“I am disappointed and dismayed in Governor Lee’s State of the State Address tonight. I am not sure if he chooses to live in an alternative reality, actively turns a blind eye, or only cares about the partisan special interest groups that support him; but, Bill Lee made no mention of the families suffering across Tennessee.
Tennessee ranks 46th in the nation for student funding and Tennessee teachers earn less today than they did a decade ago after inflation. Lee’s proposed teacher raise is an insult to educators. He said they would fully fund the BEP formula, but didn’t address that the formula is broken to begin with. In the middle of a pandemic, Governor Lee did not even mention Tennessee healthcare. More than 10% of Tennesseans do not have health coverage and Tennessee has the 5th highest average deductibles in the nation. Bill Lee bragged about our economy, but the only people benefitting from our economy are the large corporations funding his campaign. Tennessee workers earn $10,000 less each year than the average American. About one out of five kids in Tennessee lived in poverty even before the pandemic.
Children are hungry, schools are struggling to pay its staff and bills, workers are being exploited, and families are having to choose whether to feed themselves or pay the utility bill. Bill Lee boasted about withholding two billion dollars in family assistance from Tennesseans, in a rainy-day fund. But the storm has been here, the statistics I have just named off are depressing and disheartening. Our Tennessee families are suffering and it’s past time to use the rainy day fund. It’s clear, Bill Lee cannot meet the moment. Tennessee families deserve more respect, attention, protection, and investment from their Governor. Unlike Bill Lee, we will meet our moment. Let there be no doubt, people from every corner of this state will be working tirelessly to ensure Bill Lee is not re-elected in 2022 and replaced by a governor who will actually work for Tennessee.”