NASHVILLE — Conservative talk radio show host, author, college educator and former Bradley County Commissioner J. Adam Lowe said he is running for the Tennessee Senate seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Mike Bell, R-Riceville.
Lowe, who lives in McMinn County, thanked Bell for his service, saying the departing lawmaker has been a "steady conservative" and served as an "example and inspiration for me."
"The biggest reason I'm running is I think somebody like Mike Bell needs to continue in that capacity, and I feel like I'm the most like him," Lowe, 41, said in a telephone interview Friday. "When I kind of look around, I feel I fit that mold better than others."
The redrawn district, now known as Senate District 1, includes all of McMinn, Meigs and Rhea counties and most of Bradley County except for a portion of a precinct on the county's southeast edge, which falls within the new Senate District 2, including Polk, Monroe and Blount counties.
The Republican-controlled General Assembly plans to take up the redrawn state House, state Senate and Congressional district maps next week in committees with hopes of getting final floor approval either next week or the following week.
Previously announced candidates in Senate District 1 are state Rep. Mark Hall, R-Cleveland, and Athens businessman and farmer Dennis Beavers, who served in the Trump administration as the state's executive director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Services Agency in Tennessee. Lowe, Hall and Beavers will face off in a Republican primary election on Aug. 4, in advance of the November general election.
Map for reconfigured Tennessee Senate districtsView
Lowe, who is host of Talk 101.3 FM's "Man Up America," said he believes the "post-pandemic environment in Tennessee is going to present challenges for families, and I think my family has a perspective with kids in school and a wife who works in the school system and me having been a small businessman impacted by the pandemic."
The Calhoun resident said he sees those experiences providing a "kind of holistic perspective on some of those challenges that we're going to face."
Lowe said during his tenure on the Bradley County Commission from 2010 to 2014, the county and the rest of the nation were still recovering from the 2008 recession and there was little to no growth in revenues.
"We were able to manage the budget without a tax increase," Lowe said, but the county was still able to lay the financial groundwork for a new middle school built after he left office. He served as the commission's vice chair. During his tenure, Lowe said, he sought to "keep a culture of cooperativeness on that commission. And I think we had it."
Describing himself as a "pragmatist," Lowe said, "I'm asking myself as a senator what we would do in the next five and 10 years. And that's been my conversation with people out of Nashville who are up there: 'What do you think the agenda looks like?' Because when I go up there, I'm not content to just sit in a chair and vote, I'm a worker. I want to make things better."
Contact Andy Sher at email@example.com or 615-255-0550. Follow him on Twitter @AndySher1.