Gov. Lee Appoints Smyrna Resident Alison Dempsey Bynum to Council on Developmental Disabilities


Governor Bill Lee has appointed Rutherford County resident Alison Dempsey Bynum to a three-year term on the Council on Developmental Disabilities, representing the Mid-Cumberland Development District.

The Council on Developmental Disabilities is a state government agency that works to bring positive change to the disability services system in Tennessee.

The Bynum Family: Brad, Alison, Norah and Charlotte

“I am so excited to be a part of the work the Council is doing,” Alison Bynum said. “People with disabilities and their families have a lot to offer, and I want to see us opening the door to more opportunities right here in Rutherford County. I am really looking forward to helping the Council bring services, information, and education to our community.”

Bynum is a Freelance Photographer and Marketing Consultant based in Smyrna. She graduated this year from the Council’s Partners in Policymaking® Leadership Institute and also serves on the Family Advisory Council for Monroe Carell, Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. She and her husband, Brad, are active members of LifePoint Church, Stewarts Creek Campus.

LifePoint Church, Stewarts Creek Campus

Bynum is the primary caregiver for her two daughters, one of whom has cerebral palsy and complex medical needs. Bynum will meet with the full Council on Development Disabilities quarterly in Nashville and will serve as a representative in the local community.

Her role will connect the Council’s statewide work to the needs in Rutherford and surrounding counties. The Council on Developmental Disabilities’ work includes improving disability policies and practices, educating policymakers and the public, and partnering with public and private organizations to drive progress for people with disabilities.

“Our agency is unique in state government, because we’re here specifically to change the system, and because we are directly connected to the needs of local disability communities through our Council members,” said Executive Director Wanda Willis. “Alison Bynum is an engaged advocate in the Rutherford County community, and her perspective on how we can continue to improve the lives of local families touched by disability will be invaluable.”

About the Council on Developmental Disabilities

The Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities is a state agency established to improve disability policies and practice, educate policymakers and the public, and build collaboration to create lasting, positive change for Tennesseans with disabilities and their families. The Council is the only state agency tasked with looking at how all the pieces of our disability system work together, identifying areas of need, and bringing different parts of government and outside groups together to tackle challenges and improve state services. For more information, visit

President Ronald Reagan meets Katie Beckett, along with her parents, Julia and Mark Beckett as the President exits Air Force One on the tarmac of Cedar Rapids Municipal Airport, Iowa, 20 September 1984.
Tennessee Lawmakers and Commissioner Brad Turner join Governor Bill Lee as he signs the Katie Beckett Waiver.

Editor’s Note: I appreciate Alison Bynum, Commissioner Brad Turner and other advocate’s efforts to help those who may not be able to help themselves. The Tennessee General Assembly, both Republicans and Democrats passed the Katie Beckett Waiver which funds $27 million portion of the waiver program. The program will allow children with extreme medical needs to qualify for TennCare regardless of their parents’ salaries. It would provide a safety net to the most needy and help relieve families of what can amount to hundreds of thousands in medical bills each year their private insurance does not cover.

The legislation is named after Katie Beckett, a young girl who in the 1980s inspired President Ronald Reagan to change federal law to support families who wanted to raise their severely disabled kids at home.

The $27 million program will support about 3,000 children in Tennessee.


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