Jim Lee not to seek reelection as Hawkins Mayor

Hawkins County Mayor Jim Lee, left, poses with Commissioner Nancy Barker when Hawkins County received the Three Star Governor’s Award from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development in 2019. Lee announced this week that he would not run for a second term as county mayor in 2022.

Hawkins County Mayor Jim Lee has decided one term is enough.

Elected as county mayor in 2018, Lee announced Monday that he will not seek reelection to his position.

In a release, Lee said that he was making this announcement at this time to give potential to organize their campaigns for next year.

“I am grateful to the citizens of Hawkins County for having the confidence and trust in me to elect me as county mayor,” Lee said. “I also want to thank my dedicated staff who work with me and consistently provide excellent service to the citizens.

“Four years ago, I pledged to represent all of Hawkins County with my conservative values as mayor. Nobody could have foreseen the pandemic and the economic shutdown that followed, but I’m proud Hawkins County has weathered the storm without a tax increase,” Lee said.

Lee thanked all of his supporters and his staff for their dedication. He noted that he has “always had an open-door policy and that will continue until my last day in office.”

“I look forward to spending more time with my family and friends,” Lee said. “With all the challenges currently facing the county and the continuing pandemic, residents deserve to have my full attention on running the county and not running for reelection.”

Lee encouraged the voters to look to see what each potential candidate has to offer the county. He also said that the office should not be used for personal gain.

“I love our county, and I am really proud of it. I am proud to have held this title. I am also proud to step back and now let the voters decide who will lead our county into the future,” Lee said. “It has been a pleasure and an honor to serve as your county mayor in one of the best counties in the state of Tennessee.”

There have been two candidates who have announced that they will run for county mayor.

Hawkins County Budget Committee Chairman Commissioner Mike Herrell recently announced his candidacy. He serves the Bulls Gap, Saint Clair and Cherokee precincts.

Rogersville businessman Kelly Markham is making his second run for county mayor. He ran in 2018 as an independent.

Hawkins County Election Commission Administrator Crystal Rogers said that potential candidates for county mayor may pick up qualifying petitions starting Dec. 20.