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Bill Lee holds Town Hall in Rogersville

Hank Hayes • Updated May 23, 2018 at 2:38 PM

ROGERSVILLE – If you watch a lot of television, you might be thinking there are only two candidates in the Tennessee governor’s race – Republicans Randy Boyd and Diane Black.

Bill Lee, Williamson County businessman and cattle farmer, attempted to change that perception Tuesday with a Town Hall meeting at the Shepherd’s Center.

“There are certainly more than two candidates in this race,” Lee told reporters after the meeting. “When you turn on the TV, you’re going to see more than two here in the next few days … we have a designed strategy and we’re excited about that strategy.”

Lee, one of four major Republican candidates for governor, cast himself as a political outsider committed to rural Tennessee, education reform and faith-based not-for-profit operations.

“I am a man of faith whose relationship to Christ is the most important thing in my life, and that will never change,” Lee told about 30 people inside the building’s community room. “I think the voice of faithful people has been made to feel increasingly unwelcome in this country and especially in the public square … I do encourage you to look deeper at who I am and what I believe ... in two months, you are going to pick the likely governor of the state of Tennessee.”

Lee fielded these questions from voters at the event:

What is your feeling on sanctuary cities?

“My belief is sanctuary cities, by their very definition, are lawlessness. We are a country going by the rule of law. Sanctuary cities are … breaking the law that where we do not follow the law of the land. As governor, I would do everything to make certain that we do not have sanctuary cities.”

In light of all these school shootings, what would you do to make Tennessee safe?

“My heart breaks. I cannot imagine sending my kid off to school and have them not come home … it is of utmost importance that we protect our kids. We protect our banks with firearms. We protect our governor with firearms and yet we leave our children in gun-free zones, and that does not make sense to me. I believe we have to do whatever we can, and that includes firearms. I believe that if we have teachers who are willing, who are vetted, who are trained and go through a rigorous process, that we should explore the idea of having teachers protect our children.”

How can we maximize biblical values in our schools and in Nashville?

“We can be reminded that religious liberty is protected by the Constitution. It is guaranteed to us from the very foundation of who we are as a state … that is fundamental, guaranteed and important. This whole concept about the separation of church and state has been misunderstood. ​It was never intended to keep people of faith out of the public square -- but was intended to keep the ​state out of the church … as governor, we will have an office of faith-based and community initiatives that will be a liaison between the government and community organizations to be a resource.”

How do you feel about a state income tax, the sales tax on food and the ad valorem tax?

“My philosophy about taxes is that the more you are taxed, the more of your money goes to government. I do believe you can make better decisions about how to spend your money than the government can … we should look at every opportunity to reduce taxation on citizens that we can. We should never have a state income tax. We should, in fact, look to ban a statewide property tax. We should reduce taxes wherever the opportunity we have to do so.”What’s your position on abortion?

“My feeling is that life begins at conception, that the lives of individuals should be protected. That includes a six-week-old human being … I believe very strongly in that.”

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