MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) – Tennessee Governor-Elect Bill Lee was in Memphis on Thursday as the keynote speaker at an annual luncheon put on by the Greater Memphis Chamber.
The visit marked Lee’s first time back in Memphis since his election one month ago.
Lee says the acceleration of economic development in the area is critical to the state’s success.
“Memphis and Shelby County and the region, west Tennessee, are terrifically important to the future of Tennessee,” Lee said.
Lee gave brief remarks Thursday at the Greater Memphis Chamber’s annual chairman’s luncheon.
The new governor is also a new politician. Lee’s never held elected office but says he’s enjoying the work so far.
His team has already received a thousand resumes for positions in the administration.
“There’s a lot to be done in a short period of time we’re very encouraged by the interest in particular,” Lee said.
Lee’s made it clear a key focus of his will be expanding technical education to high schools. He also says he wants private companies to partner with public schools for trade programs.
“There’s a lack of skilled tradesmen and women across the state,” Lee said. “We started a trade school in my company 10 years ago and put 1,000 people through it, I do want to do that in high schools.”
Throughout his campaign, Lee noted his administration would pay attention to Memphis.
Late last month he appointed Memphis attorney Lang Wiseman to serve as chief counsel and deputy to the governor.
“A commitment to Memphis and Shelby that has begun by placing someone at the highest level in the administration,” Lee said.
“Memphis, Shelby County, west Tennessee has a sense that they’ve kind of been left behind in past years so there’s a certain level of excitement about that and certainly I’m looking forward to adding that perspective for sure,” Wiseman said.
Lee’s transition team is currently working in state office space in Nashville.
He will be sworn in as Tennessee’s 50th governor on Saturday, Jan. 19.