Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee says he’ll work to change law honoring Nathan Bedford Forrest Day

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – Tennessee Governor Bill Lee faced tremendous backlash after signing a proclamation honoring Nathan Bedford Forrest.

It’s required by state law. However, the governor is now saying he wants to change the law requiring governors to sign a proclamation.

“I want to explain why I didn’t like it and why I did not want to sign it,” said Governor Bill Lee on Monday.

Lee said he was reluctant to sign a proclamation he is required by low to sign observing Nathan Bedford Forrest Day. Forrest was a slave owner and Confederate army general.

“That’s why I didn’t want to sign it and why we need to look at changing law and I will work with legislators to do that,” commented Lee.

That’s progress for Democratic state Senator Raumesh Akbari.

“I think it’s not something we need to celebrate in Tennessee,” said Akbari. “I’m encouraged because he’s looking forward to working with the general assembly to change this law. So, I think it’s a good thing. Hopefully he’s serious about that.”

Akbari says leaders on the other side of the aisle are willing to help change the law.

“I have some Republican colleagues who said they are interested in working with us on it,” said the state senator.” So, we’ll see. Certainly having the governor’s support is a big deal.”

State Representative Antonio Parkinson believes the chances of dumping the former KKK leader’s observance day are slim.

“We have some individuals who are entrenched in their desire to keep this individual celebrated,” said Parkinson. “But you can always make an attempt to make change there at the Capitol.”

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