Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam is known to frequent Lipscomb’s workout room, but he made an appearance at chapel Tuesday to speak to students and lead the closing prayer.

Lipscomb president Randy Lowry introduced Haslam by noting how many Lipscomb students would not be where they are today had Haslam not served as governor.

“If you have a HOPE scholarship, you owe that opportunity to…Governor Haslam in his support of that program,” Lowry said. “If you enjoyed free community college, it was because this governor wanted to provide access to higher education. To those of you who did, you then had an opportunity to transfer to a four-year school, which you might not ever otherwise been able to attend.”

During The Gathering, Haslam spoke to students about God, relationships and politics. Haslam cited two main things he wanted to tell students to take away from his talk.

“No matter what you do, make certain that you’re in a situation where you have people that give you honest feedback…That’s really what helps us,” he said. “Number two is remember those people you’re interacting with…that they’re created in the image of God.”

After The Gathering, Lumination spoke to Haslam individually about his thoughts on the upcoming governor’s election and the importance of students going out and voting.

“The first thing to do is obviously to go vote,” Haslam said. “It’s incredibly simple and easy, and it matters. Every study shows that young people don’t, which is crazy that people typically don’t start voting until they’re in their 40s.

“People tend to get really excited about the national elections, but your state and local elections matter as much, if not more.”

Haslam said the main projects he wants to continue to see enacted during the next governor’s term is the Tennessee Promise, in addition to “improvements in the K-12 education” system.

“For us, it’s kind of fun to watch,” he said. “You know, we’ve been in it the last two, and it’s more fun to be an observer. I would tell them (the students), again, to listen, and to actually follow the election, to go on their websites and see basically, here’s what people believe. And then decide: ‘Is this person somebody I think can take the state in the right direction?'”

State and federal general election day is November 6, 2018. Students interested in early voting can do so through November 1. Vote totals are updated every business day.

To absentee by-mail vote, students must be registered voters and request the absentee ballot by no later than seven days before the election and provide a written request for an absentee ballot by mail, fax or e-mail to their local county election commission office.

To see a list of all the candidates running for governor, U.S. Senate, U.S. House, Tennessee Senate and Tennessee House, visit the Tennessee.gov website.

Photo courtesy of Lipscomb University, by Kristi Jones

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