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VOL. 41 | NO. 16 | Friday, April 21, 2017
Republican Bill Lee joining Tennessee governor's race
NASHVILLE (AP) — Franklin businessman Bill Lee says he's jumping into the Tennessee governor's race.
The Republican tells The Tennessean (http://tnne.ws/2q47BPw) that his campaign will formally begin Monday when he plans to roll out a recently purchased RV that he'll use to travel the state.
The 57-year-old Lee is chairman of the Lee Co., which was founded by his grandfather in 1944. The company's services include plumbing, electrical and HVAC for residential, business and government customers.
The company employs 1,150 people.
"When I came to that company, I had a vision for it and we've accomplished that vision," Lee said. "Those experiences in life have really caused me to have a vision for Tennessee, so I've decided to pursue this endeavor."
Lee said the 2000 death of his wife of 16 years in a horse-riding accident on the family's farm changed his life, from inspiring him to volunteer to how he viewed his work. He helped in a YMCA program aimed at assisting at-risk youth and mentored in Men of Valor, a re-entry program for former offenders.
That led him to become part of the state Higher Education Commission and a governor's task force on sentencing and recidivism. Lee said he developed "a vision for something bigger."
"What if I could make my life better for six and a half million people? That was a compelling thought to me," he said. "That is really what drove me to consider running for governor."
Lee said his faith would influence his decisions as governor if elected, although he is not running to focus on social issues.
"No one will outwork me and I will run the most aggressive campaign in Tennessee history," he said. "We may not have as much pocket change as everyone else, but we'll burn more shoe leather than anybody."
The only other Republican candidate actively campaigning around the state is Randy Boyd, Gov. Bill Haslam's former education adviser and economic development commissioner. Republican state Sen. Mark Green has put his gubernatorial ambitions on hold since being nominated by President Donald Trump to become the next secretary of the Army.
Information from: The Tennessean, http://www.tennessean.com