As a 7th Generation Tennessean, Bill’s Roots Run Deep in This State
On November 6, 2018, Bill Lee was elected to serve as the 50th Governor of Tennessee. As a seventh-generation Tennessean, Bill’s roots run deep in this state. He was born in Franklin where he still resides today with his wife Maria on his family’s farm. He’s the proud father of four adult children (Jessica, twin sons Jacob and Caleb, and Sarah Kate) and five grandchildren.
After attending Williamson County Schools, Bill went to Auburn University, where he studied Mechanical Engineering. When he graduated, he returned home to Franklin to join the family business his grandfather started in 1944. Through hard work, Bill learned what it takes to lead a company, doing what is necessary to help build a business and create jobs. He held several roles at Lee Company before becoming President of the company in 1992. Under Bill’s leadership, the company grew into a comprehensive facilities solutions and home services company.
Now, Lee Company employs more than 1,200 individuals with annual revenues in excess of $220 million. The company has won numerous awards for work culture and business accomplishments. Bill was named a “Most Admired CEO” in 2015 by the Nashville Business Journal and Lee Company was chosen by The Tennessean as the best large company to work for three years in a row.
In addition to his responsibilities as Chairman of Lee Company, Bill is also active in Triple L Ranch, a third-generation family farm founded by his grandparents. Triple L Ranch operates a 1,000-acre, 300-head Hereford cattle operation.
As Governor-elect, Bill is focused on several priorities to keep Tennessee moving in the right direction, so it is not only one of the best places to work and raise family, but that it will lead the nation. This includes initiatives like expanding vocational education in our state, ensuring our rural areas thrive, and rethinking our criminal justice system.
Bill is a man of faith, and he and Maria are active in Grace Chapel Church and in numerous faith-based ministries, which have taken him all over the world to serve people in need, including to Africa, Central America, and the Middle East.
Creating Jobs and Growing our Economy
Opportunity starts with the promise of a high-quality job and the dignity that comes with work.
A proven business leader for 35 years, leading over 1,000 skilled tradesmen, Bill knows how to create jobs. He will invest in new partnerships for improved vocational, technical, and agricultural education so that every student has an opportunity to compete in the workplace.
As an employer, Bill knows that a tax on a business is a tax on jobs, and that’s why he is committed to reducing the tax burden on our job-creators and that we continue to support economic development across our state.
Education is the Key for Tennessee to Lead the Nation
The foundation to a great job and a safe neighborhood is a strong education system. Bill will continue moving Tennessee forward by bringing a renewed focus on career, technical and agricultural education.
He will lift up our state’s teachers, reducing our testing burden with fewer and better tests, and improving the working environment through competitive compensation and professional development opportunities.
He will remain committed to quality early childhood education, putting a focus on quality support for teachers, and ensuring that we meet our benchmarks for literacy.
Safe Neighborhoods for Every Community
Bill knows that the primary duty of governor is enforcing the rule of law and protecting the safety and security of its citizens. At a time when Tennessee’s violent crime rate is rising in its major cities, Bill will work closely with communities and local law enforcement to stop the flow of illegal drugs, stop gang violence, and address the needs for sustainable juvenile justice reforms to keep our communities safe and secure.
Bill will reform our criminal justice system, working to make sure those who are incarcerated are prepared to re-enter society, not re-enter prison.
A Healthier Tennessee
Every Tennessean deserves access to quality health care that they can afford. However, our broken health care system, under federal policies, has seen an unsustainable rise in the costs of care.
Bill will make competition and choice a priority in our health care system, creating an environment for providers to improve quality and reduce cost rather than increase volume. He’ll cut through the bureaucracy to make it easier for providers to deliver quality care, and, turning our state’s attention towards Tennessee’s own capacity to innovate.
Bill also knows that in order for us to slow the rising costs of health care, we have to acknowledge the role of wellness. He will reform TennCare to make reducing preventable disease a priority, and he will put the resources in place to educate patients and encourage healthy lifestyles.
Supporting Our Rural Communities
As a product of rural Tennessee, Bill knows that Tennessee is a rural state with big cities. After touring the state, Bill has seen and heard first-hand how much Tennessee’s rural communities are hurting. Bill will lead a concerted, consistent effort that builds for the future and reflects the fundamental values of Tennessee.
That’s why Bill developed the Roadmap for Rural Tennessee, four areas he will focus on as governor to increase opportunities in rural Tennessee and address some of the most pressing issues facing the region.
Whether it is improving access to economic opportunity, expanding the supply of sustainable health options, or improving access to technology, Bill is committed to governing for ALL of Tennessee, not just the big cities.
Growing the Agriculture Economy
As a cattleman, Bill knows when our farmers do well, we all do well. He will strengthen our support for farmers, by improving our ag-enhancement program, supporting the development of rural broadband infrastructure, and putting Tennessee in a position to lead in the emerging ag-technology revolution.
Bill will also remain committed to expanding vocational, technical, and agricultural education in Tennessee, putting the resources in place to fully support our agricultural students and teachers in the classroom and through youth-development programs.
Stopping the Opioid Epidemic
Last year over 1,500 Tennesseans died of an opioid overdose, and over 1,000 Tennessee children were born addicted to opioids. To solve this problem, we need to address the cause and the symptoms.
Bill will empower law enforcement to have the tools and resources they need to keep Tennessee safe and fight the trafficking of opioids.
To address the cause, we also need to treat mental health and substance abuse. Bill knows we cannot incarcerate someone out of addiction. He will support and invest in sustainable, community-based options that give non-violent addicts a path back to society.
Transportation and Infrastructure
Bill knows that a strong infrastructure system is vital to our state’s economy and that an aging infrastructure puts our state’s economic and public safety at risk. It is important we bring a business-minded approach to managing our infrastructure assets, focusing less on flashy projects and more on fiscally responsible, long-term solutions.
Bill will work to reduce highway gridlock without taking on debt or raising taxes by embracing technology and promoting cost-effective alternatives. He will commit to a true multi-modal vision for our state’s transportation networks. Whether its improvements to the Port of Memphis or the Chickamauga lock for barge shipping or supporting Tennessee’s network of rural airfields, Bill’s Department of Transportation will continue to improve and strengthen our transportation network across all of Tennessee.
An Open and Responsive Government
Tennessee taxpayers deserve a transparent and open government. Bill will initiate a new program to invite and receive public comments on new laws before signing, and he will get out of the bubble of Nashville to deliver State of the State addresses in all three Grand Divisions throughout his tenure. Bill will lead a complete overhaul of our open records and open meetings acts to make government more transparent to you.