Lee responds to Dean's claim that he lacks leadership experience

Hank Hayes • Sep 8, 2018 at 8:30 AM

ROGERSVILLE — Tennessee GOP gubernatorial nominee Bill Lee had a response Friday to Democrat nominee Karl Dean’s claim that he has a “strong advantage against his opponent with significant leadership experience.”

Lee, during a “Believe In Tennessee” campaign stop at Occasions On The Square, pointed out he’s been an executive leader in private business.

“As an executive leader and one who has had a life of executive leadership running a quarter-billion corporation and chairing one of the largest nonprofits in the state and presiding over one of the largest construction industry organization in the state, I have led a life of executive leadership,” Lee noted. “This is the executive branch of government and I think that leadership is important, particularly leadership from outside government to bring fresh ideas into government.”

Lee and Dean, the former Nashville mayor, are scheduled to debate in Kingsport on Oct. 9 at the Eastman Employee Center. The event is being organized by the Kingsport Times News and Johnson City Press.

Lee, during the GOP primary cycle, conducted a “Faith In Tennessee” tour of nonprofits and numerous town hall meetings. He recalled that his early campaign stops didn’t have many attendees.

“We have come here several times,” Lee, a Williamson County businessman and cattle farmer, told Hawkins County Republicans. “ … It’s true. We stopped at the Pig and Chick. I don’t remember how many people were there, but there were not very many. … Things have changed, and we’re very grateful for that.”

Lee again pledged to focus on improving technical education in Tennessee and working on reducing inmate recidivism.

“That’s got to be changed if we want to lower the crime rate in this state,” Lee said of recidivism.

Lee said the plan moving toward the November general election is doing day-to-day campaign barnstorming across the state.

“We have three of these (campaign stops) today and five of these tomorrow, and we will be taking the message to every county in the state. That’s the plan,” he concluded.