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July 8, 2020

Governor Bill Lee:

First, I want to follow up on an announcement that I made last week regarding the Capitol Commission. The State Capitol Commission will meet tomorrow to take up the issue of the Nathan Bedford Forrest bust and its future in the State Capitol. Tomorrow's commission meeting has been more than a year in the making, with appointments to that Capitol Commission, and options for the bust that have been evaluated with respect to both those who are in favor of it remaining in the Capitol, and those who believe that it should be relocated.

Governor Bill Lee:

The Nathan Bedford Forrest bust has spurred a heated debate that began long before all of this national ruckus on monuments that we're seeing play out today. Since taking office in 2019, literally thousands of Tennesseans have reached out to me passionately on both sides of the issue, regarding their opinions of the Nathan Bedford Forrest bust, and I know that they have done that for governors before me. This issue of the Forrest bust that's been going on in this state for 40 years is very different than the destructive tide that's swept the nation in recent weeks, that's been about the defacing of property and denying history. That is a mob rule or mob mentality, that's confused for activism, but it represents the worst possible way, I believe to address questions of history, and symbolism, and context.

Governor Bill Lee:

The State Capitol Commission process, however, is the opposite of what we're seeing play out nationally. It is a process designed by the Tennessee General Assembly, with representative citizen appointees who use a framework to determine the historical figures that we revere in the halls of our State House. I have great deal of respect for this process, and for the task that the members face on this complex issue.

Governor Bill Lee:

A Confederate general from Memphis, Nathan Bedford Forrest, is a renowned military tactician, and the bust sits opposite a fellow Tennessean, a union admiral, and an esteemed military leader, David Farragut. In tandem, these two men represent the push and pull of our state's history, and the conflict that forged so much of our identity, and the role that we have had in striving to become a more perfect union. However, Forrest represents pain and suffering, and brutal crimes committed against African Americans, and that pain is very real for many of our fellow Tennesseans, as they walk the halls of our State House and evaluate how he could be one of the just nine busts that are elevated to a place of honor and reverence in the Capitol. Symbols matter. Proclamations and statues are not just snapshots of our history. They're a window into what we value, and while the Nathan Bedford Forrest bust creates a clear tension between heritage and symbolism, we'd be wise not to make this a referendum on his place in history.

Governor Bill Lee:

The Nathan Bedford Forrest bust is not just another Confederate symbol. There are reasons that this particular bust has for 40 years, stood above others as controversial. It's because this particular individual, in a particular season of his life, significantly contributed to one of the most regretful and painful chapters in our nation's history. I'm asking the Capitol Commission to consider whether the current placement of Nathan Bedford Forrest's bust allows for his full story to be told, and his contribution to our history to be fully understood. As guardians of history, we can't underestimate that history without understanding, is quickly forgotten.

Governor Bill Lee:

Many have argued that despite Nathan Bedford Forrest's track record, he died a reconciled man, who recognized the mistakes he had made, and he turned from his ways. And at a minimum, there should be context around Forrest, to acknowledge his complexity to the legacy of Tennessee. I believe his contribution in what life in the 19th century in Tennessee looked like is important, and it deserves to be displayed, written about, and discussed, in what I believe is the most appropriate location, which is the Tennessee State Museum. While the Capitol Commission's vote acknowledges the vast public interest in the Forrest bust, the vote will simply determine the location for the bust, whether it is to remain in the Capitol, or to be moved to the State Museum for display.

Governor Bill Lee:

I have continuously said that we should learn from history, rather than whitewash it. More recently, I've said the most appropriate resolution to the bust is to put it in the appropriate context. I'm as committed to these beliefs today as I ever have been. What I would add now, is that the most appropriate way to give full context to this complicated life, is to put the bust in the State Museum, where the very purpose is to see and understand our history in full. These are my thoughts on what the Capitol Commission should do, that we put the bust in the museum where it can be part of an exhibit, that can be studied and learned from, and seen in full context.

