Sunday, October 1, 2023

Tennessee Gov Bill Lee sworn in for second term


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Featured Photo by Jenene Grover

Story by Jenene Grover

On Saturday, Governor Bill Lee celebrated the inauguration of his second term as 50th governor by friends, family, colleagues and Tennessee citizens. 

The ceremony consisted of Lee’s Inaugural Address, the oath of office, prayers and other formal procedures.

After the first prayer following the presentation of the colors, Franklin Leyva, a new U.S. citizen, recited the Pledge of Allegiance.

The Chief Justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court Roger Page spoke and held a Bible for Lee to place his hand on while taking the Oath of Office.

Following the oath, the Tennessee National Guard played a salute to the governor while three helicopters flew overhead and a 19-gun salute fired near the capitol.

Lee began his address by thanking everyone in attendance and everyone in Tennessee. He specially acknowledged his wife, Maria Lee, who has been battling lymphoma since her diagnosis in August.

As the ceremony concluded, Maria Lee greeted constituents who attended the inauguration. (Photo by Jenene Grover)

“The last four years have brought unexpected challenges to people all across this state: floods, wildfires, a pandemic, tornadoes, even a bombing on Christmas morning,” Lee said.

Many times throughout his speech, Lee referenced the Parable of the Talents from the Bible, something he said has stuck with him for a long time.

“Whom much is given, much is expected… And we, all of us, have been given a responsibility, an obligation, to use our lives in a way that multiplies in the lives of others,” Lee said.

He then moved on to highlight the accomplishments of his first term, including funding for public education, changes to healthcare and different investments around the state.

“Our state’s finances have been stewarded in such a way that affords us the lowest tax rate per capita in the nation, the lowest debt rate per capita in the nation and the fastest growing economy of all 50 states,” Lee said.

Lee concluded his reflection on his first term with applause for presenting the fiscal accomplishments.

“The halfway point of any endeavor is a good time to reflect, but it’s an even better time to plan and to focus on the work still ahead,” Lee said.

Lee laid out his hopes and plans for his second term, focusing on certain issues facing Tennessee.

“We need a transportation strategy and an energy strategy designed for one of the fastest growing states in America,” Lee said. “We need to enhance our efforts to preserve our natural resources and to protect the environment of what I believe is the most beautiful place in the world. We need to protect children in our custody and across this state with a better foster care and a better adoption process.”

Referencing the parable from Matthew again, Lee spoke about failure and criticism, paraphrasing Theodore Roosevelt.

“In our efforts to use our lives in the best way we know how to make life better for other people, there will be those who criticize, and there will be decisions that come at great personal cost,” Lee said. “And there will be mistakes that we make, and there will be times when we fear failure…The credit belongs to those who actually strive to do the deeds… If they fail, at least they failed while daring greatly.”

Lee spoke about the importance of keeping humanity when facing critics.

“We can disagree, we can stand firm for our principles and our values, but we should never forget the dignity of the other human being,” Lee said. “We should never believe that differences are a platform for demonization, or that one man has any greater value than another.”

“It is the highest honor that I have to serve the people of Tennessee as Governor, and I thank them for the opportunity that they have given me to do so,” Lee said.

Following his address, the Governor’s Cabinet was sworn in, a prayer was said and the ceremony concluded.

Jenene Grover is a government reporter for MTSU Sidelines.

To contact News Editor Kailee Shores and Assistant News Editor Alyssa Williams, email

For more news, visit, or follow us on Facebook at MTSU Sidelines or on Twitter and Instagram at @mtsusidelines.

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