstruction. The onset of the Great Recession also limited what Bredesen could accomplish during his remaining years in office. In 2009, he called for nearly $129 million in state spending cuts and enacted a voluntary buyout for state employees that reduced the workforce by 5% without requiring layoffs.[2] In May 2009, Bredesen vetoed a bill that would have allowed people to carry guns in bars, but the legislature overrode his veto.[2]

Post-governorship[edit]

Since leaving the Governor's Office in 2011, Bredesen has been the chairman of a solar energy plant developer.[21]

Viewed by many as a moderate Democrat based in the South, Bredesen was touted as a potential presidential candidate in 2008, but he said he had no interest in joining the wide field of Democrats seeking the nomination. He did not comment on joining a Democratic ticket as Vice President of the United States. On June 4, 2008, Bredesen endorsed Barack Obama for U.S. President.[22] Following the withdrawal of former Senator Tom Daschle as nominee for United States Secretary of Health and Human Services in the Obama Administration, The Atlantic correspondent Marc Ambinder reported that Bredesen was being vetted as a possible replacement. Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius was eventually chosen for the post.[23][24]

2018 U.S. Senate campaign[edit]

On September 26, 2017, incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Bob Corker announced he would leave the United States Senate when his current term expires at the end of 2018. On December 6, 2017, Bredesen announced that he would run for Corker's open seat.[1] In April 2018, Corker said that Bredesen was "a very good mayor, a very good governor, a very good business person", that he had "real appeal" and "crossover appeal", and that the two of them had cooperated well over the years.[25][26] Corker said that he would not campaign against Bredesen.[27] After Corker's praise for Bredesen, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell warned Corker that such comments could cost the Republican Party its Senate majority.[26][28] Shortly after Corker's comments, President Trump tweeted an endorsement Marsha Blackburn, who is running for the Republican nomination in the Senate race.[26] During the campaign, Trump attacked Bredesen, calling him "Phil whatever-the-hell-his-name-is" and "Philbert".[29]

Bredesen will face Gary Davis and John Wolfe in the Democratic primary on August 2, 2018.[30]

According to Politico, Bredesen represents a "center-right coalition" including "Chamber of Commerce-type Republicans."[28] During the campaign, Bredesen said that he opposed Trump's tariff policy, saying that the tariffs amounted to a tax on Tennesseans and "they will drive up prices, hurt our economy and will cost jobs, especially in our important automotive sector".[29] Bredesen praised Corker for publicly opposing Trump's tariff policy.[29]

Political positions[edit]

According to The Tennessean, Bredesen is "political moderate", "known for his middle-of-the-road, fiscally conservative politics" and has "occasionally irritated liberals in his party".[21] According to the Political Encyclopedia of U.S. States and Regions, Bredesen has embraced both fiscal conservatism and social liberalism "in a way that has a broad appeal to voters across the political spectrum".[31]

On the topic of the Affordable Care Act, Bredesen has said that "it needs fixing."[32]

Bredesen is a supporter of capital punishment,[33] presiding over four executions during his tenure. He commuted the death sentence for one inmate, Gaile Owens, to life without parole, citing "ineffective legal counsel at his sentencing and procedural limitations on his appeals".[34]

Personal life[edit]

Bredesen married Susan Cleaves in 1968. They divorced in 1974 and had no children.[5] In 1974, he married Andrea Conte in Wheatley, Oxfordshire, England. The two have one son, Ben. As of 2018, Bredesen's net worth was between $88.9 million and $358 million.[35]

Bredesen is a founding member of the nonprofit Nashville's Table and he served on the board of the Frist Center.[6]

Electoral history[edit]

Tennessee gubernatorial election, 1994
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Don Sundquist 807,104 54.27
Democratic Phil Bredesen 664,252 44.67
Tennessee gubernatorial election, 2002
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Phil Bredesen 835,635 50.7
Republican Van Hilleary 782,978 47.6
Tennessee gubernatorial election, 2006
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Phil Bredesen (Incumbent) 1,241,606 68.6 +17.9
Republican Jim Bryson 538,508 29.7

