Lee’s first executive order seeks to focus attention on distressed counties

Bill Lee delivers his inaugural address in Nashville on Jan. 19, 2019. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Gov. Bill Lee in his first executive order aims to focus state agencies on improving services for Tennessee’s 15 economically distressed counties.

Here’s the full release:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Today, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee issued his first executive order, requiring all state executive departments to issue a statement of rural impact and provide recommendations for better serving rural Tennessee.

“My administration will place a high emphasis on the development and success of our rural areas,” said Lee. “Our first executive order sends a clear message that rural areas will be prioritized across all departments as we work to improve coordination in our efforts.”

This executive order is the first step by the administration to accelerate plans to address 15 distressed counties in Tennessee which are all rural. The order requires each executive department to submit a statement of rural impact explaining how the department serves rural Tennesseans no later than May 31, 2019 and recommendations for improving that service by June 30, 2019.

“Our state has reached historic levels of prosperity and I want to ensure that the 15 distressed counties in our state benefit from a concentrated mission,” said Lee. “Each department has communicated full support as we move forward with putting this plan into motion.”

There are 22 executive departments that will engage in this review and recommendation process. Distressed counties rank among the 10 percent most economically distressed counties in the nation. Each year, the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) prepares an index of county economic status for every county in the United States.

The 15 distressed counties in Tennessee include: Lake, Lauderdale, Hardeman, McNairy, Perry, Jackson, Clay, Grundy, Van Buren, Bledsoe, Fentress, Morgan, Scott, Hancock and Cocke.

4 Responses to Lee’s first executive order seeks to focus attention on distressed counties

  • Ed Smith says:

    Great initiative.
    How to instill hope in our 15 distressed counties for a stronger economy will likely be job 1.
    I hope the state departments will make it clear in their corrective recommendations how individual Tennesseans can pitch in and help.

  • James White says:

    Please don’t get ‘free’ Federal Grants! (they aint free)

  • David Collins says:

    Hold on a minute. Didn’t I hear him say in his inaugural speech that government was NEVER what solved problems? I had expected an executive order that dissolved all departments since they are incapable of solving anything.

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