During his campaign for governor, candidate Bill Lee released his “Ten for Tenn” plan that he called his “contract with Tennesseans.” He was very specific about his view that this somewhat detailed plan of action was a “contract.”
“As a CEO, it is important to set the vision for my company, and I believe it is just as important to set the vision for the state as governor,” Lee said in a statement announcing his agenda, sent out as a press release by his campaign on July 3, 2018. “‘Ten for Tenn’ is my contract with Tennesseans, and I look forward to working to enact my conservative vision for Tennessee.”
Lee tweeted about his “Ten for Tenn” contract with Tennesseans two days after he announced it, July 5, 2018, just one month before the Republican gubernatorial primary.
— Bill Lee (@BillLeeTN) July 5, 2018
The Lee plan listed ten general agenda items that ranged from rethinking public education and “getting tough” on the state budget, to pursuing term limits and creating a new Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. The link on his campaign site, which used the url: https://www.billlee.com/tenfortenn/ when the plan was first announced in July, now no longer takes you to his “Ten for Tenn” plan.
That page has vanished.
Clicking on that url today just forwards you to the main campaign website url, https://www.billlee.com, which simply thanks voters of Tennessee for his election.
Fortunately, The Tennessee Star saved the list when we first reported on the announcement back on July 5:
1. Foster an Environment Where Jobs Continue to Grow
2. Rethink Public Education with Major Vocational Reforms, Real School Choice, and Civics Education
3. Stand up for Rural Tennessee by Expanding Economic Opportunity and Winning the War On Opioids
4. Get Tough on the State Budget by Making Government Smaller and More Efficient
5. Ensure New Voices in Nashville by Passing Term Limits and the Challenging the Influence Culture of Insiders
6. Create a New Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives
7. Make Government More Accessible, Open, and Accountable to Taxpayers
8. Protect and Defend a Culture of Life
9. Defend Our Constitutional Liberties Without Compromise
10. Enforce the Rule of Law on Immigration
The Tennessee Journal also published an article on July 5 about Lee’s “Ten for Tenn” contract with Tennesseans, which included the full Lee campaign statement on the contract, which included the same ten agenda items identified in The Star article.
A quick glance at the Governor-elect Bill Lee transition page, that contains the new agenda of priorities in place of his “Ten for Tenn” indicates that it is already down to only NINE separate items.
Enforcing the Rule of Law on Immigration is gone. (#10) And contract item #6, creating a new office of Faith-based and Community Initiatives, has apparently been replaced by Transportation and Infrastructure. (Apparently the road builders are a more powerful lobbying group than the faith-based community.)
His new agenda doesn’t include his previous pledge to pass term limits and “Challenging the Influence Culture of Insiders”. (Contract item #5.) Instead, he has lobbyists actively helping him select who will serve in the senior positions in his Administration and Cabinet. (The bureaucracy is pretty powerful, too.)
Stopping the opioid epidemic is now a stand-alone item rather than being lumped with rural economic development, which is now two items: Growing the Agriculture Economy and Supporting Our Rural Communities. And he has replaced a promise to get tough on the state budget by making the government smaller and more efficient (contract item #4) with promoting a “healthier Tennessee.” Does that mean another Haslam-like attempt at expanding Obamacare as the healthcare lobbyists who are already feeding at the Bill Lee trough start showing their clout?
Lee also now includes a priority of making neighborhoods safer through enforcement of the “rule of law” and criminal justice reform, which apparently means release of more felons from prison to get them back on the streets — and probably voting again. No mention of that “rule of law” meaning dealing with illegal aliens and addressing sanctuary city policies that he touted during the campaign and in his “contract.” Nor does his “new” list of priorities include any reference to protecting the “culture of life.” (Contract item #8.)
And while education remains a key part of Lee’s agenda, the “school choice” portion has disappeared – along with any mention of “civics education” that was part of his “contract” with Tennesseans. Oh, and item #9 – Defending our Constitutional Liberties – is missing as well.
So, to recap, Bill Lee’s self-described campaign contract with Tennesseans” contained TEN items. SEVEN of the itemized provisions of his “Ten for Tenn” promise have already been abandoned from his list of “priorities” (#s 2,4,5,6,8,9,10) and he hasn’t even been sworn in yet. Even IF he keeps his word on the other three promises he made as a candidate, isn’t a meager 30 percent performance of a contract a pretty clear breach?
And some wonder why The Tennessee Star keeps pointing out that “personnel is policy.”
As we start to see the new priorities produced by his Administration, the product of Lee’s flawed personnel choices will become more abundantly clear to those who bought into his “contract with Tennesseans.”