Governor Bill Haslam and Governor-Elect Bill Lee begin transitioning of power

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - As incumbent Tennessee governor Bill Haslam prepares to pass the torch to governor-elect Bill Lee, the pair said they’re positive about the future of the Tennessee.

Haslam said they are committed to making this the easiest transition in the history of Tennessee.

"Every department has already completed what we call a continuity of state operation, it's a book that they are ready to hand to their successor, we're ready to begin immediately on budget items," said Haslam.

Lee, a Republican businessman, held a 59 percent to 39 percent lead over Democrat Karl Dean.

During a press conference Wednesday Lee said he's honored to have the title, but he's ready to get to work.

"I want to be a governor for every Tennessean, and I want to wake up every single morning thinking about how it is that I can use my life in a way and lead in a way that will positively impact every Tennessean," said Lee.

The soon-to-be governor said moving forward he wants to develop clear strategies on issues including healthcare, economic development, education and criminal justice reform.

“We’ve talked a great deal about lowering the recidivism rate, criminal justice reform, sentencing reforms, re-entry programs .. we’ll certainly be exploring those,” said Lee.

In his victory speech Tuesday night, Lee also pledged to do all he can to improve the economy of Memphis and Shelby County.

He called Shelby County vital to the state.

Thursday, Lee announced part of his transition and inaugural leadership team. His staff includes business leaders and gubernatorial campaign veterans, but he’s still looking for others to join the team.

Click here to learn more about his transition team.

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