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Bredesen running for Senate | Nashville Post". Nashville Post. Retrieved December 7, 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Gov. Phil Bredesen (D), National Journal Magazine, 2011. Retrieved: January 11, 2013.
  3. ^ Jon Meacham, "Guns, Liquor and the Age of Obama," The Daily Beast, May 29, 2009.
  4. ^ Harvard University, 2005 Alumni Directory, p. 188.
  5. ^ a b The International Who's Who: 2004, Psychology Press, June 1, 2003, p. 218.
  6. ^ a b c d e "Philip Norman Bredesen," Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture, 2009. Retrieved: January 11, 2013.
  7. ^ Tom Humphrey, "Bredesen Closing Campaign Fund, Paying Off 2002 Loan Archived January 11, 2010[Date mismatch], at the Wayback Machine.," Knoxnews.com, January 8, 2010. Retrieved: January 11, 2013.
  8. ^ "Congressman Faces Ex-Bostonian in Nashville Mayoral Test," New York Times, September 22, 1987.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i Our Campaigns: Phil Bredesen. Retrieved: January 11, 2013.
  10. ^ Clay Risen, "Southern Man," The New Republic, January 31, 2005. Retrieved: January 11, 2013.
  11. ^ a b c Bruce Dobie, "As Nashville's Mayor, Phil Bredesen was Mr. Right for a City Starved for Progress – Just Not at First," Nashville Scene, January 6, 2011. Retrieved: January 11, 2013.
  12. ^ Skip Latt, "Nashville Wooing Timberwolves," Lewiston Sun-Journal, April 2, 1994, p. 20.
  13. ^ Liz Murray Garrigan, "Developing the Negatives," Nashville Scene, October 31, 1996. Retrieved: January 14, 2013.
  14. ^ a b c Roger Abramson, "Phil Bredesen Made a Successful Governor for One Mind-blowing Reason: He Did Just What He Said," The Nashville Scene, January 6, 2011. Retrieved: January 14, 2013.
  15. ^ Nicole Lapin, "State Too Dependent on Federal Aid: Tennessee Governor," CNBC.com, October 28, 2010. January 14, 2013.
  16. ^ Tennessee Blue Book, 2007, p. 111. Retrieved: January 14, 2013.
  17. ^ Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, Heritage Conservation Trust Fund. Retrieved: January 14, 2013.
  18. ^ Theo Emery, "Plans for Annex to Governor's Mansion Draws Critics," New York Times, November 30, 2007. Retrieved: January 14, 2013.
  19. ^ http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2008/aug/26/tenncare-cutting-home-health-benefit/
  20. ^ Williams, Rebecca D. (August 18, 2008). "TennCare reduces nursing services". Knoxville News Sentinel. 
  21. ^ a b "All eyes on Bredesen as Democrats seek 'game-changer' in Tennessee US Senate race". The Tennessean. Retrieved December 21, 2017. 
  22. ^ Washington: Bredesen endorses Obama; Davis, Gordon, Gore stay silent Archived June 8, 2008, at the Wayback Machine. By: Herman Wang. Thursday, June 5, 2008
  23. ^ Ambinder, Marc (February 6, 2009). "The Bredesen Experience". The Atlantic. 
  24. ^ https://www.hhs.gov/secretary/about/biography/index.html
  25. ^ "Corker says Democrat is ahead in race to succeed him". POLITICO. Retrieved 2018-04-18. 
  26. ^ a b c Scherer, Michael; Sullivan, Sean; Dawsey, Josh (2018-04-19). "Razor-thin Senate majority, bloody primary fights hamstring GOP". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2018-04-20. 
  27. ^ Kaplan, Thomas (2018-04-18). "In Pro-Trump Tennessee, Democrats Count on a Familiar Face to Flip a Senate Seat". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-04-18. 
  28. ^ a b "Corker-Blackburn drama risks must-win Senate seat for GOP". POLITICO. Retrieved 2018-05-03. 
  29. ^ a b c MATTISE, JONATHAN (2018-06-09). "Race for Tennessee Senate seat takes shape on Trump, tariffs". The Sacramento Bee. ISSN 0890-5738. Retrieved 2018-06-09. 
  30. ^ "United States Senate election in Tennessee, 2018". Ballotpedia. Retrieved 16 May 2018. 
  31. ^ Markel, Donald P. Haider (November 3, 2008). Political Encyclopedia of U.S. States and Regions. SAGE. ISBN 9780872893771. 
  32. ^ Martin, Jonathan (December 7, 2017). "Ex-Governor's Run Gives Democrats a Bit More Hope of Retaking the Senate". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved December 21, 2017. 
  33. ^ Phil Bredesen on the Issues
  34. ^ Clemency
  35. ^ Ebert, Joel; Garrison, Joey (March 30, 2018). "Phil Bredesen would be one of the richest members of Congress if elected to Senate". The Tennessean. Retrieved 16 May 2018. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Bill Boner
Mayor of Nashville
1991–1999
Succeeded by
Bill Purcell
Preceded by
Don Sundquist
Governor of Tennessee
2003–2011
Succeeded by
Bill Haslam
Party political offices
Preceded by
Ned McWherter
Democratic nominee for Governor of Tennessee
1994
Succeeded by
John Jay Hooker
Preceded by
John Jay Hooker
Democratic nominee for Governor of Tennessee
2002, 2006
Succeeded by
Mike McWherter