Philip Bredesen served as Governor of Tennessee from 2003 until 2011. His time as governor was marked by:
- Strong fiscal management, including fixing an out- of-control Medicaid program, establishing large financial reserves, successfully navigating the 2008 recession and the achievement in 2010 of a AAA bond rating.
- Advancements in education, including establishing a statewide Pre-K program, improving teacher salaries and establishing the use of objective student performance data for teacher evaluation. This success has been recognized by Tennessee’s having been one of the two states to win the first round of the federal Race to the Top competition.
- Advancements in health care, including establish- ing a broad children’s health insurance program, innovative small business and individual insurance offerings and several successful public health efforts.
- Successful economic development initiatives, including recruiting Volkswagen’s U.S. manufacturing operations to Tennessee and obtaining multi-billion-dollar investments in alternative energy.
- The preservation of 350,000 acres of ecologically sensitive land for future generations.
Bredesen also served as Mayor of Nashville from 1991 to 1999, and is particularly credited for his success in down-town revitalization, including recruiting the NFL Tennessee Titans and the NHL Predators. He rebuilt and expanded the library system, including an award-winning new downtown main library, added substantially to the parks system and built numerous new public schools.
Prior to his time in public office, Bredesen was a business- man and entrepreneur. He is best known for starting in his home a health care management business that within a decade became a successful public company, traded on the NYSE.
He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2012 and is the author of Fresh Medicine: How to Fix Re- form and Build a Sustainable Health Care System. He is a frequent speaker to national audiences on health care, political leadership and other topics.
In 2018, Bredesen re-entered the political arena, running unsuccessfully for the U. S. Senate.
Bredesen was born in Oceanport, NJ in 1943. In 1951, his mother, brother and he moved to Shortsville, NY, an upstate village of 1100 people. The family lived with his grandmother and he attended the local public school, Red Jacket Central, graduating in a class of 43 in 1961. He attended Harvard University, graduating in 1967 with a degree in physics.
Bredesen worked in the Boston area and in the United Kingdom until 1975, when he and Andrea Conte were married and they moved to Nashville. Conte is a native of Great Barrington, MA, a grad-uate of the University of Washington and a registered nurse. She operated a small business for several years; she is also a strong and respected advocate for victim’s rights.
Bredesen is an active outdoorsman, a pilot, an author and an artist. He and Andrea have one son, Benjamin, a daughter-in-law Dru and two grand-children.
Bredesen lives in Nashville, Tennessee.