Gov-elect Lee clarifies changes to State of the State speech
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — After running as a political outsider during his successful gubernatorial campaign, Republican Bill Lee says he’ll continue to stay out of the “bubble of Nashville” by delivering his State of the State address throughout various locations in Tennessee.
However, Lee’s transition has since clarified the governor-elect has no plans to flout state law.
″(Lee) will get out of the bubble of Nashville to deliver State of the State addresses in all three Grand Divisions throughout his tenure,” Lee’s transition website states.
In Tennessee, state law specifically outlines that the governor’s speech must be conducted inside the House chamber inside the Capitol.
“The general assembly shall by joint resolution call a joint convention of the senate and house of representatives to convene in the chamber of the house of representatives for the purpose of hearing a state-of-the-state address by the governor,” Tennessee code reads.
Lee’s spokeswoman Laine Arnold said Friday the Republican will follow state law, but has plans to deliver the same speech throughout the state.
“Bill will give the State of the State speech in the House Chamber each year as mandated by the statute,” Arnold said. “But he also plans to give addresses outside of Nashville around the State of the State to engage with Tennesseans.”
The promise to switch up the State of the State speech is tucked inside a long list of priorities on Lee’s campaign transition website that launched just a day after winning Tuesday’s election against Democrat Karl Dean.
Lee secured the victory as a first-time political candidate. Yet now that he’s won’s the statewide office, all eyes are waiting to see how he’ll govern.
While Lee hasn’t tipped his hand yet on what specific policy proposals he’ll push during his first legislative session, his transition website offers hints ranging from supporting vocation education to overhauling the state’s open records laws.
Included in the list is the State of the State — a high-profile event for any governor because it serves as the official kickoff to the legislative session.
Tennessee law dictates that the governor’s State of the State speech is encouraged to focus on the progress of the state, major problems currently facing the state and any upcoming challenges that can be “reasonably anticipated in the coming year.”