Bill Lee files as GOP candidate for governor, launches statewide tour

News release from Bill Lee gubernatorial campaign

FRANKLIN, Tenn. – Conservative Williamson County businessman Bill Lee announced today that he is running for governor of Tennessee as a Republican.

“I love Tennessee, and I can’t wait to get this campaign started and get out on the road,” said Lee, chairman of Franklin-based Lee Company. “Over the next year and a half, I will travel the state to engage Tennesseans in a vital conversation about the priorities of our state. We will run the most aggressive grassroots campaign in Tennessee history. Maria and I will go to every county and work for every vote.

“Tennessee is a wonderful place to live and raise a family. While our state certainly is moving in the right direction, we must work harder to help more achieve the goals that Tennesseans share: to have a good job, to send their children to a good school and to live in a safe community.”

 Lee officially filed as a candidate on Monday, April 24 and immediately began a 95-county, 95-day RV tour of Tennessee.

The Lee campaign announces major additions to the campaign’s finance and management team:

  • Stuart McWhorter, co-founder and chairman of Brentwood-based Clayton Associates, will serve as finance chairman, and Fred Decosimo, partner in Chattanooga’s Elliott Davis Decosimo financial services and accounting firm, will serve as campaign treasurer.
  • Blake Harris and Jordan Gehrke, veteran consultants to numerous state and federal campaigns, will serve as general consultants.
  • Fred Davis, a veteran of campaigns for President George W. Bush, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, and U.S. Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker, will serve as media consultant.
  • Whit Ayres, who has worked on the successful campaigns of U.S. Sens. Alexander, Corker and Majority Leader Bill Frist, as well as Governor Haslam, will serve as opinion research strategist.
  • Chris Walker, a former staffer to Senators Bill Frist and Fred Thompson and a veteran of several presidential campaigns, will serve as the campaign’s communications advisor.
  • Julie Hannah, the former Chairman of the Williamson County Republican Party, will serve as the campaign’s grassroots coordinator. Additional staff announcements are forthcoming.

 “Bill Lee is one of the most accomplished and widely respected business leaders in Tennessee. Bill represents the best Tennessee values – family, faith, hard work, service and leadership,” McWhorter said. “We are building a formidable fundraising and campaign management team for this campaign. Our fundraising begins with a tremendous base of financial support in Middle Tennessee – one of the top GOP fundraising bases in the nation – and will grow steadily as people get to know Bill and determine that he is the right person to lead our state to a better future.”

Lee, 57, is chairman of Lee Company, a family-owned construction, facilities and home services company with offices and operations throughout Middle Tennessee, Northern Alabama and Southern Kentucky. Lee Company employs more than 1,100 people and has annual revenue in excess of $225 million.

 Lee is a graduate of Franklin High School and Auburn University.  In his early years at Lee Company, Lee earned Master Plumber certification and became president of the company in 1992. Lee currently serves on the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, Belmont University Board of Trustees, is president of Tennesseans for Economic Growth and is past chairman of the YMCA of Middle Tennessee. He serves on the board of Men of Valor Prison Ministry and has been involved with in faith-based ministries in Africa, Central America, Haiti and Iraq.

Bill Lee and his wife Maria live on their family farm in Williamson County. Lee has four children – Jessica (Lee) Stowell, 30; twin sons Jacob and Caleb (26); and Sarah Kate Lee, 21.

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