Longtime State Sen. Jim Tracy has resigned his seat in the Senate to accept an appointment by President Donald Trump to serve as Tennessee rural development director for the U.S. Agriculture Department. As state senator for Tennessee’s 14th District, Tracy represented Moore, Bedford, Lincoln, Marshall, and parts of Rutherford counties. “It has been a distinct honor and privilege for me to serve the people of the 14th Senatorial District as their State Senator in the Tennessee General Assembly,” Tracy wrote in a letter of resignation to Gov. Bill Haslam on Monday. “I have enjoyed membership on various Senate committees, as well as performing the duties of speaker pro tempore of the Senate in 2017. “My constituents have always been my first priority, and I appreciate the opportunity they gave me to be a part of the Tennessee General Assembly,” he wrote, noting that his resignation was also effective Monday. “I have had the great distinction to be appointed by President Trump and his administration to serve as the next USDA director of Rural development for Tennessee, and I have decided to accept that position,” he added. A Republican from Shelbyville, Tracy was first elected to the Senate in 2004 and steadily rose through the ranks. He previously served as chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee and became Speaker Pro Tempore earlier this year. In addition, he served as a member of the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee, the Senate Transportation and Safety Committee, the Joint Committee, Council for Pensions and Insurance, and the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations. In 2014, he fell just 38 votes short in his primary challenge of U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais. Tracy replaces Harriet Cannon with the USDA’s Rural Development office, which provides a variety of loans and grants to businesses and families. Cannon served as interim director after Bobby Goode resigned from the position in January. Tracy’s departure from the legislature was expedited because the appointment does not require congressional approval. The resignation triggers a State law requiring a special election to take place if there is a vacancy in a Senate seat more than a year before the next general election. The general election takes place Nov. 6, 2018. Tracy’s resignation was required by the state Constitution, thus he could not wait until Wednesday to resign, which would have not have triggered a special election. Vacancies within one year of the general election are filled through an appointment. Gov. Bill Haslam has yet to order the special election, which by law must be held within 60 days of him issuing what is called a writ of election. Tracy is an insurance agent and former science teacher, coach and TSSAA and NCAA basketball referee. He has been a small business owner and leader in Bedford County for over 25 years. He and his wife, Trena, have raised three sons.