Former Trump appointee Beavers launches bid for Tennessee Senate District 9 race

THUMBNAIL Contributed photo / Dennis Beavers
photo Contributed photo / Dennis Beavers

NASHVILLE - Athens, Tennessee, businessman and farmer Dennis Beavers, who worked on Republican Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and went on to serve as the executive director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farms Services Agency in Tennessee, said he is running for the state Senate in District 11.

"I would just like to give back some service to a lot of great people," Beavers said in a Times Free Press interview. "And I think I have a vision on some important issues that we'll talk a little more in depth about."

The district is currently represented by retiring Sen. Mike Bell, R-Riceville. Rep. Mark Hall, R-Cleveland, announced last month he is running for the seat.

The district includes McMinn County, where Beavers lives, as well as a portion of Bradley County and all of Meigs, Polk and Monroe counties. It's expected to change under legislative districting in 2022 due to population shifts in East Tennessee.

"I'd really like to see, economically, our part of the world do well so kids don't have to move off," said Beavers, a University of Tennessee graduate. "There are enough good jobs here so we can support that. Bradley County has done really well, McMinn County is debt-free. And Meigs County is a hidden jewel."

Beavers, 49, said he first got involved in politics growing up in McMinn as a child, then going on to ferry voters to the polls as a 16-year-old. He was involved in UT's College Republicans.

He lived in Alabama for a number of years, later moving back to Tennessee with his wife and children who are in local public schools.

"I'm not going to be one of those guys who throws the public school teachers under the bus," Beavers said.

The candidate, who in addition to farming started two insurance companies, said he got involved early in Trump's 2016 campaign following a call from a friend who had been hired on Trump's personal staff.

"I said, 'Sure, I'd like to do that. I began my journey, call it that," Beavers said. "I knew his America First initiatives were needed, badly needed. You can't run a country by giving everything away. I believe people should be here legally."

Beavers has already held his first major fundraiser with Sen. Paul Bailey, R-Cookeville, serving as the featured speaker, according to a copy of the Dec. 17 invitation. Also attending and speaking was Sen. Frank Niceley, R-Strawberry Plains. Sen. Janice Bowling, R-Tullahoma, was also listed on the invitation.

Besides Beavers and Hall, others eyeing a run for the Senate seat are former Bradley County Sheriff Eric Watson, a former Republican House member who now lives in Meigs County, and Adam Lowe of Cleveland, a former Bradley County commissioner.

Contact Andy Sher at or 615-255-0550. Follow him on Twitter @AndySher1.