More than two years ago, businessman Bill Lee, founder of the Lee Company,
He knew the process wouldn’t be easy. He was an outsider to the political process – running against seasoned politicians from both parties.
His company employs 1,200 skilled tradesmen al-ready, but Lee longed to make a difference on a larger scale.
Lee and his wife, Maria, prayed about their decision for a year before he entered the race and were pleased when he won the Republican primary to face-off against Democratic candidate, former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean.
“I am a person who gets asked all the time why I would want to run for governor,” Lee remarked during a final campaign stop at Cumberland University in October 2018. “I have a private life that is blessed, indeed, but I found myself on a journey. God puts us on journeys that lead us places unplanned.”
The polls on November 6, 2018, showed Tennesseans had voted Lee to be their next governor – and on Satur-day, January 19, 2019, he was sworn in.
Bill Lee is the 50th Governor of Tennessee.
A series of celebrations were held over the weekend, beginning with a Boots on Broadway party at Acme Feed & Seed on Friday, January 18.
An inaugural worship service kicked-off events on Saturday. The ceremony was held at Legislative Plaza, followed by a tour of the Tennessee State Capitol for supporters who signed-up.
Two balls were held that evening at the Music City Center – the First Couple’s Dinner and Ball and the Believe in Tennessee Ball.
Gov. Lee thanked the ticketholders in attendance.
“I am a little overwhelmed but so encouraged, so grateful, so humbled and so honored. So many people in this room have been responsible for where we are today and I just thank you … I certainly hoped (to be elected) but in some ways never imagined we would be standing here doing this,” he spoke to the crowd, with Maria by his side. “The Lord has been very good to us for our entire lives and through so many ups and downs, and certainly has been good to us in this last season of life. We are grateful to Him for what He has done and the spot He put us in.”
Lee next introduced special guests for the evening – which delighted the crowd at the Inaugural Ball. They were four-time CMA Entertainer of the Year, Luke Bryan, and outspoken country songstress, Wynonna.
Bryan said it was an honor for a “kid from Georgia” to play the governor’s inaugural ball.
He sang several of his hit songs and dedicated “Here’s to the Farmer” to the Lees as the couple had their first dance.
Lee concluded by reiterating his commitment to his posi-tion.
“We will live our lives in the fullest capacity we can to serve every single one of you and the 6.5 million people that live in our great state of Tennessee,” he said. “We are deeply indebted. We count it a true honor to be in the spot that you have put us in. We will work to serve you – thank you very, very much.”