Bill Lee

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Gov. Bill Lee is directing all state agencies to find ways to improve how they serve rural Tennessee regions as part of his first executive order.

Lee announced Wednesday his administration is placing a high emphasis on the development and success of rural areas.

The order requires all 22 executive departments to submit a statement by May 31 explaining how they serve rural Tennesseans. The order then asks each department to submit recommendations to improve that service by June 30.

Tennessee has 15 distressed counties: Lake, Lauderdale, Hardeman, McNairy, Perry, Jackson, Clay, Grundy, Van Buren, Bledsoe, Fentress, Morgan, Scott, Hancock and Cocke.

Distressed counties are among the most economically distressed in the nation.

This is the first executive order Lee has signed since taking the oath of office on Saturday.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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