Governor-elect Bill Lee may have a couple of high-profile applicants for his upcoming administration.
U.S. Rep. Diane Black (R-TN-07) and former State Sen. Jim Tracy (R-TN-14) are seeking jobs with Lee, The Tennessean reported.
The newspaper cited “three people familiar with the efforts of Black and Tracy.”
Some may find it ironic that Black, of Gallatin, wants to work for Lee as she ran against him in the Republican gubernatorial primary. Black called Lee a “moderate.” (She said the same of fellow competitor Randy Boyd.)
Her ad said, “Bill Lee’s a moderate too. He pushed for a liberal Nashville Mayor who tried to make Nashville a sanctuary city.”
Another ad said, “Bill Lee is the kind of Republican who helps Democrats get elected,” noting Lee’s previous campaign contributions to former Nashville Mayor Megan Barry, The Tennessean said.
The Lee Company sent a cease-and-desist letter to the gubernatorial campaign of Black in July, calling for the removal of information alleging the company wrongfully fired a veteran who once worked there, The Tennessee Star reported, citing a story in The Tennessee Journal’s On the Hill.
Lee spokeswoman Laine Arnold said, the administration has received nearly 1,700 submissions for ideas and nearly 600 resumes. Arnold declined to answer questions about Black and Tracy’s possible applications.
The Tennessean speculated Black could be a candidate for the Department of Health because she shares Lee’s opposition to expanding TennCare under the Affordable Care Act.
Meanwhile, Tracy could face a constitutional roadblock in applying for a job like the Department of Agriculture or Department of Transportation, The Tennessean said. Although he is currently the state director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development office, he was appointed in November 2017 while serving in the Tennessee General Assembly.
The newspaper said some believe the Tennessee Constitution would not allow the former legislator to serve in a state government post until 2020, when his term ends, while others say his term ended when he resigned. The Tennessean does not name the people speculating on Tracy.
Tracy was accused in January of violating the Hatch Act when he hosted a Nov. 16, 2017 fundraiser for Shane Reeves, who ran for his Senate seat. Matt Herriman, Reeves’ campaign manager, said Tracy did nothing wrong.
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Jason M. Reynolds has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist at outlets of all sizes.