The day after he was elected as the 50th Governor of Tennessee, Bill Lee announced the launch of a new transition website.
The website, transition.billlee.com, “seeks to engage Tennesseans to help share ideas to help take our state from good to great,” alluding to the 2001 management book. Lee referenced the book as he made his final campaign stops on the Believe in Tennessee Tour.
Lee elaborated during his Believe in Tennessee tour that good can be the enemy of great by inhibiting the ability to move to the next level. Lee would say, “Tennessee should not just be better, but should lead the nation and show how to address the serious problems.”
Lee encourages sharing of ideas to “unleash the extraordinary problem-solving potential of Tennessee,” on the website’s landing page where Tennesseans have the opportunity to express “Your Ideas for Your Government.” No doubt, Lee heard lots of ideas as he visited each of the 95 counties on several occasions over the course of the gubernatorial campaign via his and Maria’s used RV, not to mention the tractor tour.
Following an introduction to the Governor-Elect, the website features an overview of Lee’s priorities. The list includes topics familiar to those who followed the Lee for Governor campaign, including creating jobs and growing our economy including agriculture; education with a renewed focus on career, technical and agricultural education; safe neighborhoods; and rural communities.
Newer additions include a healthier Tennessee, the opioid epidemic, transportation and infrastructure, as well as an open and responsive government.
When it comes to infrastructure, it’s no surprise that Lee would apply a “business-minded approach” regarding management of infrastructure assets, with less focus on “flashy projects and more on fiscally responsible, long-term solutions.”
Embracing technology and promoting cost-effective alternatives, Lee has committed to work on reducing highway gridlock without new debt or raising taxes. Lee, who ran a clean campaign not disparaging his Republican primary or general election opponents, stayed the course by not mentioning Governor Bill Haslam’s fuel tax and fee increasing IMPROVE Act.
Under an open and responsive government, Lee “will get out of the bubble of Nashville to deliver State of the State addresses in all three Grand Divisions throughout his tenure,” offering Tennesseans a refreshing change to his predecessor who is probably remembered getting out of Nashville primarily for ribbon cuttings and promoting his IMPROVE Act.
Leading an overhaul of the open records and meetings acts caught the immediate attention of the Tennessee Coalition for Open Government. TCOG Executive Director Deborah Fisher, after quoting Lee’s transition website on the topic, summarized some of the recent activities related to and issues with the open records laws in particular, including the numerous statutory exemptions to public access.
The transition website also features a “Join The Team” page, allowing interested parties to submit their resume and identify their area of interest from a list of 23 areas within the Administration, including the Governor’s Office itself.