For the next several months, four women and two men will duke it out to win the Republican nomination towards becoming the next governor of Tennessee.
Candidates are Diane Black, U.S. Representative; Randy Boyd, Knoxville resident and former Commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development; Beth Harwell, Speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives; Bill Lee, Williamson County businessman; Kay White, realtor and Tea Party activist from Johnson City, and state Sen. Mae Beavers.
A series of forums, opening remarks followed by a question-and-answer session, will be held at First Baptist Concord so residents in the 14th District can hear candidates’ views and have the opportunity to ask questions.
The candidates will be brought in one at a time, beginning with Lee, from 6:30 to 8 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 26, in the Gathering Space, just inside the front doors.
“April 24 of this year, we — my wife, Maria, and I — made the announcement,” Lee said. “I say ‘we’ because it’s a team effort.”
About his reasons for running, Lee said, “No matter what area you’re in in Tennessee, whether you’re in Farragut, whether you’re in urban Memphis, whether you’re in rural Unicoi County, people want a good job, a good school for their kid and a safe neighborhood … That’s what my focus would be,” he said. “My wife and I bought an old RV and went to 95 counties in 95 days. That’s what we found.”
He wants to address four issues in his “Roadmap for Rural Tennessee:” No. 1, “to promote the dignity that comes with work — moving people from dependence on the government to financial independence,” he said.
No. 2 “is to really utilize innovation and technology in a more powerful way.
“The third is addressing the opioid crisis with everything we have,” he added. “The state data shows there were over 1,000 overdose deaths in the state last year and there were over 1,000 babies born addicted to opioids, which costs $60,000 to treat an opioid-addicted infant — besides the fact that if affects their life forever. ...”
“The fourth component is what we’re calling ‘Faith, Family and Community.’ It is reminding ourselves of the things that made us great and engaging ourselves in that conversation. There’s an existing faith-based, nonprofit community that can be utilized for much of what we need to do.”
The next scheduled speaker at FBC is Harwell, Tuesday, Oct. 24.