Governor Bill Lee:

Now, I want to move to the health portion of our briefing. Today marks the single highest case count for our state since the COVID-19 pandemic began, with over 2,400 cases reported in today's results. It's important to note this number also comes from a record number of tests, topping more than 29,000 over that 24-hour period of time. States all across this country are facing a surge in testing demand, and we're exposing more positive cases as a result. Unfortunately, the nationwide surge in testing is also taxing the ability to quickly process those tests, and notify recipients. Our unified command group is well aware of this challenge, and we're working tirelessly to resolve this, as quickly as possible.

Governor Bill Lee:

You, Tennesseans, have responded to our call to seek testing, and thanks to your help, we have tested almost one million Tennesseans so far. However, we need you to embrace another habit, and that is wearing a mask. A mask isn't just a way to protect you and your family, it's a way to protect Tennessee's economy, and we need buy-in. Last week, I signed an executive order that grants county mayors the authority to strengthen mask requirements, in the event that COVID-19 cases are on the rise in their county. It's a targeted approach to ensure that our public health response matches the realities on the ground in a given community, and it avoids an ineffective one-size-fits-all approach. I know the last few months have required vigilance and patience from all Tennesseans, and I am grateful for your vigilance and your patience throughout, and also for your partnership in embracing simple habits, and we need you to continue that, by embracing the simple habit of mask wearing.

Governor Bill Lee:

I have invited both Dr. Piercey and Commissioner Schwinn up next to provide an update regarding our plans for school reopening, and how we get students back into the classrooms safely. Both commissioners spoke at the White House yesterday on the topic of school reopening, and they certainly represented our state well. I was proud to have both of them as part of national conversation, as experts in the field. Earlier this week, we announced the $81 million grants to K through 12 and higher education institutions, to assist our schools with reopening plans. We'll continue to support our schools so that the teachers and students can return safely.

Governor Bill Lee:

Commissioner Schwinn, would you come up please and give your report, and then we'll have Dr. Piercey.

Commissioner Schwinn:

Good afternoon, and thank you for having me today. I wanted to give a brief overview of where we are with school reopening. So first and foremost, the priority of the department will continue to be making sure that our students and staff are safe, and that all of our students get access to a high quality education. So one of the things we've been doing, is talking about an overall framework. So over the last two months, the Department of Education has put out a suite of resources, really focusing on local control, and also a significant amount of state guidance, as our districts are navigating their individual needs and experiences. For academics, we've put out multiple toolkits related to different forms of learning, hybrid models, in person models, and then certainly remote and distance models. We're developing and rolling out an online tool that will allow for an entire year of instruction and videos that can be looked at online, or certainly downloaded onto individual devices.

Commissioner Schwinn:

The Governor announced $50 million in technology grants, which is phenomenal. That pays for one third of the cost of computers for every single third through 12th grader in the state, a massive investment that completely changes the access and opportunities for students, whether they are in rural communities, urban communities, or suburban communities. We are continuing partnerships with PBS and ReadyRosie, And we'll also be providing a suite of online resources to help teachers know exactly where their students are, so they can diagnose any learning gaps that have happened because of the closures, and then certainly move forward with regular instruction.

Commissioner Schwinn:

From a whole child perspective, we have the Child Wellbeing Task Force, which just is ending their second massive meeting. There is a toolkit and a report that's coming out in the next several days that will outline a look back at what the impact of school closures has been, and then certainly a forward look in terms of what's to come, and how do we ensure that all children continue to have access to nutrition, access to behavioral supports, and other resources that we know are critically important to all of our kids, but certainly for many students when schools are closed.

Commissioner Schwinn:

And then finally for educators, I'm excited to say that we've had over 17,000 teachers participate in the free professional development that we offered statewide through Tribeca. And we had almost half of the principals in the state participate in the free professional development through the university of Tennessee at Knoxville. We continue to develop professional development resources, which schools can use at their leisure. And then certainly want to make sure that our three times a week superintendent calls our one-on-one office hours and concierge service that we're providing to our districts and then the technical assistance that we're providing will continue.

