Tennessee gov appoints former GOP lawmaker to parole board

December 26, 2019 GMT

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee appointed former GOP state Sen. Mae Beavers to serve on the state Board of Parole.

Lee, also a Republican, announced Beavers’ new six-year term this week while unveiling more than 70 other appointees to various key state boards and commissions.

Beavers, a social conservative who has rallied against gay marriage and pushed bills to restrict the bathrooms transgender students could use, unsuccessfully ran for governor in 2018.

Beavers was an early supporter of President Donald Trump and served as the head of Tennessee’s delegation to the Republican National Convention. She left the state Senate in August 2017 to focus on her bid for governor.

While running her gubernatorial bid, Trevecca Nazarene University canceled a summit Beavers had planned on homeland security amid criticism that its speakers were anti-Muslim.

On Thursday, the Council on American-Islamic Relations — the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization — announced it would monitor Beavers’ actions as commissioner for any anti-Muslim bias because of her previous “Islamophobic statements.”

“For the next six years, CAIR plans to make open records requests to monitor Beavers’ conduct and decisions to ensure her Islamophobic bias does not in any way impact the impartially of the Board of Parole,” CAIR Director of Government Affairs Robert McCaw said in a statement.

When Beavers dropped out of the gubernatorial race, Lee said he looked forward to see her “steadfast conservative leadership be put to work in other ways in Tennessee in the months and years ahead.”

After dropping out of the governor’s race, Beavers became chair of the Wilson County Republican Party.

Tennessee’s Board of Parole is a seven-member commission appointed by the governor tasked with deciding whether eligible felony offenders will be granted parole.

Board members are paid approximately $102,000 a year.