Sen. Hagerty launches first economic development tour with eye on creating annual event

Sen. Bill Hagerty is set to launch an economic development tour across his home state of Tennessee in what planners hope will become an annual event.

In a statement, Hagerty, a GOP member of the Senate Appropriations and Banking Committee and former state Commissioner of Economic and Community Development, reminded constituents that the bulk of his professional experience is not as an elected member of Congress but rather as a successful businessman.

“I spent my life in business, not politics,” Hagerty said. “And as Tennessee’s former commissioner of economic development, I have a great appreciation for the men and women who help grow our state’s economy.”

According to the press release, the plan is to hold the tour every August when Congress adjourns for summer recess. Hagerty sees the tour as an excellent way to reach out to Tennessee farmers, business owners, and workers to discuss various economic issues and priorities with a focus on individual effort, hard work, and the rewards that come from both.

“Job and wage growth doesn’t happen from the government, it comes from the people through grit, ingenuity, and hard work, but government can hinder it,” the Tennessee Republican added.

“From the farmer, to the factory worker, to the executive, to the store clerk, Tennesseans deserve the chance to chase their American dream, and I’m committed to that. I look forward to spending this month traveling our state hearing the concerns and ideas that will help us return to the Blue Collar Boom we witnessed right before this pandemic,” he said.

Hagerty’s office said that his tour will lead him throughout the state, beginning Aug. 16 and ending Sept. 8. Hagerty plans to use the tour to speak to farmers, big and small business owners, and ordinary workers “about the ongoing recovery from the pandemic-driven recession and the harmful big government, tax-and-spend policies coming from Washington,” especially during the Biden era.

The tour is a natural extension of Hagerty’s personal experience.

The Tennessee senator began his professional career with the Boston Consulting Group, later moving into venture capitalism and becoming a private equity investor where he worked with a diverse range of companies, investing and as an executive. Several of those firms were listed on the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ.

Hagerty served on then-GOP Gov. Bill Haslam’s cabinet, as well as Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, from 2011-2014.

“During his tenure as commissioner, Hagerty reorganized the department, eliminating over 40 percent of the positions and saving millions of taxpayer dollars,” says the press release.

“At the same time, the new approach helped spur the strongest economic transformation seen — taking Tennessee from an unemployment rate higher than the national average when he arrived to become the number one state in the nation for jobs created through foreign investment and being named State of the Year for Economic Development an unprecedented two years in a row during his tenure,” it added.

A fiscal conservative, Hagerty has regularly railed against congressional Democrats’ and the Biden administration’s fiscal policies, which he says have been harming American business owners and workers through a combination of inflation and taxes.

“Look at the inflation that’s happening right now. That’s a hidden tax on middle America, and all of the policies that they’re putting forward are so damaging our economy,” he told Fox News last month amid steadily rising costs for energy and a plethora of consumer goods.

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