Lee Dryer, 52, is an attorney, a part-time judge in Fairview, and hosts a weekly radio station in Nashville.
Lee was born in Massachusetts but moved around because his father was in the Air Force. He and his family eventually settled in Florida where he went to high school.
He has an accounting degree from the University of Akron in Ohio and graduated from Vanderbilt Law School in 1994. The following year he went to work as a judicial clerk for the Court of Criminal Appeals in Union City, Obion County.
In his tenure as an attorney, he worked as an assistant district attorney for almost seven years and have worked on such cases as The Two Tiffanys Case in the late 1990s and obscenity-related charges for Barnes and Nobles.
“I worked in the corporate field for a while but there were some things about corporate law that bothered me,” he said. “In those days of securities law there were some wide loopholes and basically, everything was legal as long as you disclosed it. I don’t know this for sure but as I understand it, post-Enron, they’ve tightened that up and there are some rules for corporate governance that weren’t there before.”
Lee said he became a prosecutor because he wanted to try cases. He said he wanted to go after the “tough-gets” or the people who maybe would not have been prosecuted because of resources. With an accounting degree, he said white-collar crime is his thing. He handles white-collar crime now but said it’s not as big a part of his practice as he thought it would be.
Lee grew up in a little town called Brandon, Florida where Vanderbilt was very well thought of. He said if someone got into Vanderbilt they used to give them a little parade. He said that was the main selling point for him moving to Nashville.
RADIO HOST, ATTORNEY and PART-TIME JUDGE
On September 1, 2014, Lee took the bench after being elected as the Fairview City Court judge, his first government elected position.
“It was a rough election, but I’m glad I got through it,” he said. “I was running against two local people. I was the only one who hadn’t grown up there or lived there. I was very honored that they picked me over the other two candidates.”
Lee entered the race because he was convinced he was needed.
“It was an adjustment in the beginning just dealing with all of the different constituencies, but actually being on the bench and doing all the work and trying to fashion fair sentences and make fair rulings is something that I was better at than I thought I would be.”
He said so far it’s been a good experience and one day he might run for a full-time judge position. He said right now, he’s worried about his clients, how good of a judge he is and his radio show.
Lee hosts a radio show called the Conservative Law and Politics Show airing every Sunday night at 8 p.m. on Super Talk 99.7 WTN.
“For years people would tell me that I needed to do a radio show and I never gave two seconds of thought to it until my campaign manager said it and gave me an opportunity for it,” he said.
First broadcasting on March 8th of this year, he said the idea behind the show was to take a single issue each show, get experts in that area and give people information that they wouldn’t get in an ordinary talk radio program.
“In an average talk radio program, every 10 minutes they switch topics and you get just what’s on the surface and you walk away with a point of view rather than all the facts to support that point of view,” he said.”Even though we discuss legal and political issues from a conservative perspective, we do try to present the other side of the issue.”
On the show, he covers legal issues like drunk driving, human trafficking, asset forfeiture laws, the Bill of Rights, Internet censorship and net neutrality. He said it’s about learning for him as much as it is educating the general public.
Lee said censoring the Internet is something he’s violently against because there are things he wouldn’t know if he had to rely on major news networks.
COMMUNITY and CONCERNS
“A community can be defined in a lot of different ways,” Lee said. “It could be your neighbors. It could be a city. It can be your circle of friends or it can be as large as a country. It’s a group of people that have similar interests and have a moral duty to look after each other.”
Lee said being a part of a community means helping out with problems in any sphere.
“When I think of community, the first word that comes to my mind is Fairview.”
Lee said he and his wife went to a service project at Bowie Park planting trees. It was a cold and rainy afternoon and they didn’t think many people would show up. To much of their surprise, about 150 people showed up that afternoon.
“I thought it was great. How many other places would you see 150 people show up on a cold and rainy morning? All those people came to pitch in their labor under pretty nasty conditions to help a city park, a place of pride to them.”
“Even though I don’t live in Fairview it’s a town that I very much admire and certainly holds a special place in my heart. I think the world of the people out there.”
Lee lives in Franklin and loves it. He called the town a very safe and new place with not many low-income neighborhoods or urban decay.
He said that being true, it’s important to keep in mind that there are less fortunate people and people who need help in the community.
“Sometimes I think if you don’t see the problem you’re either going to know the problem exists or you’re not going to focus on it. There’s a big sense of community in Franklin but it’s different than Fairview.”
Lee said when he was campaigning in Fairview he could clearly see the areas in need whereas in Franklin that doesn’t appear to be the case.
“The sense of the need in Fairview is much greater than you get in Franklin,” he said. “There are pros and cons to both sides, but it really woke me up. It made me aware that there were people out there who needed help.”
Lee said the big changes for Nashville and surrounding areas in the last few years has been extremely positive, but he did share some of his growing concerns.
“Gang membership is a problem nationally and locally. I’ve seen a huge rise in gang activity since I’ve been here,” he said. “There are parts of Nashville that used to be relatively safe that aren’t anymore and I think crime is the problem.”
Lee said in order to combat gangs and criminal activity associated with gangs, the media and parts of the community need to quit convincing young people and minority groups that they don’t have opportunities.
“Yeah, there were some bad things in our past and some things that shouldn’t have happened but we’re still the greatest country in the world and we need to work on preserving that for our kids.”
Lee said in 30 years he might not be around but his nieces and nephews will be so he wants to make sure the community preserves and enhances opportunities for everyone. He said one way the community can’t do that is by giving people government handouts that discourage them from working and striking out on their own. He said he sees that happening now more and more as a judge.
Lee said he knows Davidson County District Attorney Glenn Funk and has since he was in law school.
“We don’t line up on the political spectrum but we do share the same sense of what ought to be and the same sense of as the DA says, ‘knowing the difference between a hardened criminal and a kid who’s made a mistake’. I think we share the same desire to separate those people.”
Following, he said another thing is looking at what kind of people the judicial system is giving felony convictions to.
“Are they people who really deserve to carry that scarlet letter around? There are definitely people who do. There are people who need to be sent away for a long time but sometimes I think we cast the net a little too broad,” he said. “Another thing that concerns me is the move to sanction everything with a loss of a driver’s license. If you lose your license, you lose your job, and once you lose your job then here comes the public assistance, giving way to a poverty trap.”
Lee said he may seek a permanent public office position in the future and that he will continue to practice law assuredly for the seven or eight years.
“Who knows, the broadcasting might take off, we’ll just have to see where the good Lord takes me I guess,” he said.
Lee said God, his wife of six and half years and his brother are some of the most important things to him.
Thanks for reading Nashville.
*Photo submitted by Lee Dryer
Every Thursday at noon Neat Nashville embraces the community by highlighting an individual in a feature article that tells their story and voices their concerns about the city moving forward. It is our hope to inspire good change locally, to be a force of unity, and support the people we all call neighbors.
It starts with community. It starts where you are.