Former Governor of Tennessee
Contact Phil Bredesen
Phil Bredesen served as mayor of Nashville, Tennessee from 1991 to 1999. He took office as Tennessee's 48th governor in January 2003 and was re-elected in November 2006, winning all 95 counties.
During his first year in office, Gov. Bredesen threw open the doors to administrative budget hearings, allowing taxpayers to see for the first time the decisions that are made on how their money is spent. He worked with the General Assembly to manage through a fiscal crisis without raising taxes or cutting funding for education. By Gov. Bredesen’s fourth year in office, Tennessee had passed four balanced budgets, received improved rankings from bond rating agencies and raised its Rainy Day Fund to a record high.
Gov. Bredesen set clear priorities for the state, beginning with Tennessee’s number one priority – education – and a commitment to raising standards at all levels and increasing graduation rates. He expanded the state’s pilot Pre-K initiative into a voluntary program for four-year-olds across the state and created the Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation, a statewide expansion of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library that offers children free books monthly up to their fifth birthday in each of Tennessee’s 95 counties.
In 2007, Gov. Bredesen launched CoverTN and CoverKids to provide health insurance for working Tennesseans and uninsured children. The programs are now providing health care to more than 104,000 Tennesseans, including more than 40,000 children and 20,000 working adults across the state.
During his time in office, Tennessee experienced tremendous progress in economic development, including 45 new corporate headquarters, 170,377 new jobs, and more than $27.7 billion in new investments. Following Tennessee’s designation as 2007’s most competitive state in the nation for economic development by Site Selection Magazine, in 2008 Gov. Bredesen celebrated Volkswagen Group of America’s selection of Chattanooga as the site for a $1 billion automotive production facility and welcomed Hemlock Semiconductor and its plans to build a $1.2 billion facility to manufacture solar panel components in Clarksville.
In 2009, Gov. Bredesen joined top officials at Wacker Chemie AG of Munich, Germany to announce their plan to build a $1 billion facility in Bradley County, Tenn., that will manufacture hyperpure polycrystalline silicon, a primary component used to make solar panels and semiconductors. He is focused on developing continued strategies for making Tennessee a leader in the clean-energy technology sector.
Gov. Bredesen grew up in rural Shortsville, N.Y, and earned a bachelor's degree in physics from Harvard University. Before entering public service, he worked in the health care industry and founded HealthAmerica Corp., a Nashville-based health care management company.