ROGERSVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) – With the Tennessee 225 Tour coming to a close next week, Gov. Bill Lee stopped in Hawkins County on Monday for a tour of the historic Hale Springs Inn.

A crowd comprised of local elected officials and Hawkins County school students greeted the governor and the first lady upon their arrival to West Main Street in Rogersville.

Before taking the tour, Lee took the opportunity to address the invited crowd gathered inside the inn. He spoke of memories made previously in Hawkins county, as well as the kindness and thoughtfulness of the people he has encountered here over the past few years.

He touched on the newly-passed state budget, but also on the importance of local leaders and individual citizens in the fight to solve everyday challenges in communities. But, not just large communities such as Nashville and Memphis — also those smaller counties, like Hawkins.

“Rural counties matter a lot to me, if we’re going to have a strong state, we’ve got to have rural counties that are prosperous,” Lee said.

“We’re hoping that the more that people come in and see what a great community this is, not Just Hawkins County, but Northeast Tennessee as a whole,” Executive Director of the Rogersville-Hawkins County Chamber of Commerce Nancy Barker said. “I think the more people we’re going to have locate here and the more people we bring in, the better our county is going to be.”

Before entering the inn, the governor snapped a few photos and autographed some welcome signs being held by the children in attendance.

Gov. Bill Lee meeting with a group of students gathered outside the historic Hale Springs Inn. (Photo: WJHL)

He also gave them a special thank you during his remarks, touting their value to a successful Tennessee.

“That’s who we invest one billion additional dollars in education for, that’s what we’re putting $500 million in vocational and technical education for,” Lee said. “It’s for those young people, who will be standing in this room in place of us one day. And, we owe it to them to create that kind of an environment.”

Lee’s tour will continue Wednesday in Middle Tennessee with a stop in Hickman County.