Lee cabinet

Sheriff Jeff Long to be named Lee’s safety commissioner

Gov.-elect Bill Lee plans to name Williamson County Sheriff Jeff Long as commissioner of the state Department of Safety and Homeland Security, a source close to the transition tells The Tennessee Journal.

Long, the Tennessee Sheriff Association’s sheriff of the year of 2013, will succeed David Purkey, who was named safety commissioner in 2016. Purkey, , a former state trooper and mayor of Hamblen County, had previously served as assistant commissioner since 2011.

Long succeeded former Williamson County Sheriff Ricky Headley, who had resigned earlier in 2008 as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors in Davidson and Williamson counties over fraudulently obtaining prescription pain pills.

Long wrote in a 2017 letter to the editor of The Tennessean that he met Lt. Gov. Rand McNally (R-Oak Ridge) in the opening phases of Operation Rocky Top, in which the lawmaker wore a wire for investigators. “He placed his whole political career in jeopardy by having the strength to stand up for what was right,” Long wrote. “Operation Rocky Top would not have been possible if not for a man of high character and morality as Lt. Governor McNally.”

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Lee staffs up his legislative team

Gov.-elect Bill Lee speaks to a Chamber of Commerce event in Memphis on Dec. 6, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

A release from Gov.-elect Bill Lee’s office:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Today, Tennessee Governor-elect Bill Lee announced four additions to his staff in the Office of the Governor, all of whom will have responsibilities connected to Legislative Affairs.

“Working with the legislature is one of the most important jobs a governor has,” said Lee. “These four talented and qualified individuals will do a tremendous job representing my administration and the State of Tennessee at the Tennessee General Assembly. I am grateful they are joining our team.” 

The Governor-elect named the following to his staff today:

  • Chris Devaney– Special Assistant to the Governor
  • Brent Easley– Legislative Director
  • Liz Alvey– Legislative Counsel
  • Brittany Collins – Senior Legislative Liaison

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Lee chooses Charlie Hatcher as his agriculture commissioner

A release from Republican Gov.-elect Bill Lee’s transition office:

FRANKLIN, Tenn.At the Tennessee Farm Bureau Annual Convention, Tennessee Governor-elect Bill Lee announced that Dr. Charlie Hatcher will join his cabinet to serve as Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Agriculture.

“Charlie brings tremendous perspective about our state’s rural resources and agricultural way of life,” said Lee. “What happens in rural Tennessee matters to all Tennesseans and Charlie has the experience to carry out the administration’s key priorities in agriculture and rural economic development.”

Since 2009, Dr. Hatcher has served as the State Veterinarian for the Tennessee Department of Agriculture where he protects the health and welfare of animals within the state, as well as promoting the marketability of animals and animal products.

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Lee names senior staff positions

Gov.-elect Bill Lee is formally naming his first three Cabinet appointments (one new one and two holdovers from the Haslam administration), and is also announcing six senior staff positions, including Lang Wiseman as his deputy and legal counsel.

Here’s the full release:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Today, Tennessee Governor-elect Bill Lee announced his first cabinet appointments as well as several key appointments to his forthcoming gubernatorial staff.

“We have received a tremendous amount of interest from Tennesseans across the state who are interested in serving our administration,” said Lee. “I am proud to announce these first members of my cabinet and staff. They are highly qualified to lead in their respective areas and will be an important part in helping our state continue to grow.”

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Lee to retain Haslam’s commissioners for human services, mental health

Gov.-elect Bill Lee plans to retain two commissioners from fellow Republican Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration, The Tennessean reports. They are Danielle Barnes, the commissioner of the Department of Human Services, and Marie Williams, who heads the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. Other current commissioners are are also expected to be held over for in the Cabinet of the new Lee administration.

As The Tennessee Journal reported earlier this week, Lee plans to name Stuart McWhorter as commissioner of the state Department of Finance and Administration. McWhorter was Lee’s finance chairman during the governor’s race and is currently the chairman of his inauguration planning efforts.

Lee plans to have most of his Cabinet named by the time he is sworn in as governor on Jan. 19.

Source: Lee to name McWhorter as finance commissioner

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Lee speaks at a rally in Franklin on Oct. 17, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Republican Gov.-elect Bill Lee plans to name Stuart McWhorter as commissioner of the state Department of Finance and Administration, The Tennessee Journal has learned. The official announcement is expected later this week, according to a source close to the Lee transition team.

The finance commissioner traditionally serves as the governor’s chief Cabinet officer.

McWhorter was Lee’s finance chairman during the governor’s race and is currently the chairman of his inauguration planning efforts. He is the chairman and president of Clayton Associates, and investment management company focused on the health care and technology industries. He has also served on the board of directors of the Lee Co. (the plumbing and HVAC company owned by the governor-elect), FirstBank of Tennessee, 247 Sports Media, Haven Behavioral Healthcare, MedEquities Healthcare REIT, JumpStart Foundry, and the Nashville Entrepreneur Center.

McWhorter has taught about health care and entrepreneurship as an adjust professor at Belmont University. He earned his master’s in health administration from the University of Alabama-Birmingham and a bachelor’s degree in management from Clemson University.

McWhorter’s father, R. Clayton McWhorter, was a longtime executive with HCA who rose to the level of CEO before co-founding HealthTrust Inc. in 1987.  That company merged with HCA in 1995 and he founded Clayton Associates the following year. The elder McWhorter died in 2016.

Stuart McWhorter briefly considered running for Nashville mayor in 2015 before deciding against a bid.