Commissioner Schwinn:

The last thing that I'll say is districts are super hard at work over the next coming weeks. July 24th districts have a continuous learning plan that will be due to the state. The state board had a policy that said every district will need to have a plan in place if remote learning is necessary. So certainly we are working closely with our districts to ensure that they have the assistance, the resources, and the support that they need to develop robust plans so that whether or not they're in a hybrid model, in person, or remote, students continue to learn, and we're putting safety and high quality education front of mind.

Commissioner Schwinn:

The department will continue to provide resources and continue to roll out new information every week as we work under this broad framework, which again is safety and health of all stakeholders and high quality education for all children. I'll just close by saying it was a tremendous honor to be in Washington yesterday. It was our first time at the white house. And I think that one of the things that struck me was the number of people from all parts of the country who were there in one space to talk about the importance of our children. They are students certainly, but at the core they are a young children who are live in our homes, play in our communities. And we see them in grocery stores and in front yards. And when we think about the importance of our public schools here in the state of Tennessee, we know that their responsibility is certainly around providing a high quality education, but it's so much more. And our superintendents, principals, and teachers who are working their bones out this summer to make sure that we open up schools well, will continue to do so on behalf of families. And so I appreciate their work and thank you for having me.

Governor Bill Lee:

Thank you, commissioner. And I also want to just go on record as saying thank you to the teachers, to the districts, to the superintendents that are facing situations that they've never faced before in Tennessee, but they're stepping up to the challenge. It's the hard work of preparing to get back to school. Our teachers are engaged. Our districts and superintendents are engaged. Our school boards are engaged. And we're grateful for the community involvement and engagement with the state, with commissioner, with the department. Together we can create a safe opening for our teachers and for our children. Dr. Piercey would you come up and give our health report, please?

Dr. Piercey:

Thank you, Governor. Good afternoon. As Commissioner Schwinn said, we had the honor and privilege of being at The White House yesterday to talk about America's reopening of schools and I'll leave the education piece to her and talk to you a little bit about the health piece. I think many of you know, I'm a pediatrician and I'm a mother of four, the oldest of which is going to start college in the fall and the other three are in high school. So this is a very real issue to me as well. And so I not only personally want to know that my children are going to be safe, but I want to make sure your children are safe. So the one piece of information that really helps to reassure me is that kids do very well during this disease process. Now, granted they can transmit it to others and others, particularly older or at risk people might not fare so well, but children by and large don't need hospitalization and pediatric deaths are exceedingly rare.

Dr. Piercey:

Many States have had a zero to just a few single digits of pediatric deaths. What we do know is that a lot of children are asymptomatic. Now that means that we have to catch it before it starts spreading, but that they are usually not terribly ill. But in addition to physical health, we also are really focused on the holistic needs of the child. And so in addition to their learning, we also are really keen on making sure that they are socially well and emotionally well. And all of you like me that have children that have been in school know that this has been a struggle. Our kids that are normally happy-go-lucky and really interactive and social have really missed their friends. They've really missed their teachers. And they've gone through a grief process too.

Dr. Piercey:

So we know that it's very important to get them back into the classroom. You've probably seen the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation. Their strong encouragement is that all policy considerations should start with the goal of having students physically present in classrooms. That's what we're aiming for here in Tennessee. We also know that not only from the learning standpoint, there's also the economic impact of having kids in school, meaning parents and caregivers can go back to work, which is really critically important for our economy's reopening. So as commissioner Schwinn mentioned, the department of education, the department of health have been working closely together for several, several weeks now on different ways that we can support our districts, as well as parents and students in this reopening process. We issued some very extensive guidance in early June and since then we have put out multiple tool kits. And the guidance is an overall conceptual theory of how we're going to go back to school.

Dr. Piercey:

But it also contains a lot of practical tips, short videos where teachers can learn how to set up their classrooms. Things like how to do best transportation, how to do meals, how to make special accommodations for children with extraordinary needs or early childhood education. What we've learned in all of this is that one size doesn't fit all and that there are no absolutes. And that kind of makes us feel better. Having a black and white guide a yes or a no, that's what we all want, but we're learning a lot about this virus and we're learning a lot about their response. And so that requires flexibility. And so we encourage districts to be flexible, but to also be transparent. You don't have to have all the answers. It's okay to be uncertain about some things as long as you have an overarching framework of how you're going to do this. We want districts and parents to be reassured that we're going to create the safest environment possible, not only for children, but also for teachers when they're going back to school.

Dr. Piercey:

Switching gears a bit, the governor mentioned, and I'm sure you've heard of some issues with lab turnaround time. I want to preface this by saying, this is a national issue. This is not something that is specific here in Tennessee, but it is certainly affecting us here in Tennessee. We have heard of delays of seven, 10, sometimes even 12 days to get results back from a test. That's unacceptable. We can't get patients back to work. We can't get contact tracing started until we get that result back in. Let me tell you why that may be happening. There are a lot of reasons. Which is probably remember nobody did this test prior to February. So they went literally from zero to thousands per day in four months. I know it's felt like four years, but it's about four months.

Dr. Piercey:

And we've asked our labs to do a whole lot in a short amount of time. So that's one, they've just started doing this in the last few months. And another one is it takes time. Even with the desire, it takes time to scale up. So you've got equipment that you have to scale up. You've got supplies that you have to scale up and personnel as well. And the supply chain has been, it's been fluctuating. You remember at the beginning of this, we didn't have the supply chain coming. Many of those supplies came from overseas and with their shutdowns, that supply chain was interrupted. That has solidified, but now the demand is really outpacing the supply and so the supply companies, and as well as the equipment manufacturers are having trouble keeping up. So it's going to take some time to catch up with that demand because right now, every single lab in the state and quite frankly in the nation is getting close to being maxed out on their capacity.

Dr. Piercey:

So what are we doing about that? We have the ability to monitor lab turnaround time. And we routinely look at least several times per week at the turnaround time of 26 different labs that are used across the state. Some of those are out of state. Most of them are in state, but we're watching that almost on a daily basis, so we can direct samples to the labs that have the most capacity and the shortest turnaround time. We're also helping labs build capacity wherever they can. If they need guidance on where to seek supplies or how to get manufacturers to get them some equipment in a faster timeframe. We're trying to do that for our commercial partners. And we're trying to build our own capacity in the state public health lab. And we're no different than any other commercial lab. We're relying upon the same supply chain. And so it's taxing us as well to build that capacity. The other thing that we're seeing that's understandable, but is a change from the past is that because of this excessive demand, labs are starting to prioritize which samples they run first. And it makes sense and I understand it. High risk individuals, healthcare workers, those who are truly symptomatic, hospitalized patients. Those are getting run first.

Dr. Piercey:

The patients that come in with minor symptoms or no symptoms at all are getting put lower down the list. Please hear me clearly, don't avoid a test just because you are a lower priority from one of these labs. It is still critically important that we have everybody who needs or wants a test to get one, but just know that that may be a cause for additional delay. So bottom line, we are trying to do everything we can to max that lab capacity, but recognize that as a national problem. Finally is the governor mentioned, I want to applaud the efforts of all of the mask and facial coverings that we're starting to see. We talked pretty seriously about that last week and I want to commend both individuals as well as county leaders for stepping up to the plate and recognizing the importance of facial coverings. Not only do facial coverings help us reduce transmission of the virus, they help keep our businesses open and help us get back to the activities that make us feel normal and that we all love and enjoy. So continue to wear your mask and if you see me out, make sure I've got mine on too. Thanks.

Governor Bill Lee:

Thank you, Dr. Piercey. We will now go into the question and answer phase of the report. So we're happy to take your questions.

Governor Bill Lee:

Laine? Jonathan?

Speaker 2:

[inaudible].

Governor Bill Lee:

So what I've said on the campaign trail was that I didn't think we ought to remove Confederate monuments and whitewash history.

Governor Bill Lee:

I still believe that's the case. I think as I fully explained, I think what's most important is that we understand full context and the way to provide context for this particular bust, the best way to provide full context and full understanding of his contribution to Tennessee's history, which is important should be understood, should be read about, should be discussed, is to create an opportunity for that full context. And that's only available in the, in the state museum.

Speaker 2:

[inaudible]

Governor Bill Lee:

You know, the Capitol commission will vote on that. I've given them what I've, what my proposal is, what I believe is the best approach, but all along, we've known that it is a decision of the Capitol commission. That's the process. A process developed on the legislature. And we'll, we'll see where that, where that goes tomorrow.

Speaker 3:

[inaudible]. Could you reiterate the big picture strategy right now with the Corona Virus? Just [inaudible] closing, everyone quarantined [inaudible] now, things are back open, we are wearing our masks, but what are the big picture strategies [inaudible]

Governor Bill Lee:

I think that you mentioned that we're wearing our masks, we're starting to wear our masks. And I think that local officials are realizing, as they're seeing as cases rise and their, and their individual communities, that it is important to advocate for that. So it's the personal behaviors of every single person. This is a virus that spread with human contact. So we minimize the spread by doing the things that we know are most important. And that is first and foremost, and in, in our, in our talk today, and what we're reiterating and emphasizing today is the, the efforts around wearing masks included with social distancing, washing your hands to help when you're sick, all the things that we know mitigates the spread of the virus.

Speaker 4:

[inaudible]

Governor Bill Lee:

Yeah. You know, first amendment rights, actually, all rights are to be protected. It's one of the reasons we put in there, an exemption for religious activities as well. We want people to exercise their right to vote And it's important that there be no inhibition to, or no restriction for, and that there'd be no reason why a person would not be able to go to vote because potentially they might not have a mask. And that's the reason we did that.

Speaker 4:

[inaudible].

Governor Bill Lee:

Well, we certainly hope that people will wear a masks when they go to the polls. And we hope that poll workers will wear a mask, and we certainly will encourage that. And there'll be a lot of opportunity for people to have access to masks to vote but we did not want to make that a requirement. It was an exception.

Speaker 4:

[inaudible].

Governor Bill Lee:

It is, it is absolutely concerning. We're very concerned about the spread, which is why we are talking about the things that we believe will best mitigate the spread in our state. We need to, we need to protect the ability for our economy to continue to operate so that people can continue to work so that kids can go back to school. So that activities that are important for our society can continue. And we, have this virus, so we need to learn how to live with it and to mitigate it in a way that we can continue to live and continue to operate our businesses and continue to carry out the functions, but do so in a way that's safe. That's why we're talking so much about masks and distancing and washing hands and the things that will slow the spread.

Speaker 5:

[inaudible] Thank you lane and thank you Governor. I actually have a couple of questions for Commissioner Piercey. Specifically, [inaudible]

Dr. Piercey:

So today's number is obviously the highest we have had, but as the governor mentioned, our testing number, the denominator is also the highest we've ever had. So a really reliable or more reliable indicator of where our curve is moving is what we call the positivity rate. Some people also call that the attack rate, which is how many positive tests we've had in the context of all of them. Today's positivity rate was, I believe 8.3% or so, which is pretty much in line with what we've been seeing. So, when you take that into context, yes, the 2,500 or so number is startling and it's eye-opening, but it is also in context of what we've been seeing. So we see this continued increase, which means this is not slowing down. We have to continue making those efforts that we've talked about so much, but I'm not additionally concerned today, any more than I was yesterday, which was still a high level of concern, but nothing extreme today.

Speaker 5:

The reason I am asking about this and because of the [inaudible] So, why is the state still sending them [inaudible]

Dr. Piercey:

So as I mentioned, we're looking at all of the different labs and all of the different turnaround times, that is one of those labs that we are shifting away from right now, until they can catch up with their capacity or with, their throughput. And so the other thing that AEL is doing, and, and as I mentioned earlier, it's not the wrong way to handle it, but they are prioritizing. And our approach, as you know, has been for 90 days now is to test everybody who wants a test or who needs a test, including those that are asymptomatic. And when labs have those backups, like they're having, they put those at the bottom of the list, or sometimes don't even test asymptomatic patients. And so, until they can get caught up, we'll probably disperse our test elsewhere.

Speaker 5:

My last question for you Governor, boy I've had a lot of questions for you today. So, I apologize. Trump, President Trump has talked about forcing schools to reopen or withholding money. Will you keep money from the districts that decide to not return to [inaudible 00:08:09]?

Governor Bill Lee:

Yeah. We, we don't, we don't think that's happening. We don't see that happening. We have a really strong, a strong partnership with our districts. Commissioner Schwinn is working, as she said, we have calls three times a week with every superintendent, I believe that's right, commissioner. And so we don't see that happening in our state.

Speaker 7:

[inaudible].

Governor Bill Lee:

So we, watch every single day, as you know, we meet every single morning, unified command. We watch the numbers. We look at rolling 14s. So we look at positivity rates. We look at numbers most important, as I've said before, is the hospital capacity that we have. We know we're going to have cases. We know we're going to have people that get sick, but what's most important is that we can treat them. And we, and we follow the death rate in our state too. We're very concerned about the number of Tennesseans that we lose. We have hospital capacity currently. We have capacity in all regions. I'll let Dr. Piercey address hospital capacity a bit more, but I was on the call today, as I said earlier, with a Tennessee hospital association to talk about every hospital, every region, what that capacity looks like. That's the most important number for us. And that's how we make decisions about what we do going forward.

Speaker 7:

[inaudible]

Governor Bill Lee:

We are certainly encouraging businesses to continue to do so. Commissioner Ezell, I believe is in Sevier County today meeting with local officials there. We have our Unified Command Group actually is set up to, and goes to localities that have spikes in cases, specifically to meet with chambers, leaders, health officials there, to make sure that those counties where we do see spikes are urgently advocating for the Tennessee Pledge, for mask requirements, for any number of health approaches. Yeah, we're concerned. We're concerned just like Dr. Birx and we believe that as we watch the data, we'll make the decisions best for each community. You want to add? Capacity, yeah.

Dr. Piercey:

Yes, sir. Thank you. So Natalie, you're right. We look at hospital capacity on a daily basis and we've seen it tick down the available beds, just a little bit. It's not into the concerning area. You're probably familiar we use a red, yellow, green, and it's just in the last couple of days it's gone from green to yellow. That's not terribly unusual. It fluctuates there sometimes, but what is not fluctuating is the number of hospitalized patients. They're going up by the day, and so we're keeping a close eye on that. Today's number is around 750 hospitalized patients statewide. Those are primarily concentrated in the Memphis and Nashville markets, but we're starting to see some increases in the Knoxville and Chattanooga markets as well as Jackson and Tri-Cities, and so pretty much every large hospital system in the state is having growing numbers of COVID patients.

Dr. Piercey:

Nobody's in any type of critical need right now. The other thing that we're doing in helping hospital support is making sure they have enough staff, because they might have beds all day long, but if you don't have staff to work those beds, then you essentially don't have capacity. Most acutely in the Memphis market, talking to the hospital leaders down there, I believe there's a call scheduled tomorrow, to make sure that they have the staffing that they need, and to ask what we can do to support that, prepared to do that in Nashville and other markets as needed. So it's something that's definitely on our radar and something that we're keeping a close eye on. Right now ,we're okay.

