Eight GOP County Chairs Want State Legislators to Come Back to Check Bill Lee’s Powers During COVID-19 Pandemic

Bill Lee


GOP officials from eight Tennessee counties sent a letter to Gov. Bill Lee Monday pleading with him to repeal all restrictions on businesses and gatherings of any kind after the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the letter, they also asked Lee to end the state legislature’s current recess.

Coffee County GOP Chair Richard Brooks, one of the eight co-signers, told The Tennessee Star Monday that state legislators, once they return, will “do the work of the people.”

“Yes, [if legislators come back] they will talk about making more laws, but, also, it’s a check on the governor’s power and authority during this emergency proclamation that he’s made,” Brooks said.

“Our system of government is set up so that no one person has ultimate power and authority. So, at this point, the governor’s authority during a declared state of emergency just gives some kind of carte blanche rulership over the state. What we want is to go in the direction of ‘open the state back up, lead from the front, and let the legislators do their job being a separate body of government.’”

Lee’s staff members did not return a request for comment Monday.

Maury County GOP Chair Jason Whatley, meanwhile, said Tennessee’s rural counties deserve to have a voice in how state officials respond to COVID-19.

“We are of the opinion that the people are smart enough to make these decisions on our own and that we have missed the boat when it comes to everything about the shutdowns. We are accepting the word of the government as being the final word as if they have a lock on all knowledge,” Whatley told The Star.

“When did we as Americans exit off the ramp of liberty and believe that is just the way it is? Especially when you are talking about governmental policies that curtail or completely dismantle your basic civil liberties?”

In their letter, the eight co-signers told Lee that they believe he has done the best he could during this emergency.

“It’s fair to say that no governor enjoys the full support of his/her people in terms of their state’s response to this issue,” the GOP officials told the governor.

“Having said that, the leadership of these Republican County parties believes strongly that the State of Tennessee needs to take the lead, unique from all other states, in putting this matter behind us for good.”

Read the letter:

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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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6 Thoughts to “Eight GOP County Chairs Want State Legislators to Come Back to Check Bill Lee’s Powers During COVID-19 Pandemic”

  1. CollegeGrover

    Gov. Lee is striking a good balance so far. Some people you can never please unless you are with them on every single issue.

  2. 83ragtop50

    This is exactly what I asked my representative to do more than two weeks ago. I elected him to represent my best interests. I did not vote for Lee to be a single-handed ruler.

  3. Sim

    Coludn’t agree more.

    “Get er done”.

  4. Kevin

    I was skeptical when the word “pandemic” was first being popularized, and usually, I’d be all for this kind of effort. AND, maybe this letter will be extra incentive for the Governor to do what citizens want. BUT, where were these people back four, five or six weeks ago? Now that the reality of the morbidity of Covid-19 is understood, now, all the “armchair quarterbacks” coming out, really?

    Since the public rallies for reopening Tennessee, Governor Lee has very admirably responded and adjusted his strategy accordingly! It’s been an eye-opening, learning experience for all of us. Let’s see how well we’ve all learned the lessons!

    1. Ralph

      Actually, the Governor was made aware of one of the first comprehensive studies, out of Marseilles, that study concluded the virus was no more a threat than the common flu. Here’s a link to the study:


      That was in March. Gov. Lee is not being “data driven” at all, despite his assertions to the contrary. He is being led by the nose by the TN Dept. of Health which, in turn, is being led by the nose by CDC and NIAID, i.e. career bureaucrats appointed by Democrats. In Fauci’s instance, he was called out as a clown (their words, not mine) since the 70’s -yet, he remains. Why? Not only that, but Fauci has been all over the map on this – at first he was completely dismissive, that was in January. Then he pivots to it being the worst disaster imaginable. Again, why? Cui bono?