Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee will propose an investment in broadband development in rural Tennessee as part of his State of the State address Monday evening.
According to excerpts of the address released by the Governor’s Office, Lee will call on legislators to help speed up internet speeds in Tennessee’s rural areas in an effort to help close the gap with the state’s urban areas.
“Whether it’s running a small business, accessing virtual learning or accessing health care via telemedicine, slow internet speeds have many in rural Tennessee left at a disadvantage,” Gov. Lee will say. “A significant, one-time investment, combined with significant private investment, will get broadband to just about every community in Tennessee, and tonight, that’s exactly what I’m proposing.”
More precise details of the governor’s proposal were not announced in advance of his address, which will be his third State of the State presentation since taking office in January 2019.
The speech will be used by Lee to outline his budget and legislative priorities while also providing an accounting of Tennessee’s Covid-19 response and continued economic recovery, his office said.
Lee will also highlight his vision for K-12 education.
“The reason we place so much focus on education is because students should be prepared for productive lives, not just the latest standardized test,” the governor will say. “I recently had a conversation with Commissioner Schwinn that the mission of the Department of Education should be simple: Students should be prepared for life beyond the classroom.”
Lee is expected to touch on his conservative roots and philosophies, particularly as he addresses his commitment to Tennessee families.
“Being pro-life isn’t just about defending the unborn and we must also think about how to use our passion for this issue to improve the lives of struggling families,” the governor is expected to say. “My administration is preparing a number of new initiatives that we’ll announce throughout the year that will make Tennessee a national leader in foster care and adoption.”
Lee will outline “conservative proposals” that he says will reduce crime, strengthen families and help the economy recover, particularly in rural Tennessee.
“Our proposals honor the individual yet benefit the state as a whole, and they will leave us well-positioned for the recovery that has already begun across our state,” he will say.
As Tennessee celebrates its 225th year of statehood, Lee will announce that he’ll travel to all 95 counties this year “to reach the unsung people and places that make our state who she is.”
The State of the State address will begin at 7 p.m. It will be televised statewide, and will also be streamed on the governor’s YouTube channel.