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Bill Lee takes reins as new TN governor
Bill Lee front.jpg
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee is applauded after taking the oath of office in War Memorial Auditorium Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019, in Nashville.

A new governor is a rare occurrence in Tennessee.

Based on recent history, it happens once every eight years.

That’s why great enthusiasm accompanies new Gov. Bill Lee, fresh from taking the oath of office Saturday in Nashville.

Warren County’s two representatives in the Tennessee House say they believe a focal point of the 111th General Assembly will be continuing the state’s momentum when it comes to education.

Tackling the opioid epidemic, among other drug problems, also remains a priority. There were 1,819 reported opioid deaths in Tennessee in 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and a 5.6 percent increase is predicted when 2018 numbers are released.

“My colleagues and I are dedicated to creating safe neighborhoods, and I believe we can accomplish this by backing our law enforcement community and by overhauling our current criminal justice system,” said state Rep. Paul Sherrell, R-Sparta. “We must also back our mental health providers, allocate new resources to combat substance abuse — including opioids and other dangerous drugs — and improve access to, and the quality of care patients receive while lowering patient costs.”

Sherrell, now in his second term, is accepting new leadership responsibilities this year as Majority Floor Leader in the Tennessee House.

State Rep. Rush Bricken, R-Tullahoma, has begun serving his first term in the 47th District. He described Saturday’s ceremony as a first-class event and says the atmosphere in Nashville is all positive.

“Judging by the tone of the governor’s speech, I think education, crime and criminal justice, and workforce development are all going to be emphasized this session,” said Bricken. “I think we’d like to see a continuation of what Haslam did on the education side with maybe crime more of a priority.”

There has been a recent emphasis in providing mental health treatment when it comes to crime as opposed to locking people in jail. Warren County has followed this trend as the county jail population has dropped by 45 inmates in about four months.