Bill Lee has been busy traveling around Tennessee to campaign for governor and he has no plans to stop. Only now he plans to get around on a tractor.
The Williamson County businessman, who is in the race for the Republican nomination, is winding down his statewide tour in his campaign RV. In a news release Thursday, he announced that the next phase of his campaign will involve a statewide tractor tour starting in August.
“A tractor might not be the fastest way to get around, but I will take as much time as I need to bring attention to our rural communities,” said Lee, a cattleman and chairman of Lee Company, a large family-owned construction, facilities and home services company.
Lee also announced four major policy initiatives for his campaign:
- Promote the dignity of work and economic independence. (a) invest early in vocational, technical and agricultural education to increase the number of high school graduates ready to work, (b) strengthen work requirements for social programs to lead Tennesseans out of dependency and (c) reform state licensing laws to eliminate unnecessary government regulations that create a barrier to work for our citizens.
- Support innovation and technology to improve economic, health and educational opportunities. (a) reduce the tax burden for small businesses to reward entrepreneurship and investment in rural communities, (b) expand the availability of health care options through innovative investments in telemedicine and rural health residency incentives and (c) develop technology solutions to help rural schools deliver on their educational goals.
- Attack the epidemic of opioid abuse and addiction (a) seek significantly stronger penalties for drug traffickers, (b) invest in sustainable, community-based options that give non-violent addicts a path back to society and (c) crack down on the taxpayer funding of addictive drugs.
- Strengthen our state’s commitment to faith, community, and family (a) increase our support for civic and character education to help our schools build the next generation of productive citizens, (b) strengthen our support for children in need, particularly at DCS and in our juvenile justice system and (c) ensure that state policies are protecting and encouraging strong families and communities.
Lee has never held elected office but has held leadership roles in community organizations and Christian ministry programs. He serves as the 7th congressional district’s representative to the Tennessee Higher Education Commission and on the board of trustees at Belmont University.Businessman Randy Boyd and State Sen. Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet) have also launched campaigns to run for governor on the Republican ticket in the 2018 race, and U.S. Rep. Diane Black (R-TN-6) and House Speaker Beth Harwell (R-Nashville) are considering entering the race. State Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris (R-Collierville) had also been considering joining the race, but on Thursday was nominated by President Trump to be a federal judge in West Tennessee.
Former Nashville mayor Karl Dean is the only Democrat running at this point, but House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh (D-Ripley) is expected to join the race.