Haslam Defends Ali As “Very Tennessee”

Gov. Haslam, courtesy Andrea Zelenski, TNReport

Governor Bill Haslam says he has not spoken with the Muslim woman whose job with the state has drawn the ire of several county Republican parties. But Haslam has strong praise for the state’s international director in Economic and Community Development, Samar Ali.

Some county Republican groups have passed resolutions against Haslam, saying they worry Ali is an inroad for spreading Sharia law in state government. Haslam defended her at an event in Dickson.

“She’s a product of not very far from here, in Waverly, Tennessee, where she was most likely to succeed in her class, a member of the 4-H. Her dad is a colonel in the Tennessee National Guard. This is somebody that’s very Tennessee, and I think maybe the important thing to recognize is this is somebody who could have a lot of great jobs in a lot of places.”

Haslam says Ali could make more money working somewhere else, but she cares about her home state; he says he’s grateful to have her on the team.

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