LEBANON, Tennessee – There was no conflict or drama Thursday as all five members of the Wilson County Commission’s Legislative Committee voted unanimously to oppose Tennessee Republican Gov. Bill Lee on refugee resettlement.
There was just a lot of agreement among commissioners, who said they believe Lee’s plan does not serve Wilson County particularly well.
County commissioners took less than five minutes to discuss the matter, which now goes to the full commission to consider. They will likely do so at their next scheduled meeting on January 27 at the Wilson County Courthouse.
Committee members said they couldn’t believe Lee didn’t approach state legislators first before he decided Tennessee would continue to allow refugee resettlement around the state.
Other committee members stated flat out they think of Lee’s directive as an unfunded mandate.
They said communities such as Lebanon and Watertown are already struggling to make it with what they have, and they cannot afford to take in more refugees.
Those five Legislative Committee members were commissioners Joe Ali, Sue Vanatta, Sara Patton, Bobby Franklin, and Dan Walker.
Former Wilson County GOP Chair Terri Nicholson, who was one of about 15 people present, said the outcome of Thursday’s meeting pleased her.
“I think it sends a strong message to the legislators that this county really wants you to take us serious, and we really need you to listen to what we want,” Nicholson told The Tennessee Star.
“If you are representing your constituents in your county then you would do well to pay attention to what people are saying. I think this is a strong statement to not only the legislature but to the governor as well.”
As The Star reported this week, officials in several other Tennessee counties have announced they either will or will likely oppose Lee’s decision to continue resettling refugees throughout the state.
Those counties include Bedford, Fayette, Dyer, Franklin, Stewart, Tipton, Cannon, Macon, and Loudon.
In September, U.S. Republican President Donald Trump issued an executive order that enabled state and local governments to refuse resettling any more refugees in their states or localities.
As reported, Lee cited his Christian faith as one of his reasons for taking in more refugees.
But as reported Wednesday, a Clinton-appointed federal judge issued a preliminary injunction halting Trump’s Executive Order 13888.
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