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FILE - In this March 16, 2020, file photo, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee answers questions concerning the state's response to the coronavirus during a news conference in Nashville, Tenn. Tennessee abortion providers are asking a federal judge to order that abortions can go forward despite an executive order from Gov. Lee aimed at reducing the spread of the coronavirus. Their lawyers argue in a motion filed on Monday, April 13, 2020, that Lee's order blocking “nonemergency healthcare procedures” should not apply to abortions. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File)

NASHVILLE — Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee has named Brandon Gibson as his administration's new chief operating officer, replacing Butch Eley who recently became Lee's finance commissioner.

Lee called Gibson, a former state appellate judge and previously the governor's senior advisor, a "respected voice both within our administration and across our state."

The governor said Gibson's "ability to think creatively and bring innovative ideas to fruition will be critical as state government continues to provide services to our customers in new ways during these challenging times."

Lee said "we're lucky to have a public servant like Brandon in Tennessee and I'm excited for her to get started in this new role."

Before joining Lee's administration, Gibson served on the Tennessee Court of Appeals for over four years. A native of Dyersburg, Gibson earned her bachelor's degree and master's degree in agribusiness from Mississippi State University and her law degree from Southern Methodist University.

Her appointment is the latest reshuffling in the governor's cabinet and top posts after then-Finance Commissioner Stuart McWhorter left that position in late March to become head of the governor's Unified Command Group, which is coordinating the state's response to the coronavirus pandemic.

This month, McWhorter announced he was leaving UCG at the end of May to accept a senior advisory role at Clemson University. A replacement for McWhorter has not been announced.

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