Former Tennessee governor Phil Bredesen, right, speaks to a crowd as Jim Douglas, the former governor of Vermont, smiles to a crowd in Guerry Auditorium at Sewanee University last year. (Photo Credit: Chattanooga Times Free Press)
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Former Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen has stayed busy with several projects since leaving office almost two years ago.
Bredesen told the Knoxville News Sentinel that he is writing a book, serving on two national panels that promote bipartisanship, encouraging the study of humanities, giving speeches, keeping track of investments and pondering what to do next.
He said his new book, to be published next year, will focus on the national debt and its relationship to reforms in healthcare. He's not sure yet what else the future holds.
"I've got another career in me. I'll figure out what it is in a while," he said.
In the wide-ranging interview, Bredesen did not rule out running for office again. He said he's keeping all options open as he decides what to do next.
Although he has also done some partisan politicking for fellow Democrats, he said that has taken up less than two percent of his time. He puts his book first on the list of things that take up his time nowadays.
"I just like the notion of people involved in public life writing in extended fashion about policy rather than self-promotional tracts," he said.
He said the goal of the book is "taking a complicated topic and distilling it down."
Aside from the book, Bredesen has served at The Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, D.C.; with a national group called Fix the Debt, which describes itself as a bipartisan effort; on the Commission on Humanities and Social Services of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences as a way to promote the arts; and making speeches, usually about healthcare.
Since leaving office, Bredesen's name has been mentioned in a couple of controversies. One of those occurred when solar company Silicon Ranch, which lists the former governor as a principle investor, applied for tax breaks pushed through by his administration.
Bredesen said criticism on the issue is not warranted and "kind of irritated me." He said the main portion of the company's business is outside the state and that the tax breaks weren't sought until after the Republican-controlled Legislature debated a bill to repeal the breaks but opted to keep them.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)