What does Bill Lee think about illegal immigration, Trump's wall and DACA?

Hank Hayes • Jun 4, 2018 at 7:30 PM

KINGSPORT — Tennessee GOP gubernatorial candidates Randy Boyd and Diane Black are expressing their views in their TV ads about illegal immigration, President Donald Trump’s planned border wall and not giving state benefits to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals’ individuals — issues primarily under the federal government’s control.

What does Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Lee think about that?

“I think we are a country governed under the rule of law, and we certainly need to follow the rule of law,” Lee, a Williamson County businessman and cattle farmer, said before addressing a Greater Kingsport Republican Women’s luncheon on Monday. “Those things are important for a governor. We need to do everything possible to stop Tennessee having sanctuary cities, and we’ll do that if I’m governor. We need to uphold the laws of the land, be they immigration law or any other law. … I do think the most important things in Tennessee are that folks have a good job, a good school for their kid and a safe neighborhood. Those are what I will focus on primarily in this run for governor.”

In addition to Boyd and Black, Lee is up against House Speaker Beth Harwell in the August GOP primary.

Lee is billing himself as a political outsider and successful executive guided by his Christian faith. He said he is committed to rural Tennessee and education reform, particularly vocational education.

“I believe we are at risk of losing a way of life in rural Tennessee,” Lee told Republicans. “If we don’t do something decisively different, we will lose it. What happens in rural Tennessee matters to every Tennessean, even if you live in downtown Nashville and you don’t realize it. … That part of our history should be part of our future.”

Lee also addressed these questions at the luncheon:

Is the Tennessee legislature affected by urban versus rural disagreements?

“I get asked all the time: How are you going to deal with this legislature? I kind of look forward to that. We’re talking about a group of people who are public servants. They are interested in their constituencies. … Their ultimate goal is for Tennessee to move forward. I think when you put those people around the table and you lead with a common goal, you can get that accomplished. … We can bring jobs to the 15 counties in our state that are in poverty and should not be in poverty in a state as prosperous as Tennessee. … I think it’s a matter of leadership.”

What can be done about predatory telemarketers?

“It’s addressed at seniors. There is a real growing awareness of, for lack of a better term, abuse. … It’s not just financial fraud. There are deeper issues than that. … We have to strengthen our commitment to that portion of the population being targeted. … That means the state working with the federal government to address that. … If we have to increase our financial support with law enforcement, we have to do that.”

Do you think you can win this race?

“I’m increasingly inspired every day I do this. … You have a really important decision to make. … If I’m going to be the next governor, I’ve got to have your engagement.”

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