Haslam Says Governors Offended At White House’s Lack Of Trust In States

Gov. Bill Haslam spoke on behalf of the Republican Governors Association along with Texas Governor Rick Perry, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. The bipartisan National Governors Association met with President Obama over the weekend. Credit: RGA

Gov. Bill Haslam spoke on behalf of the Republican Governors Association along with Texas Governor Rick Perry, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. The bipartisan National Governors Association met with President Obama over the weekend. Credit: RGA

Tennessee’s governor says President Obama needs to give more authority to states.

Speaking today after a meeting between the nation’s governors and the President, Gov. Bill Haslam said there seemed to be very little interest in giving states more leeway.

“It is a little hard to hear when you say when it comes to critical issues like health care or education, ‘we don’t trust you to care about the least of these.’ People that do what you do – whether you’re Republican or Democrat – hear that and say that’s a little hard to take.”

Gov. Haslam has been unable to get the Obama Administration to sign off on a modified plan to expand the state’s Medicaid program. He also mentioned “creative ideas” in education that are being tried in states.

“In Tennessee, we came up with a plan to make community college and technology college free for two years. That works for us. It may or may not be the right thing for someone else, but trust us on these things.”

Haslam was one of four GOP governors who held a press conference after the White House meeting. They were representing the Republican Governors Association in the place of chairman Chris Christie.

The New Jersey governor has shunned the spotlight since coming under fire for his administration’s role in orchestrating a traffic jam as political payback.

Haslam expressed confidence in the potential presidential candidate’s leadership abilities. He also said Christie may come to Tennessee later this year as part of the Haslam reelection campaign.

“If Chris came down, we’d love to have him,” he said, adding that the two had talked about events this summer or fall without nailing down a “definite plan yet.”

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