Governor Bill Haslam easily won reelection last night, taking the stage to deliver a victory speech less than an hour after polls closed.
Haslam said he plans to spend his second term doubling down on the policies that marked his first four years in office–particularly when it comes to raising student test scores, trimming the state budget and aggressively recruiting businesses.
“Tennessee has moved too far to turn back now. We’ve moved too far to being the kind of place that we want our children and grandchildren to grow up in. We’ve moved too far in terms of real progress in education.”
Speaking to reporters afterwards in a short media availability, Haslam said he hasn’t started asking cabinet members whether they want to stay on, but said he’s happy to keep them all. That includes Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman, who has drawn strong complaints from both sides of the aisle.
Haslam gave no indication of whether he plans to apply for a Medicaid expansion. He’s previously said the state is in ongoing talks with the federal government about a potential compromise. Any effort to extend government health care coverage to more of Tennessee’s uninsured would likely face stiff opposition in the state legislature.