Randy Boyd says Tennessee should not necessarily be run like a business, despite being a businessman himself. He says he's realized that bureaucracy has some benefits.
When Governor Bill Haslam asked him to consider joining the administration, Boyd says his answer was always the same: "I like to get things done. Government is too slow. It's too bureaucratic. There's no way I could ever survive in government." But Boyd says Haslam argued that government can help people in a way that is transformative and bigger than any individual could ever achieve.
Boyd eventually started working on higher education as an unpaid advisor, developing the state's effort to increase post-secondary completion rates. Then he was hired as economic development commissioner. But he's never held elected office. Now that he's running for governor himself, Boyd says he's come to appreciate the government process.
"There are more stakeholders involved. Things do move a little slower, and sometimes for not the right reasons — but many times for the right reasons," he told journalists in Nashville this week. "There's just a lot more checks and balances, and rightly, because it's the people's money."
Boyd says it's "naïve" to think the government could ever be run like a business. However, he does think more of the government could be privatized.
Asked about the current outsourcing efforts, Boyd says the state should always ask whether private industry could run something better than the public sector. For instance, he says the state should not be in the business of operating golf courses, but he says if he were elected governor, he would approach outsourcing functions on a case-by-case basis.