Shelby County leaders hopeful about new governor

Shelby County leaders hopeful about new governor

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - In his inaugural address on Saturday, Tennessee’s new governor, Bill Lee, promised to tackle issues ranging from education to healthcare to criminal justice reform.

Shelby County and Memphis leaders said they were impressed by much of what the state's new chief executive had to say.

Lee acknowledged government doesn't have all the answers to the problems plaguing Tennesseans.

"As honored as I am to be you next governor, no governor will solve the problems. In fact, no government will solve the problems that we face," Lee said. "Government is not the answer to our challenges."

But government does have power, which is why Governor Lee said he plans to use the power of his office to improve education, access to healthcare and to help create more job opportunities for Tennesseans.

"These are the challenges of our day, and history will judge us based on how we meet them," said Lee.

Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich said she was encouraged Lee brought up criminal justice reform.

"What we have to make sure we're doing it incarcerating the worst of the worst, the most violent offenders but for everybody else we've got to find a way to help them get back into society," said Weirich.

Memphis lawmakers, including state Representative Karen Camper, the House Democratic Leader, also liked Lee's message.

"It was very hopeful, very optimistic. He talked about things that I feel Tennesseans want change in, things people want to have happen," said Camper.

But they say it's important Memphis and Shelby County get the respect they deserve.

"Shelby County is the largest county in the entire state. You look at the tax dollars and the tourism dollars that we send to the capital, it's important that were in the room and we're at the table," said state Sen. Raumesh Akbari.

Governor Lee appears to have heard that message.

He appointed Memphis attorney Lang Wiseman as his deputy and legal counsel.

But only time will tell what the Lee Administration ultimately means for Memphis and Shelby County.

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