Lee holds Cabinet meeting to launch distressed counties summit

Gov. Bill Lee welcomes delegates to a summit on economically distressed counties in Linden on Aug. 13, 2019. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Gov. Bill Lee has convened his Cabinet in Perry County to kick off a summit on economically distressed counties

Here’s a release from the governor’s office :

LINDEN, Tenn. – Today, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee convened his cabinet for a meeting with local officials from Tennessee’s 15 distressed counties during the Governor’s Rural Opportunity Summit in Perry County.

The meeting caps a state government-wide audit mandated under Executive Order 1 which examines how departments are serving rural areas, specifically distressed counties. Executive Order 1 also required departments to provide suggestions for improvements moving forward.

“I’ve challenged my cabinet to think critically about how we are helping our rural areas,” said Lee. “With 15 distressed counties in the bottom 10 percent of the nation in terms of poverty, average income and unemployment, we have serious work to do and I believe we are up to the challenge.”

23 state government departments submitted significant analysis that showed rural areas will benefit from the improved coordination of services and overall alignment of departments in serving rural Tennessee. Additionally, departments provided innovation recommendations for potential programs and solutions to be considered by the Lee Administration.

“Our goal is to prioritize rural areas like never before by getting a clear picture of the data through Executive Order 1 and building close relationships with community leaders through the Governor’s Rural Opportunity Summit,” said Senior Advisor to the Governor Brandon Gibson. “Rural areas are deeply affected by even the slightest shift in policies and our first priority is to better align how state departments are coordinating and serving rural Tennesseans.”

Through Executive Order 1, departments suggested better coordination in areas including but not limited to:

Recruitment and Retention for Qualified Professionals in Rural Areas

Areas for improved coordination: 

  • Ag-tech business recruitment
  • Recruiting quality principals, teachers and mental health support liaisons
  • Recruiting physicians and healthcare providers

Education and Workforce Programs in Rural Areas

Areas for improved coordination: 

  • Ag industry certifications
  • Employment fairs and vocational rehabilitation programming
  • Unemployment insurance, statewide apprenticeships, WorkReady community initiatives
  • Focused employment assistance
  • Job Access Reverse Commute Program for transportation challenges

Community Development Planning and Infrastructure in Rural Areas

Areas of improved coordination:

  • Water and wastewater infrastructure
  • Real estate owned programs and community development block grants
  • Upgrading rural school facilities
  • Improving the public alert system
  • County transportation planning and rural access improvements

Substance Abuse Prevention and Recovery in Rural Areas

Areas for improved coordination:

  • Drug workshops
  • Expanded prevention efforts
  • Prioritizing peer recovery specialists

The Governor’s Rural Opportunity Summit is being held on August 13 and 14 in Linden, Tenn. with the governor, members of the cabinet and local officials from distressed counties including Lake, Lauderdale, Hardeman, McNairy, Perry, Wayne, Jackson, Clay, Grundy, Bledsoe, Fentress, Morgan, Scott, Hancock and Cocke.

9 Responses to Lee holds Cabinet meeting to launch distressed counties summit

  • Avatar
    James White says:

    Fix the Roads !

    • Avatar
      Cannoneer2 says:

      They are! They are busy repaving their favorite stretch of I-65 between Franklin and Nashville again. SR-840 westbound toward Franklin is getting upgrades too.

  • Avatar
    Eddie White says:

    The folks in Fentress County would appreciate some help re-opening their hospital.

    • Avatar
      Perry Aubric says:

      Mule-headed willfully ignorant nonsensical illogical refusal to expand Medicaid will prevent that from happening.

      • Avatar
        Stuart I. Anderson says:

        Make you a deal Perry. Let’s expand Medicare to cover the uninsured below 138% of the federal poverty line but let’s finance and administer it on the state level. In exchange, let’s get the federal government completely out of the furnishing of healthcare business as we replace it with the free market so the feds can devote their full attention to effectively closing this country to all but those whose skills are truly needed by our economy. That means end the H-1B visa scam as well. In other words, we replace the heavy, inefficient hand of government doing what it shouldn’t be doing with that which the government is uniquely able and qualified to do. Pretty cool, don’t you think?

  • Avatar
    Benji Jefferson says:

    Bwahahahahahaha! Rural economic development. Love how millionaires keep pushing that

    • Avatar
      Stuart I. Anderson says:

      You’re right Benji! What we need is economic development “pushed” (by which you mean financed and managed I assume) by the down and out. Economic developed by the impoverished. What a wonderful idea!

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