Mike Mcwherter (D) – Governor
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Mike McWherter owns and operates a successful small business in Jackson. A West Tennessee native and graduate of Union City High School, Mike earned his law degree from Vanderbilt University and worked in private practice in Nashville before moving to Jackson to start his own business and work in the community. Mike is the Chairman of the Bank Board of First State Bank, headquartered in Union City, and serves on the board of directors for the Jackson Energy Authority.

As Governor, Mike will work with Tennesseans from all 95 counties to create more good-paying jobs across the state. He will work to give our students the education they need to be successful after graduation, and will work to ensure Tennesseans have access to affordable, quality health care. Mike will follow the examples of his father, former Governor Ned McWherter, and Governor Phil Bredesen by standing up for working families and applying his common-sense business experience to State Government.

Mike, a native of northwest Tennessee, lives in Jackson with his wife, Mary Jane, and their children, Walker and Bess.

Where Mike Stands on the Issues


Promoting fiscal responsibility. Mike is a businessman who knows how to balance a budget and run an efficient, effective organization. As governor, Mike will make sure state government lives within its means.

Ensuring fiscal transparency. Maintaining public confidence is critical when it comes to budgeting in government. Mike will keep the budget process open and accessible to all Tennesseans.

Opposing the income tax. Over the years, Tennessee has proven that state government can live without an income tax. Mike will preserve the Volunteer State’s low-tax climate.


Creating new jobs. Mike is the proud owner of a Tennessee-based company that provides good jobs to working families. He knows how to communicate with businesses and industries that are expanding, and as governor, he’ll work overtime to bring new jobs to Tennessee. In order to get people back to work, Mike knows that our state must:

Support small businesses in all 95 counties. As a small business owner himself, Mike knows that small businesses are the backbone of our economy and account for the majority of new jobs created. He’ll push for tax relief in the form of jobs tax credits to small business that create full time jobs for Tennesseans.

Develop a skilled workforce. The key to job creation is having a workforce that’s trained on new ideas and technologies. Mike will give hard-working Tennesseans the tools they need to compete in the global economy, and he knows that a first-class education system (K-12 and higher education) is the key to our economic future.

Continue to ensure that Tennessee remains one of the nation’s most job-friendly states by holding the line against a state income tax, keeping other taxes low, and continuing the Jobs Cabinet approach by having state agencies and the private sector work closely to support business recruitment and expansion.

Play to our strengths. Mike will build on Tennessee’s traditional economic cornerstones, including the automotive and healthcare industries, and move us forward in emerging industries like clean energy technology.

Build on Governor Bredesen’s success in recruiting new large industries to our state by ensuring that we recruit suppliers and other businesses that are needed to support those industries.

Support women-owned and minority-owned business job growth by expanding existing federal, state and local programs that offer technical assistance and professional counsel to entrepreneurs.

Jump start job growth in economically distressed rural counties across our state by expanding the state’s Rural Opportunity Initiative that gives qualified businesses access to micro-loans funded by combined state, federal and private capital.

Work to revitalize Tennessee’s Main Streets by building on our state’s Main Street Program that offers technical and strategic assistance and incentives through public-private partnerships to communities that are trying to encourage business investments in abandoned downtown districts.


Improving public schools. Mike is a father who understands the importance of having strong K-12 schools and a fully funded Basic Education Program (BEP). As governor, he’ll maintain high standards in the classroom, improve graduation rates, and make sure teachers have the resources they need to give our kids a quality education.

Expanding early-childhood learning. Mike knows that Tennessee’s nationally recognized pre-kindergarten program is a model for the country and that early childhood education is one of the best investments we can make. He’ll keep growing pre-K until it’s available to every family that wants their child to attend.

Promoting higher education. Tennessee’s colleges and universities are among the best in the nation. Mike will work hard to hold down tuition, ensure that lottery scholarships are fully funded, improve degree rates, and keep college accessible for any student who has the grades and wants to attend.


Promoting our products. Mike knows that agriculture is a big business and a key part of Tennessee’s economy. He will support existing marketing efforts and develop new strategies to encourage consumers to “Pick Tennessee Products.”

Investing in success. Since 2005, the Tennessee Agriculture Enhancement Program has provided cost-share funds for long-term investments in the state?s livestock and farming operations. As governor, Mike will continue this popular program and look for ways to expand it.

Developing new crops. Tennessee is emerging as a national leader with efforts to bring new biofuels to market. Mike will support public-private partnerships that further accelerate these efforts.

Preserving family farms. Mike grew up in a rural area and knows that farming is a way of life for many Tennesseans. As governor, he will support farmland legacy initiatives and work with farmers to explore preservation options for future generations.


Protecting TennCare. After years of financial struggles, TennCare now is stable and remains one of the most comprehensive state healthcare plans in the U.S. As governor, Mike will keep the state’s expanded Medicaid program under control so it can provide care for those who need it most.

Working with Washington. Collectively, the nation’s governors are a powerful voice in healthcare reform. As governor, Mike will work with our congressional delegation, the National Governors Association and other groups to make sure Tennessee’s voice is heard in the ongoing national debate.

Promoting healthier living. Tennessee is fighting epidemics like diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. As governor, Mike will push for better care- and disease-management practices, and focus on more education, fitness, health-screening and preventive healthcare programs.

Accelerating e-health. Nationally, Tennessee is a leader in electronic medical records, which help hold down costs and improve the quality of care. As governor, Mike will keep working with patients, doctors, pharmacies, hospitals, clinics and others to promote better use of health information technology.


Conserving public lands. Tennessee is blessed with one of the most-scenic and best-managed state park systems in America, and has extensive holdings of environmentally sensitive lands. As governor, Mike will protect our parks and preserve Tennessee’s public lands for future generations.

Improving air and water quality. Along with the federal government, the state plays a key role in enforcing regulations dealing with air and water quality. Mike will pursue regulatory and stewardship policies that will protect our health and natural resources without stifling economic growth.

Promoting clean energy. Tennessee is a national leader in clean energy technology, including the development of new energy efficiency and conservation initiatives and renewable energy sources such as solar. As governor, Mike will make clean energy a top economic and environmental priority.

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