State Senator Jim Tracy (R-Shelbyville) was appointed to a position with the U.S. Department of Agriculture by the Trump administration on Friday.
Tracy was named as the new USDA Rural Development State Director for Tennessee by Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue.
“U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced a slate of Farm Service Agency (FSA) and Rural Development (RD) State Directors, all serving as appointees of President Donald J. Trump. FSA State Directors help implement U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) policies in planning, organizing, and administering FSA programs in their respective states. They are also responsible for running the day-to-day activities of the state FSA office. Similarly, RD State Directors work to help improve the economy and quality of life in rural America,” the USDA said in a press statement released late on Friday:
“These state directors will help ensure that USDA is offering the best customer service to our farmers, ranchers, foresters, and agricultural producers across the country,” Secretary Perdue said. “FSA and RD both play a critical role in helping the people of agriculture, and are able to connect with people in their home states. They are the initial points of contact for millions of our USDA customers. Our goal is to help rural America prosper, and these state leaders will be of great assistance in that task.”
“Jim Tracy ran a small business in a rural middle Tennessee community for 24 years before being elected to the State Senate in 2004 as an advocate for agriculture issues in the state,” the statement added.
Tracy succeeds Obama appointee Bobby Goode, who served as USDA Rural Development State Director for Tennessee from 2009 until his resignation in January of this year.
Harriet Cannon has served as acting director since January.
“Jim Tracy has a strong record of accomplished public service and is a good friend. I’m glad President Trump appointed Jim to be Tennessee’s next USDA Rural Development State Director. Jim knows agriculture having grown up in rural Tennessee and earned a degree in agriculture education from UT Martin. I look forward to working with him to create better-paying jobs and expand economic development in rural areas. Tennessee and our nation are fortunate to have him in this position,” Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) said in a statement on Tracy’s appointment to be USDA Rural Development State Director of Tennessee.
“Through our programs, we help rural Americans in many ways,” the USDA Rural Development website says:
We offer loans, grants and loan guarantees to help create jobs and support economic development and essential services such as housing, health care, first responder services and equipment, and water, electric and communications infrastructure.
We promote economic development by supporting loans to businesses through banks, credit unions and community-managed lending pools. We offer technical assistance and information to help agricultural producers and cooperatives get started and improve the effectiveness of their operations.
We provide technical assistance to help communities undertake community empowerment programs. We help rural residents buy or rent safe, affordable housing and make health and safety repairs to their homes.
Dennis Beavers was named the Farm Services Agency Tennessee State Director in Friday’s USDA statement.
“Dennis Beavers brings business experience in the insurance industry, and experience serving on various boards and commissions in both Tennessee and Alabama to serve the USDA and the farmers of Tennessee,” the statement said.
Tracy was elected to a fourth term in the Tennessee State Senate in November 2016. He represents the 14th State Senate District, which includes “Bedford, Lincoln, Marshall, Moore and parts of Rutherford Counties.”
Should Tracy resign from the State Senate by the close of business on Monday, his replacement will be determined in a special election, most likely within the next 120 days, according to Tennessee election law.
Should he resign after Monday, his replacement will be named by the county commissioners in Bedford County, his county of residence, and an election to complete his four-year term will be held in November 2018, since the resignation comes less than one year before the next general election.
“The legislative body of the replaced legislator’s county of residence at the time of such legislator’s election may elect an interim successor to serve until the election,” according to Tennessee statutes.
Tracy failed in two previous efforts to win Congressional races. He lost a 2010 Republican Congressional primary to Diane Black (R-TN-06), and narrowly lost a 2014 Republican Congressional primary to Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN-04).
In the early stages of the 2016 presidential campaign, Tracy was “designated one of seven national co-chairs of a Ted Cruz campaign group called State Legislators for Cruz Committee.”
Subsequent to Cruz’s withdrawal from the campaign to become the Republican nominee for president, Tracy became a supporter of Donald Trump.
In the 2017 session of the Tennessee General Assembly, Tracy was a strong supporter of Governor Haslam’s gas tax increase proposal, which was vigorously opposed by grassroots conservatives throughout the state.
The gas tax increase proposal passed the Tennessee General Assembly, was signed into law by Governor Haslam, and went into effect on July 1.