Billboard Claims Bill Lee Afraid to Take a Stand: ‘I’m Not Advocating For or Against a Transgender Bathroom Bill’

anti-Bill Lee billboard

A new billboard appearing at several strategic locations in Middle Tennessee and East Tennessee claims that Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Lee is “afraid to take a stand” on the issue of transgender bathrooms.

“I’m not advocating for or against a transgender bathroom bill,’ — Bill Lee, November 14, 2017,” the billboard reads.

The billboard is paid for by Jobs4TNNow, an independent expenditure group.

With less than two weeks until the August 2 primary, and with early voting underway, the Republican gubernatorial race has become a fluid three-way battle between Lee, Knoxville businessman Randy Boyd, and Rep. Diane Black (R-TN-06), where each campaign–and a number of independent expenditure groups–are fighting furiously for each and every available vote.

A website launched on Thursday,, which appears to be part of the Jobs4TNNow communication effort, features a YouTube video published in February 2018 of Lee responding to a question about his position on state action on the transgender bathrooms. (Note: Other sources have reported that Lee made these comments at a November 14 meeting of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga College Republicans.)

You can watch the video here:


“Why do you not believe in a ban of –or support–transgender bathrooms?” a woman in the audience asks Lee.

“Because I believe that a statewide policy on an issue like that is not in the best interest of Tennesseans,” Lee responded.

“It’s divisive and destructive and…that’s government intervention into areas of life that I don’t think we ought to intervene,” he continued.

“I think that those are best decided locally. Those decisions are best decided locally. And that we’ve handled personal decisions locally like that in the past, and that’s why I’m not advocating for or against a transgender bathroom bill,” Lee noted. (emphasis added)

“I’m a very conservative guy who has very conservative principles who thinks that we often times create divisive subjects that play into the hands of more chaotic policy than if we allow local authority to make decisions on things,” he added.

“Just like in education, I’m generally an advocate of pushing those decisions out,” Lee concluded.

A radio ad on the same topic, paid for by JobsforTNNow, began airing on radio stations across Tennessee on Thursday.

“Bill Lee didn’t give one dime to Donald Trump. Hey, Bill Lee, what’s your problem with Donald Trump?” a woman narrating the ad asks.

“Bill Lee–money to liberal Democrats and RINO Republicans, but nothing to Donald Trump,” the woman ads.

“Bill Lee talks about being a conservative except when he talks about the issues that matter, like when he says transgender bathrooms and keeping men out of little girls’ bathrooms and locker rooms would be ‘divisive and destructive’,” a male narrator says.

“How can Bill Lee stand up for our values when he won’t even pick a side when it comes to transgender bathrooms?” the narrator asks.

“Bill Lee. A politician in transition,” the narrator concludes.

You can hear the ad here:

The Tennessee Star contacted the Bill Lee campaign for comment on the transgender bathroom issue and the billboard campaign that highlights it, but has not received a response.



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11 Thoughts to “Billboard Claims Bill Lee Afraid to Take a Stand: ‘I’m Not Advocating For or Against a Transgender Bathroom Bill’”

  1. […] lack of a position on the transgender bathroom use issue has recently been the target of a billboard campaign paid for by […]

  2. lb

    Look, deflecting to who paid for this billboard, or ads, etc is just ignoring FACTS. The FACTS are Lee has consistently refused to take a stand on many issues. His “policies” are just empty, lame platitudes and promises. With Lee, there is no “there there”. And the very fact he gave $$ to felonious megan and didnt give a DIME to Fox was the deal killer for me. Just another dem leaning RINO. We dont need ANOTHER squish Gov like Haslam, etc

  3. Kevin

    Some second thoughts. The name of the “organization” taking credit for this billboard DOESN’T say PAC at the end of if?? And it’s not listed on the TN Bureau of Ethics and Campaign Finance’s website?? Nothing (yet) on the IRS website either?? Hmmm

    So the operation running this ad most likely is a “Black” ops 501c4, probably being run by a political operative and funded by Black, Boyd or both. A clever way to hide the money trail AND for people to make money off of the campaign process. Just more of the political deception that defines the DC/Nashville swamp! Stay tuned for the “rest of the story”!

  4. David James

    Bill Lee’s “brand” has always been “I’m a Christian conservative” and is the brand put on his campaign for governor. His ads and website show him reading the Bible, and yet, he could not from the get-go make an affirmative statement opposing transgender bathrooms in schools! Forget politics, the question has never been about politics but about your core beliefs which his supporters say will make us a better state if he is elected. His inability to make an unequivocal statement when asked the straightforward question has absolutely nothing to do with being a novice in politics regardless of how Jeff Hartline tries to spin it. Lee’s inability to answer this question tells me all I need to know about his ability to navigate the important social, cultural and political issues that the liberal left if hammering us with. Using Bill Lee’s formula on the bathroom issue means he is just fine with boys in girls bathrooms in Nashville.

  5. Kevin

    They say, “if you’re not taking flak, you’re not over the target”! The PAC sponsoring this hit job is a Boyd/Haslam operation.

    Today Harwell will be making a BIG announcement. Probably selling her support to either Boyd or Black. Watch for the quid pro quo to follow if that candidate gets elected! My guess is that she’ll throw her endorsement to Boyd. She’s been carrying Haslam’s water for years!

    But then again the Black payroll could absorb another politican employee!

  6. Silence Dogood

    More dirty tricks but easy enough for Bill Lee to handle this billboard. In fact what a blessing for Bill, thanks to the Boyd campaign. Turning Lemons into Lemonade, so to speak. State your position clearly and quickly. Say it Bill. Tell us what you really believe. What are your beliefs, today, on this issue? Will you be a Greg Abbott of Texas or a Bill Haslam of Tennessee? The Bible is clear on this issue. The laws of this state are clear on this issue. The culture of the folks you are asking to govern are clear on this issue. Speak…now!

  7. 83ragtop50

    His refusal to take a stand on this forces me to believe that his Christian value system is not what he portrays it to be. If he is wishy-washy on this topic what will he do when a more difficult topic is laid in his lap? This seals the deal for me. I will not vote for him. And Boyd is not even worth mentioning.

  8. John Bumpus

    Additionally (as a separate matter), in the foregoing article it is reported that The Tennessee Star contacted the Bill Lee campaign for comment on the transgender bathroom issue and the billboard campaign that highlights it. I commend the Star for seeking information about this issue from the Lee Campaign, and I trust that the Lee Campaign will very soon be fully forthcoming with its position on this issue which is very important to the voters of our State.

  9. John Bumpus

    I am disturbed that the campaign advocacy group calling itself ‘Jobs4TNNow’ (this is a ‘play’ on the State of Tennessee official government website which assists job-seekers—this name is subtlety similar to the website yet still is different) is trying to present itself as an INDEPENDENT expenditure group. I don’t believe it. Sounds to me like ‘dirty politics’ by long-time, experienced ‘pols,’ else the identity of these people and their affiliations would be readily apparent (but they aren’t). This group has so structured itself as to make it impossible (to date) to ‘follow the money.’ Legitimate public-spirited, good government groups do not do things like this. Obviously, this group likely has more in mind than mere good government advocacy because its expenditures have to be significant and the money must come from someone. Who hopes to benefit from doing this and why? As the old saying goes, ‘inquiring minds would like to know.’