The wife of Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, Maria Lee, was diagnosed with lymphoma, according to an announcement from the governor’s office on Friday.
The governor’s office stated that Maria Lee is expected to begin treatment immediately.
Governor Bill Lee said the news was unexpected, but her prognosis was good and the cancer was treatable.
He also asked for prayers for his wife’s healing and hoped they would have more to share in the coming days.
Lymphoma is cancer that begins in cells of the lymphatic system, which is part of the body’s immune system, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Depending on the specific type of lymphocyte affected, it can appear in different parts of the body and is categorized as either Hodgkin or non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Born and raised in Maryland, Maria Lee learned a life of service from her parents, who were active in their church, caring for children and caring for elderly neighbors.
In 2019, she launched her volunteer initiative in Tennessee after being drawn to education, which is how she met her future husband. Maria Lee was Bill Lee’s son’s third-grade teacher, and the governor’s first wife died in a horseback riding accident in 2000.
In the epilogue to his book “The Road I’m On,” Governor Bill Lee wrote about how Maria came into his life and brought him a new level of joy and love. The couple married in 2008.
The governor will sign anti-drug bills
Tennessee Republican Governor Bill Lee plans to sign a bill restricting where transvestism can take place by banning “adult cabaret entertainment” deemed “harmful to minors” from being performed on public land or in locations where children can see them.
The law does not explicitly mention “drag shows.” Still, it broadens the definition of adult cabaret to include “male or female impersonators,” topless dancers, go-go dancers, exotic dancers, and strippers.
During a press conference, Lee faced questions about the legislation and other anti-LGBTQ+ bills.
An activist presented him with a photo of himself from a high school yearbook, showing him wearing women’s clothing in 1977.
Governor Lee dismissed the photo, saying it was “ridiculous” to confuse it with drag show performances currently under attack in GOP-run states, claiming that “s*xualized entertainment for kids” is a serious problem.
When asked to give specific examples of inappropriate drag shows in front of children, Governor Lee pointed to a nearby schoolhouse and stated that children’s potential exposure to sexual entertainment and obscenity is a concern that needs to be addressed.
This is the second time a yearbook photo of Governor Lee has sparked controversy, with a photo of him wearing a Confederate uniform at an “Old South” party also sparking backlash in 2018.
I am also signing into law another bill that would ban most gender-affirming care for transgender youth, despite significant opposition from health care professionals, LGBTQ+ advocates, and the medical community.
It should be noted that drag performances do not typically involve nudity or stripping as these elements are more commonly associated with parody, which is a distinct form of entertainment.
While explicit adult language and themes are often present in cross-dressing performances for adult audiences, it does not typically involve sexual content or obscenity.