SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. — President Donald Trump has appointed Republican state Sen. Jim Tracy as Tennessee rural development director for the U.S. Agriculture Department.

Tracy is an insurance agent and former college basketball referee from Shelbyville who has served in the state Senate since 2004. He fell 38 votes shy in his primary challenge of U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais in 2014.

It’s unclear whether Tracy will be required to leave the Tennessee General Assembly to take on his new federal position.

Republican Senate Speaker Randy McNally of Oak Ridge in a statement called Tracy “an outstanding hire” for the Trump administration.

Tracy this year was a major proponent of Republican Gov. Bill Haslam’s transportation funding program that included a 6-cent gas tax hike to tackle a backlog of road projects.