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Just plowing through
Lee rides tractor across state in run for governor
Bill Lee is pictured in front of his tractor during a recent visit to Warren County.

Riding a tractor from Mountain City to Memphis to raise awareness of the plight facing rural Tennesseans, gubernatorial candidate Bill Lee says something must be done to help residents in smaller communities throughout the state.
“I’m afraid we are just a generation away from losing that way of life,” said Lee during his appearance at Prater’s BBQ in Morrison where he rode in on his trademark tractor to meet local constituents. “We will regret it if we lose that way of life.”
Lee said he traveled to 95 counties in 95 days after deciding to run for office in April.
“I found the big cities are doing fine but our small towns are struggling,” Lee said, noting he has put together a plan called Road Map for Rural Tennessee in which he details his plans to help rural counties. The plan can be found at
Lee said he decided to wade into the governor’s race after facing personal challenges a few years ago.
“My first wife was killed when I was 40 in a tragic horseback riding accident,” Lee said. “It was a life-defining season in my life. But God is a redeemer and helped me work through that season and change my perspective.”
One change, Lee said, was he started focusing less on how to make more money with his busi-ness while focusing more on how to make Lee Company a better place for his 1,200 employees. He also started working with volunteer organizations like the YMCA where he mentored an inner-city youth.
“It gave me a passion for public education,” Lee said, adding he also got involved with a prison ministry and began to mentor an inmate who was just getting out. “It left me with a passion for correc-tions, recidivism, law enforcement and public safety.”
After praying about what he should do, Lee said he made his decision to run, hoping he can expand what he has done with his business to make an impact for the whole state.
“I’ve spent most of this part of my life trying to make life better for my 1,200 workers and their families,” he said. “Would it be possible for me to enter public service and make life better for the 6.5 million people of Tennessee?”
Lee said he will continue to listen and learn as he drives the campaign trail in his tractor.
“Anywhere you go, people want a good job, good schools for their kids and a safe neighbor-hood to live in,” Lee said.
The Williamson County businessman and farmer is a seventh-generation Tennessean.