Gov. Lee Visits Elizabethton College to Hand Out Cash, Finds Protest Over His Refugee Resettlement Decision


Gov. Bill Lee went to Elizabethton last week to tout a college grant. He got that and more — including a protest over his refugee plan.

Lee visited the Tennessee College of Applied Technology-Elizabethton to talk about a $1 million grant but some people wanted to talk about refugees, WJHL reported.

Just before Christmas, Tennessee Republican Gov. Bill Lee announced that the state will not stop resettling refugees, even though Republican Lt. Gov. Randy McNally and Republican Speaker of the House Cameron Sexton said they disagree, The Tennessee Star reported.

Lee had this power, per an executive order from U.S. Republican President Donald Trump. Trump issued an executive order in September that asked states and cities to consent in writing if they want to continue refugee resettlements.

McNally and Sexton are not the only people who are upset, according to WJHL.

“He is not acting as a Tennessean,” said protester Elizabeth Cox. “We have homeless and veterans that are sleeping under boxcars and under bridges and freezing to death. We don’t need to look out for foreigners first.”

“He not only accepted them, he applied for them,” said Cox. “Our president had given the option for each state to make a choice and he specifically applied for them.”

WJHL reporter Anslee Daniel tweeted, “People are protesting Governor Lee and his decision to accept refugees into the state during his visit to TCAT in Elizabethton.”

The governor has tried to defend his decision in light of his religious faith and an appeal to President Donald Trump’s voters, The Star reported.

I think leadership requires that you act on your strong beliefs and principles and convictions and values. Mine are very conservative. Mine are very faith-oriented. I think about leaders that actually are getting things done and moving things in the right direction. And I see that happening. Consider President Trump.

Lee also issued a press release to that effect.

“The United States and Tennessee have always been, since the very founding of our nation, a shining beacon of freedom and opportunity for the persecuted and oppressed, particularly those suffering religious persecution,” said Governor Bill Lee. “My administration has worked extensively to determine the best outcome for Tennessee, and I will consent to working with President Trump and his administration to responsibly resettle refugees.”

If you were curious about the purpose of Lee’s visit, the grant that he announced dealt with providing equipment for programs such as robotics as well as STEM labs the college helped build in high schools, the Elizabethton Star reported.

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Jason M. Reynolds has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist at outlets of all sizes.
Photo “Protesting Gov. Lee’s Refugee Policy” by WJHL’s Anslee Daniel.







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2 Thoughts to “Gov. Lee Visits Elizabethton College to Hand Out Cash, Finds Protest Over His Refugee Resettlement Decision”

  1. Ralph

    A foolish move in many respects; not least of which he gave his detractors the exact thing they wanted, i.e., an issue to (rightly) criticize him for.

    Makes you wonder if he did this on purpose just to ensure he won’t have to serve another term without having the temerity to simply come out and say so.