Bill Lee stumps in Elizabethton for gubernatorial race

Published 3:45 pm Monday, June 4, 2018

One Tennessee businessman’s “rural roadmap” sent him to the heart of the city Monday morning.

Bill Lee, Republican Party gubernatorial candidate, visited Northeast Tennessee and kicked off the slew of campaign stops by visiting the Coffee Company in Historic Downtown Elizabethton. Moderated by Carter County Commission Chairman Dr. Robert Acuff, Lee used the event as a way to answer questions that were submitted by the public, ranging from education to the state’s opioid epidemic.

A native of Franklin, Lee also spoke about the importance of working with the small communities across the state to ensure their growth for the future. Lee’s business background includes serving as the CEO of Lee Company and staying active with the family’s Triple L Ranch — both entities that work hand-in-hand with small communities across the area.

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“Elizabethton is a perfect example of communities all across the state that need commitment,” Lee said following Monday’s question-and-answer session. “We’re doing well in our big cities and many places across the state, but our small towns are suffering, our rural communities in particular.”

To help with growth, Lee added that, if elected, he would work with leaders to take a “hard and different look” at educational opportunities in these communities from the high school level and onward. Lee is also encouraging the growth of small business, mentioning the idea of promoting and incubating businesses locally to encourage development. The gubernatorial candidate added that other assets, like broadband in cities and promoting job opportunities, will also pay dividends in work for the future.

“Those are the kinds of changes that need to happen in small towns like Elizabethton,” he said.

All comes back to Lee’s focus of promoting “faith, family and communities” across the state. One of Lee’s key topics included education. During the event, the businessman spoke about promoting agricultural, technical and vocational opportunities for students coming through high school to help promote job growth. To help with progress, Lee added it will take support from the private sector to help ensure students looking to follow the trade profession can find suitable work, and that local businesses can thrive with a well-experienced workforce.

Another topic of discussion was the notable opioid crisis happening across the state, which Lee noted has hit Upper East Tennessee harder than some areas. Lee added that his goal would be to look at the amount of prescriptions that are being given out to citizens, while also supporting local law enforcement’s work to help combat the issue and having professionals look at the mental-health side of the epidemic.

One topic of discussion was the recent news of tariffs being implemented on U.S. trade items to countries. While Lee stated they are a “deep concern,” he believes the tariffs are being used as a negotiation tool by President Donald Trump for better trade opportunities for the country.

Lee added that the situation needs to be monitored closely, and a focus would be on protecting Tennessee jobs that will impact and pursue alternative ways to assist the companies.

Visit to learn more about Lee’s campaign.