Release: Northeast Tennessee Leaders Backing Bill Lee in Advance of Debate

Release: Northeast Tennessee Leaders Backing Bill Lee in Advance of Debate

KINGSPORT, Tenn. – Bill Lee, a Williamson County businessman and farmer, and Republican gubernatorial nominee announced support from leaders in Northeast Tennessee in advance of Tuesday’s second general election debate in Tri-Cities.


“It’s an honor to have these strong leaders be a part of my team,” said Lee. “Northeast Tennessee has strong economic, educational and agricultural opportunities and I look forward to working with these leaders to make sure we are maximizing everything this area has to offer.”


Throughout his campaign, Lee has engaged leaders from law enforcement, the faith community, business leaders, educators, veterans and healthcare leaders in shaping a vision for Tennessee.


Previously announced County Captains include: Cathy Adams (Hawkins County), Paula Beddingfield (Unicoi County), Joe Begley (Sullivan County), Calvin Clifton (Sullivan County), Colette George (Sullivan County), Joseph Icenhour (Johnson County), Dan Mahoney (Washington County), Brett Purgason (Greene County), Lynn Richardson (Carter County), Mayor David Tomita (Washington County), Stacy Vaughn (Sullivan County), Karen Weaver (Johnson County) and Mayor Kelly Wolfe (Washington County).

Leaders offered the following comments, highlighting strong support for Lee’s leadership and plans for education, economic development and public safety.


Mayor John Clark, Kingsport City Mayor: “I’m supporting Bill Lee because he represents Tennessee’s conservative values and he’s a successful business leader with a great vision for our state. I’m very confident Bill’s leadership will continue to move Tennessee forward!”


Mayor Dan Eldridge, Former Washington County Mayor: “Bill Lee is the leader Tennessee is looking for to build on the great strides in education, job creation and smaller government we have experienced over the past eight years. Bill is business minded and his outsider perspective will keep Tennessee focused on results not politics so that we remain competitive in attracting jobs and investment.”


Mayor Joe Grandy, Washington County Mayor: “Bill Lee’s business leadership skills will make him an excellent governor for our state. I appreciate his commitment to vocational, technical and agricultural education in public schools through private-sector partnerships.  Bill’s approach offers opportunity to Washington County citizens without costly government projects while fostering positive relationships between students, tradespeople and our business community.  His promise to support rural areas includes a plan to improve the lives of rural Tennesseans and that focus will benefit the entire Northeastern Tennessee region.  Bill has visited us dozens of times, understands our issues and I look forward to our partnership with him as governor.”

Major General Gary L. Harrell, US Army, retired: “
I support Bill Lee because he is a Tennessee businessman and not a professional politician.  Bill knows the problems with making payroll and taking care of all the employees that work for him. He also understands the difference between managers and leaders, and he is clearly a leader. Bill understands what Tennessee needs and he formed that knowledge by working in Tennessee and traveling around the state, sometimes on a slow-moving tractor, to get more exposure to the average Tennessean for a better understanding of Tennessee issues. Bill is a staunch supporter of our military based on my one-on-one conversations with him about the issues he will face as governor. Please join me in sending Bill Lee, a strong leader to Nashville.”


Pastor Bill Houck, NorthStar Baptist Church: “I have had the privilege to not only spend time with Bill Lee, but also the opportunity to bow our heads and pray together. I know Bill to be man of great character, integrity, and faith. As a pastor, as a voter, and as a resident of this state, I know Bill Lee is the man God has for Tennessee.”


Congressman Bill Jenkins, Former Congressman, 1st District: “Bill Lee is a successful businessman, a lifelong farmer, a dedicated Christian and a person with a great positive vision to advance our state.  He is deeply interested in the future of our greatest asset—our children.  I highly recommend him to be our next governor.”


Alan Levine, Executive Chairman, Ballad Health: “Bill Lee is the only candidate for governor who has built a company, created jobs, and bought health care for his employees and their families. He isn’t just talking about the things important to Tennessee families and small business owners – he’s lived them. That’s why he is winning, and its why he will be a great governor!”


Reverend Sheldon Livesay, Founding Director, Of One Accord Ministry: “I met Bill and Maria when they first started their campaign and spent an afternoon with us in Rogersville.  We had the opportunity to pray together. He’s gained valuable leadership experience managing a large farm, stewarding a business and serving on the boards for several charities, I believe Bill Lee will most closely lead Tennessee with platform principles that will please God and bring His favor and blessings to the people of this state. He comes with a wide background of experience that would represent Tennesseans well.”


Scott Niswonger, CEO and philanthropist: “Bill is a proven business leader who brings fresh perspective from the private and non-profit sectors. He has the executive experience needed for the job as governor and will work tirelessly to make sure Tennesseans have every opportunity to thrive.”


Barry Staubus, District Attorney General, 2nd District: “I support Bill Lee because he a principled man of faith with a deep and sincere desire to improve the life of Tennesseans.  His business acumen, life experiences, and commitment to conservative values will make him a great governor.”


Mayor David Tomita, Johnson City Mayor: “I can’t wait for folks who haven’t gotten to meet and hear Bill to do so on Tuesday. I’ve never been so energized about a campaign, including my own!”


Alexander Whitaker, University President: “Bill Lee understands the critical role Tennessee’s private colleges and universities play in making our state attractive to business, and providing opportunity for young people and adult learners, alike. He understands that we do this with proven successful results at much lower cost to the Tennessee taxpayer.”


Kelly Wolfe, Former Jonesborough Mayor: “No one has shown a stronger commitment to the people of Tennessee during this campaign than Bill Lee. He has crisscrossed the state multiple times and knows the needs, interests, and concerns of the people. He is a great man, a great conservative, and he will be a great governor for our state.”


Get updates from the campaign
Seventh Generation Tennessean
Man of Faith
Conservative Outsider
Help Us Grow Our Campaign