Big local names line up behind national debt fix push

Bankers, execs, ex-government officials sign on to steer state arm of national group

A national nonpartisan coalition of business leaders, political and community leaders, academics and individual citizens on Wednesday officially launched its Tennessee leadership committee and it is a bipartisan "Who's Who" of state politics.

Campaign to Fix the Debt Tennessee is being co-chaired by former Gov. Winfield Dunn and Tim Pagliara, CEO of CapWealth Advisors in Franklin and founder of Enact the Plan. They were joined Wednesday at Legislative Plaza by other leaders from both political parties, including former Gov. Phil Bredesen, who serves as a member of the Campaign to Fix the Debt’s national steering committee.

The organization — view its national website here — is calling on lawmakers in Washington to put aside political differences to find practical solutions to the national debt, which Dunn said is “out of control.”

“Continued inaction and gridlock is not acceptable,” he said. “So immediately following the election, we need our leaders in Washington to quickly put partisan differences aside and work together to find some common-sense solutions to get the job done. I have great confidence they can do this, but they must act quickly.”

Among the Middle Tennessee leaders on the state steering committee are:

• Forrest Conner, CEO of manufacturer McCarthy Jones & Woodard
• Lew Conner, senior counsel at Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis and a former judge at the Tennessee Court of Appeals
• Doug Cruickshanks, vice chairman of FirstBank
• Bob Fisher, president of Belmont University
• Dave Goetz, vice president at Optum and former Tennessee commissioner of finance and administration
• Cordia Harrington, CEO of Tennessee Bun Co.
• Dan Hogan, founder and president of Church Street Consulting and former regional president of Fifth Third Bank
• Gordon Inman, chairman of FirstBank Middle Tennessee
• Matt Kisber, president and CEO of Silicon Ranch Corp. and former Tennessee commissioner of economic and community development
• Robert Orr, a Franklin attorney
• Linda Peek Schacht, executive director of the Andrews Institute for Civic Leadership at Lipscomb University and a former vice president of global communication and public affairs at Coca-Cola Co.
• Gary Sisco, CEO of Sisco Group and former secretary of the U.S. Senate
• Deborah Taylor Tate, former commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission
• Charles Trost, attorney at Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis and associate dean at Belmont University College of Law as well as former Tennessee Commissioner of Revenue
• Richard Warren, partner at Bradley Arrant Boult Cummings
• Woody Woodruff, partner at Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis

Many other big names from other parts of the state also are taking part in Fix The Debt. Among them are:

• Calvin Anderson of Memphis, senior vice president and chief of staff at BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee
• Victor Ashe of Knoxville, former U.S. Ambassador to Poland and former Mayor of Knoxville
• Lincoln Davis of Pall Mall, former member of the U.S. House of Representatives
• Paula Flowers of Oak Ridge, president of Enovation Group and former Tennessee commissioner of commerce and insurance
• Warren Neel of Knoxville, executive director of the Corporate Governance Center at The University of Tennessee and former Tennessee commissioner of finance and administration
• Zach Wamp of Chattanooga, former member of the U.S. House of Representatives
• Mayor A.C. Wharton Jr. of Memphis

Check out the organization's official news release here.