I had wondered if Gov. Bill Haslam just doesn't like Tennesseans, but after reading Erik Schelzig's story in The Tennessean, I get why he might be nervous about meeting and interacting with regular Tennesseans.
Check this out:
Now, an FBI investigation of alleged fraud by the sales staff at the nation’s largest diesel retailer has brought increased scrutiny of the company and raised more questions about links between the governor and Pilot. They include:
— A top political adviser to the governor who also is orchestrating Pilot’s public response to the Justice Department investigation.
— A current board member and part-owner of Pilot being appointed by the governor as the interim president of University of Memphis.
— Another board member running the parent company of a mining firm that wants to extract coal from public land in Tennessee.
Now, doesn't this make sense of why Gov. Haslam has to put a huge layer of people between him and the rest of us? Apparently the man thinks that he has to give at least two jobs to everyone he knows, so no wonder he tries to limit the amount of Tennesseans he gets to know. Poor Tom Ingram has to advise Haslam and do PR for Pilot. Brad Martin's got to run the University of Memphis and co-own Pilot. Mike Loya's got to serve on the board of Pilot and try to get the state to let him mine coal on its land.
Governor Haslam! You don't have to give your small circle of friends all the jobs in the state. Widen you net of cronyism! Don't be afraid to meet new people! Some people don't even need you to give them a job, and a lot of us only need one. I mean, I'm sure Tom Ingram is great, but he's taking the jobs of three people. Can't he pick one and you find two other Tennesseans who need work to do the other jobs?
Think, for instance, of what a PR coup it'd be if you grabbed someone off the unemployment lines to be your new adviser. And, hell, you might actually get some good ideas about what everyday Tennesseans need from a governor.