Wilson County Commissioners Kill Resolution That Would Have Opposed Governor Bill Lee on Refugee Resettlement


LEBANON, Tennessee – A majority of Wilson County commissioners voted Monday night to indefinitely postpone voting on a resolution that would have opposed Tennessee Republican Gov. Bill Lee on the issue of refugee resettlement.

Lee, as reported, wants to continue resettling refugees throughout the state.

Sixteen commissioners voted to table the issue — effectively killing it. Six commissioners voted not to table it. One commissioner abstained. Two commissioners were absent.

One commissioner said this is not something the county government ought to work on and that this is instead a national and state issue.

Immediately after the vote, a small group of people who did not identify themselves applauded and immediately left the commission chambers. One man who was upset about the outcome asked one of the people, a woman, if she even lived in Wilson County. The woman said she did.

Monday’s vote was a stark contrast to how members of the county’s Legislative Committee voted on the matter earlier this month.

As The Tennessee Star reported, there was no conflict or drama at that meeting as all five committee members voted unanimously to oppose Lee on refugee resettlement.

Those commissioners said they believe Lee’s plan does not serve Wilson County particularly well.

Commissioners at that Legislative Committee meeting took less than five minutes to discuss the matter. At that meeting, 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.

As The Star reported this month, 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.

Gov. Lee cited his Christian faith as one of his reasons for taking in more refugees.

A Bill Clinton-appointed federal judge issued a preliminary injunction halting Trump’s Executive Order 13888 earlier this month.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]





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12 Thoughts to “Wilson County Commissioners Kill Resolution That Would Have Opposed Governor Bill Lee on Refugee Resettlement”

  1. […] The Star reported last month, 16 commissioners voted to table the issue — effectively killing it. Six commissioners voted not […]

  2. Jack Dobson

    Bill Lee will be the first governor in recent Tennessee to draw a serious primary opponent. Take it to the bank.

  3. CCW

    “Gov. Lee cited his Christian faith as one of his reasons for taking in more refugees.”
    Really? ? ? You don’t step all over the people you represent to satisfy your altruistic motivations. My Bible gives a word to those who would be wise:
    Proverbs 14:12 (post modern translation) “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.”

  4. J. Raspail

    It’s too late.

  5. 83ragtop50

    Sounds like it is time to replace a bunch of Wilson County commissioners. Their job is to represent the county citizens. They are not doing their job.

  6. William R. Delzell

    Evidently, not all Tennessee Republicans are on board for condemning Governor Lee on the refugee issue. Is this a hopeful sign that not all Republicans are bigots?

    1. Horatio Bunce

      The article did not mention any party affiliation of the commissioners. But they did nothing.

      It will suddenly become their problem when they have to pay more local taxes to fund the “free” public services required. I’ll bet they will then take state and federal taxpayer money rather than endure the consequences of their non-action.

    2. Stuart I. Anderson

      Actually it’s a depressing sign that all too many Republican officeholders are Tall Grass Republicans who head for the tall grass whenever there is any danger that a virtue signaler might charge them with being bigot. Thanks to votes like the one held by the Wilson County Commission Monday night, the voters now know who they are so they can mow the Tall Grass next election.

    3. lb

      I am a BIGOT because I support NOT taking any more refugees? A BIGOT who prefers their hard earned Tax $ to go towards solving our OWN HOMEGROWN issues like Homelessness, Poverty, etc? A BIGOT who thinks that having a school District (Nashville Metro) where over 100 LANGUAGES is spoken meaning MILLIONS of Tax $ goes to ESL programs instead of to basic Literacy programs for our OWN children?
      BIGOT–what a lazy, stupid insult.
      The BIGOT seems to be the person using the phrase to address those of us who have well founded, well grounded, well thought out opinions of this issue?

  7. midnitelamp

    memo to Governor: send all the “refugees” to Wilson co.

  8. scary times

    Its ALL about the money ! While ALL our communities become poorer and poorer those in authority continue push on with the same agenda, to do little for “the people”.
    Bill Lee is a bleeding heart liberal in republican clothing.
    These people are the demons who GOD warned us about, but they cant see themselves as such. How many drug overdose deaths in your community, this first month of 2020 ? How many hospitals are on the verge of closer this month?