Speaker 8:

[inaudible]

Governor Bill Lee:

I'm sorry. There's no, what?

Speaker 8:

There's still no [inaudible]

Governor Bill Lee:

Right, right.

Speaker 8:

What is the update on [inaudible]

Governor Bill Lee:

Yeah. The legislature really will determine their approach on liability, but we expect that there will be a special session called to address liability legislation. The details of that are not fleshed out yet, but we're having conversations around what does that liability protection actually look like, and what is the best time for the special session. There's no specific answer on when or what that call will be, but we're moving in that direction.

Speaker 9:

[inaudible] the governor, do all [inaudible] What do you say to those folks-

Governor Bill Lee:

My message is that COVID-19 is a serious public health pandemic that is present in our state. That is a real health crisis. People are losing their lives as a result of this virus and we need to take it very seriously. My message is that individually, Tennesseans can respond to this in a way to mitigate this. If we want to keep our bars open and our businesses open and our schools open, if we want to keep our economy moving forward, then we have to take the responsibility of wearing a mask, of social distancing, of not doing those things that we know, create a higher risk for spreading the disease. My word to all Tennesseans is, we need you to buy in to this process. And you know what we have when we had to, and the initial onset, do your part, stay apart.

Governor Bill Lee:

People did. We mitigated the spread, we flattened the curve. We've got a flat net once again. And we can do that with individual behavior. We can do that with personal responsibility and we can do it with some pretty simple steps. Well we hope that we believe the curve will be flat. And we certainly, we, when things happen in the future, we take this one day at a time, we look at the data every day. We believe that the curve will flatten, but we it's up to Tennesseans to do that. And we think they can.

Speaker 9:

[inaudible]

Governor Bill Lee:

I'll be.. I plan just to speak to the Capitol commission tomorrow.

Speaker 9:

[inaudible].

Governor Bill Lee:

Well, I think you heard my thoughts about that today. That was what that is. Those are my thoughts. That is my suggestion. That would be my proposal to the Capitol commission.

Speaker 9:

[inaudible].

Governor Bill Lee:

You know, I just can't speak for what the Capitol commission will do tomorrow, but I'm going to propose that this is my proposal is what I think they ought to do. And let me just say, this issue, this subject, it is difficult. It has been difficult and controversial, and there are a lot of opinions. It's very politically charged, but I got into this job knowing that there would be very difficult decisions and that some of those decisions I would make, would have to be made on what I thought was best in my heart for the people of Tennessee and for the state of Tennessee. I know that I have to follow my convictions. And what I believe is right aside from all of the rest of it. And I think that's what people elected me to do, was to do what was right. And my evaluation of what is right. And that's what I have proposed today, what I think is the right thing for Tennessee.

Speaker 9:

[inaudible]

Governor Bill Lee:

Yeah. Well that, I will sign that bill and that process will continue and they'll make appointments to that. But I felt like it was the right time to call a Capitol commission meeting. I've said I would do it. And so we followed that process and did that and we'll see what happens.

Speaker 9:

[inaudible]

Governor Bill Lee:

I don't.

Speaker 9:

[inaudible]

Governor Bill Lee:

Yeah. We faced some great challenges in our state, certainly with COVID, we do. It's a historic unique time in our state, but Tennessee is rise to the challenge time and time again, we do what's right. We do what's in the best interest. And we serve our neighbors by working together to do things like mitigating the spread of a virus that can affect our neighbors. And I'm calling on Tennesseans to once again, step up, engage, join together, partner, do what's right. I feel very confident and have a great deal of hope for where this will go and what the future holds for our state in a number of ways. We certainly, it's certainly challenging days, but those are exciting days at the same time, because of the opportunity they give to us to respond in a way that leads in this country and shows how Tennesseans can do it. So I encouraged Tennesseans to be part of that. Thank you, I appreciate your having me today and stay in for the comments.