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TN History for Kids

High One: A day in the life of Governor Haslam

Governor Haslam, a history buff, makes a public
appearance. Can you guess which one he is?
PHOTO: Office of Governor Haslam

Since some of you might be planning to run for governor one day, we thought we'd take this opportunity to tell you what the job entails.

If you spent an entire day with Governor Bill Haslam, here are some of the things you'd see him do:

Preside over cabinet meetings

Governor Haslam regularly meets with the heads of the 22 departments of state government. These meetings give them a chance to tell him what is happening in their department, and they give him a chance to give them instructions.

The governor presides over several weeks of
budget hearings every December.
PHOTO: Office of Governor Haslam

Get his proposals and his budget ready

Every January, the governor proposes a budget that the legislature must approve before the end of its session. The Tennessee Constitution requires him to do this, and he spends most of December holding public  hearings to come up with this budget proposal. Historically, the governor also proposes several new laws, some of which are needed as parts of his budget or as parts of other proposals he is making.

Meet with legislators

When the legislature is in session, Governor Haslam frequently meets with individual legislators, or groups of legislators, to talk about a bill or a project of special interest to them.

Governor Haslam at an event proclaiming
"Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month"
PHOTO: Office of Governor Haslam

Follow the progress of the legislature

The governor keeps close tabs on what the House of Representatives and Senate are doing, and he has full-time staff people who report to him every day when the General Assembly is in session.

Remember that every single bill that the legislature passes comes to the governor's desk for him to sign, veto, or allow to become law without his signature. The more he knows about these bills before they pass, the more he'll know when they get to his desk.

Travel the state and make speeches

It's a long way from Kingsport to Memphis, and it is important that the governor make as much personal contact as possible. So he frequently makes speeches at lunch clubs, at public schools, you name it.

The governor speaks at a press conference
PHOTO: Office of Governor Haslam

Keep up with the news

The governor needs to have some idea what is said about him, which means there are hundreds of publications, radio stations, and television stations that he needs to keep up with. In fact, the governor's office subscribes to just about every newspaper in the state, and someone on his staff literally clips important articles for him to read every day.

Governor Haslam makes a speech
to the Downtown Nashville Rotary
PHOTO: Office of Governor Haslam

Give out awards, pose for pictures, etc.

There are many demands on the governor's time.

Now for an important point about Governor Haslam's office.

Key people in the administration of a governor fall into two categories. Some are part of his staff. Others are part of his cabinet.

The Staff

The staff consists of the jobs necessary to run just the governor's office itself and the functions that immediately come out of it. People such as the governor's chief of staff, legal counsel, press secretary and legislative liaisons are members of the governor's staff. The governor has a staff of about 20 people.

The Cabinet

State government is divided into 22 different departments. Each of these departments of state government is headed by a commissioner. All the commissioners together make up the governor's cabinet.

The governor also appoints members of about 300 boards and commissions. These boards and commissions range from the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Commission to the Social Studies Standards Review Commission.

Perhaps one day the governor will appoint YOU to a board or commission!

Now let's move onto these 22 state government departments. Click here.