TACIR’s “Forum on Tennessee’s Future” Identifies the State’s Ten Greatest Challenges

Monday, November 03, 2008 | 8:33am

NASHVILLE — The Forum on Tennessee’s Future, a group of ten public and private sector leaders convened by the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (TACIR), met in Nashville, Wednesday, October 22, to discuss the challenges Tennessee faces as policy makers look to improve the state’s competitive edge and enhance the quality of life for all current and future residents.

The group was selected to represent a wide range of perspectives and experience. They were asked by TACIR to name the ten greatest challenges confronting the state and to produce a set of policy papers for publication in January. The challenges identified by the group are to

        bring Tennesseans together to plan for a future that both reflects and makes the most of the richness and diversity of our state, its people and its places;
        provide all students equal access to adequate education and evaluation so that they may succeed in their professional, personal, civic, and community lives;
        manage an increasingly diverse society—tapping its productive and creative potential while minimizing its negative effects;
        ensure access to affordable health care for all Tennesseans, reduce costs, eliminate health care disparities, and foster healthy lifestyles;
        reform the administration of justice, including the prison system, so that it is more affordable and effective;
        create a business environment that is both conducive to economic growth and development and consistent with our cultural and environmental values—to make our state the preferred choice for business that Tennesseans want;
        use energy wisely and efficiently, leveraging the research assets of our universities and industry to develop new, clean, and renewable sources that will support, improve and sustain our economy and quality of life;
        use land and other natural resources wisely, consistent with environmental and quality of life standards and with economic development goals, to promote and sustain a sense of community and a relationship to the great outdoors;
        improve the delivery and efficiency of government services at the state and local levels and provide for their long-term fiscal sustainability; and
        foster a political environment and process that will support the broad public debate and accommodate the longer view necessary to design a better future for our state.
The members of the Forum came to consensus on these issues after trading ideas through an anonymous email process that began in September and then continuing their discussion in a daylong meeting in Nashville. TACIR’s goal for the Forum is to bring attention to the ten most significant trends that policy makers must address to ensure a vibrant future for our state. The group’s focus is on enhancing Tennessee’s economic competitiveness while preserving the qualities that make our state an attractive place to live, work and play.
Each member of the Forum will write an opinion piece for TACIR on one of these topics. Dr. Harry A. Green, executive director of the commission, will add his own thoughts and publish the ten policy papers around the first of the year. As Dr. Green noted in convening the meeting, the ten Forum members are “an awesome group of great thinkers, chosen for their insight into the multi-faceted aspects of American life.”
Members of TACIR’s Forum on Tennessee’s Future are
Martha L. Perine Beard, vice president and senior branch executive, Memphis Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; member, Memphis Tomorrow Board of Directors
Richard Chesteen, Ph.D., professor of political science, University of Tennessee (Martin); former member Obion County Commission and president of the Tennessee County Services Association; former member TACIR
Nick Dunagan, Ed.D., Chancellor Emeritus, University of Tennessee, Martin; former executive director of WestStar Leadership; member of the Weakley County Economic Development Council
Ruth E. Johnson, attorney; Associate Vice President for Advancement, Meharry Medical College, former Commissioner of Revenue; member, Vanderbilt Law School National Council, former member TACIR
Boyce C. Magli, owner and founder, Magli Realty Company; former president, Tennessee Realtors Association; member, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Commission
John G. Morgan, Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury; former vice president and director of Public Finance of Third National Bank, Nashville; member TACIR
Matthew N. (Matt) Murray, Ph.D., economist; Associate Director, University of Tennessee Center for Business and Economic Research; Chair, Economic Development Board of Blount County; former member, National Tax Association Board of Directors
Lyle Reid, attorney; former Chief Justice, Tennessee Supreme Court; former Deputy Commissioner of Commerce and Insurance, State of Tennessee; former Member, Board of Directors, National Center for State Courts; Vice-President for Litigation, Columbia/HCA, 1998-2000; former member TACIR
William B. (Bill) Sansom, Pres. & CEO, The H.T. Hackney Company; Chair, Tennessee Valley Authority; former Commissioner of Finance and Administration and of Transportation, State of Tennessee; former member TACIR
Greer Tidwell, Jr., Director of Environmental Mgmt., Bridgestone/Firestone; Chair, Tennessee Air Pollution Control Board; member, Federal Advisory Council for TVA Regional Resource Management
For more information about TACIR’s Forum on Tennessee’s Future, please visit our website at www.state.tn.us/tacir.
The Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (TACIR) was created by the state legislature in 1978 to monitor federal, state, and local government relations, to serve as a bipartisan forum for the discussion of intergovernmental issues, and to make recommendations for improvement to the legislature.  The commission responds to requests for technical assistance from the General Assembly, state agencies, and local governments, and may initiate studies resulting in legislative proposals and constitutional amendments.  It is comprised of representatives from the executive and legislative branches of state government, county and municipal governments, and the public.

For more information, contact Lynnisse Roehrich-Patrick at  615-253-4239 or by email at tacir@state.tn.us.

Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations