Philip Bredesen, a Democrat, served as Governor of Tennessee from 2003 until 2011. He was Mayor of Nashville from 1991 until 1999. Prior to his terms in elected office he was the CEO of a public health care company that he founded in 1980.
As governor, he was known for his bipartisan approach to problem-solving and conservative fiscal management. He reformed TennCare, Tennessee’s deeply troubled Medicaid program and instituted several innovative approaches for broadening access to care for children and uninsured adults. In education, he instituted a statewide Pre-K program and passed significant reforms of both Tennessee’s K-12 and higher education systems. He preserved 350,000 acres of environmentally-sensitive land for future generations and successfully navigated his state’s financial challenges after 2007, leaving Tennessee on his departure from office with strong financial reserves, the lowest per-capita debt in the nation, and an AAA bond rating.
As Nashville’s Mayor, he was respected for his downtown revitalization, including recruiting the NFL Tennessee Titans and the NHL Predators. He built the downtown arena and football stadium, rebuilt and expanded the library system, including an award-winning new downtown main library, added substantially to the parks system and built a large number of new public schools.
Prior to his time in public office, Bredesen was a businessman and entrepreneur. He is best known for starting HealthAmerica, a healthcare management companythat within a decade became a successful public company, traded on the NYSE.
He is the author of Fresh Medicine: How to fix reform and build a sustainable health care system (Grove/Atlantic) and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is a frequent speaker to national audiences on health care issues and political leadership.
Bredesen grew up in Shortsville, an upstate village of 1100 in New York’s Finger Lakes region. He graduated from Red Jacket Central, the local public school, in a class of 43. He graduated from Harvard University in 1967 with a degree in Physics. He is married to Andrea Conte, a registered nurse and respected victim’s rights advocate, and they have a son Ben, a daughter-in-law Dru, and two grandchildren. They live in Nashville, Tennessee.