Seven mayors from Northeast Tennessee counties, including Sullivan County Mayor Richard Venable, recently met with Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee and other state leaders to discuss the region’s needs and opportunities, according to a statement from Washington County, Tennessee.
Along with Venable, the mayors of Carter, Greene, Hawkins, Johnson, Washington and Unicoi counties coordinated the joint visit to Nashville to discuss topics such as post-pandemic economic development, mental health, workforce reentry for prisoners, opioid litigation and tourism, the release states.
Lee called the trip “historic and told the group this is the first time any region’s county mayors have traveled to Nashville as a cohesive group,” the statement said.
“Each mayor had an opportunity to discuss projects that are important to their counties with both the governor and commissioners,” Venable said in the statement. “It was very significant that we had so many of our legislators meet with the group to discuss county-specific issues that benefit the region as a whole.”
Along with Lee, the statement said the group met with state Comptroller Jason Mumpower and commissioners from the state’s finance and administration, corrections, tourism and economic and community development departments.
“When we approached various offices about meeting with us, it raised some eyebrows,” Washington County Mayor Joe Grandy said in the statement. “But we approached it with an agenda of supporting each other in various projects, and that made a huge impact.”
“We brought up issues that need to get back on track, like funding for radio communications to keep our law enforcement and first responders connected on calls,” Hawkins County Mayor Jim Lee said in the statement. “We want them to remember we’re up here in Northeast Tennessee, and we can make a trip to Nashville any time they forget us.”