transition

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.

Lee uncertain about Casada’s call for more House control on budget

Gov.-elect Bill Lee speaks at a press conference at the state Capitol in Nashville on Nov. 7, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Republican Gov.-elect Bill Lee says he’s not certain how the House will become more assertive in the state budgeting process. Glen Casada, who won the GOP nomination for House speaker, announced earlier this week that he will seek to give the chamber a bigger role in developing the state’s annual spending plan.

“I have no idea that that is going to happen,” Lee told reporters at a Nashville food bank on Wednesday. “What I do know is we’re going to be working together and we’ve already started that process. I believe we can work together as the executive branch and legislative branch to advance the common good for Tennesseans.”

The Tennessean reports Lee and Casada played phone tag after Casada won the speaker nomination on Tuesday, but finally connected on Wednesday.

“My hope and my belief is that we have an opportunity to actually not work in separate veins, but on the same page,” Lee said.

Meanwhile, Lee said he’s working on assembling his staff and Cabinet. The first announcements are expected next week.