After Battling Porn, Tennessee State Senator To Run For Governor

One of Tennessee’s most conservative state senators has announced her candidacy for governor on a record that includes strong support for President Donald Trump and criticism of same-sex marriage, pornography and allowing transgender students to use the bathroom of their choice. 

Republican Mae Beavers plans to formally declare her candidacy this week after releasing a statement about her run on Saturday. 

“President Donald J. Trump is taking the lead in Washington to ‘drain the swamp’ there, but we have our own swamp in Tennessee, and I intend to do the same thing in the Volunteer State,” she said, according to Nashville’s WSMV-TV.

Beavers, first elected to the state senate in 2002 in a large district east of Nashville, has attracted attention outside of the state with her conservative agenda.

In a resolution that unanimously passed Tennessee’s Senate in March, she declared pornography a “public health crisis” that warps young people’s views about sex and deters men from marrying. The resolution called for research about pornography’s effects and other steps to discourage its consumption. 

Earlier this year, Beavers introduced a bill to undermine the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 decision legalizing same-sex marriage. Her bill would “defend natural marriage between one man and one woman regardless of any court decision to the contrary.” A decision on this bill has been postponed till next year.

A third bill this year intended to force students at public colleges and schools to use only the restrooms and locker facilities that match the gender listed on their birth certificates. Beavers’ bill died without receiving any support in a state Senate committee. 

In some ways it was a moot point because Trump had already taken an executive action that eliminated protections for transgender students against discrimination across the country. 

Beavers and a colleague who introduced the same-sex marriage and transgender restroom bills in the state House abandoned a press conference about the legislation due to angry protests. Beavers later suggested that those demonstrators should be imprisoned under an arcane state law prohibiting disrespectful behavior while the Legislature is in session.

Restricting abortion rights and tackling the “terrorist threat from radical Islam” are some of Beavers’ other priorities, according to The Tennessean

Beavers has been criticized for maintaining a private Twitter account. Her declaration for governor revived the #BlockedByMae hashtag.

One of her possible opponents in the 2018 Republican primary could be Mark Green, a state senator who withdrew his nomination to be Trump’s Army secretary after HuffPost first reported on anti-LGBTQ comments he’d made. Green had announced he’d run for governor before the Trump nomination. He said he will reveal later this week if he’s going to run. 

There are two other declared Republican candidates: former Tennessee Economic and Development Commissioner Randy Boyd and Bill Lee, a businessman with no political experience. 

Term limits prevent Republican Gov. Bill Haslam from seeking a third consecutive term. 

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