Sen. Mike Bell

Sen. Mike Bell

State Sen. Mike Bell (R-Riceville), chair of the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee, announced Monday that he would not seek re-election in 2022.

Bell represents District 9, including Bradley, McMinn, Meigs, Monroe and Polk counties. He was first elected to the Senate in 2010 and previously served in the state House.

Through a representative, Bell said he was making the announcement now so that potential candidates have “plenty of time to come forward and meet with the people of the district.”

Prior to chairing the Judiciary Committee, Bell led the Senate Government Operations Committee. He has sponsored several bills related to gun rights and abortion restrictions.

“This is a tremendous loss for the Senate and the State,” Lt. Gov. Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge) said in a release. “Mike has brought a true working-class perspective to the Senate that has been simply invaluable. An authentic citizen legislator, Mike has served with distinction as chairman of both the Judiciary and Government Operations committees while at the same time owning and operating his own small business.