NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Tennessee governor’s office is planning to issue a Hispanic Heritage Month proclamation for the first time since 2014. At the time, former Governor Bill Haslam was in office.

Current Governor Bill Lee is expected to issue his first Hispanic Heritage Month proclamation of his governorship, as the Volunteer State is sustaining growth and diversity in its population. Recently, WATE 6 On Your Side reached out to the governor’s office to inquire about Hispanic Heritage Month. A spokesperson confirmed the governor would be issuing a proclamation.

“Our office plans to issue a Hispanic Heritage Month proclamation within the month,” Jade Cooper Byers, press secretary at the Tennessee Office of the Governor, said in an email.

Gov. Lee’s office has issued similar proclamations this year for Native American Indian Month, Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and Latin Language Appreciation Month. Gov. Lee has also issued Black History Month proclamations.

Last year, Gov. Lee told WATE 6 On Your Side that his office had no plans to issue a Hispanic Heritage Month proclamation, saying his office celebrates every Tennessean and their history and their past. Gov. Lee had met with the Latinos for Tennessee group and discussed issues in the state, tweeting, “we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and recognize all that these Tennesseans do to make our state flourish.”

Each year, National Hispanic Heritage Month is observed from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15 by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens and residents whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.

Data from the 2020 U.S. Census Bureau indicates that Tennessee’s total Hispanic and Latino population is around 6.9%. In some East Tennessee counties, U.S. Census data shows there are caches of Hispanic and Latino populations contributing to their local economies:

  • Knox – 6% Hispanic/Latino
  • Hamblen – 14.7% Hispanic/Latino
  • Loudon – 9.8% Hispanic/Latino
  • Sevier – 8.8% Hispanic/Latino
  • Hamilton – 7.4% Hispanic/Latino
  • Rhea – 6% Hispanic/Latino
  • Jefferson – 4.4% Hispanic/Latino
  • Blount  – 4.2% Hispanic/Latino
  • Monroe – 4.2% Hispanic/Latino
  • McMinn – 4.1% Hispanic/Latino

As for when Gov. Lee’s administration will issue the proclamation, those details have not yet been made available.