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The Tennessee state flag flies.

(The Center Square) – Gov. Bill Lee has appointed Carter Lawrence to lead the Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance as commissioner, the governor’s office announced.

Lawrence will fill the vacancy left by Commissioner Hodgen Mainda, whose last day is Friday. Mainda resigned last month shortly after a human resources investigation in which he was accused of “unwelcomed sexual advances and touching” by a female department employee.

Lawrence had been serving as chief deputy commissioner and chief operating officer at the department, and he served as interim commissioner from June 2019 to September 2019 after Julie McPeak left the department. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Lawrence has served on the state’s Economic Recovery Group.

“Carter is a proven public servant who has stewarded key priorities for the administration throughout his tenure, and I’m confident he’ll continue to support Tennessee businesses and consumers with integrity,” Lee said Thursday in a statement. “We appreciate his dedication to the Department of Commerce and Insurance and look forward to his continued service.”

A Nashville native, Lawrence graduated from Wheaton College in Illinois and holds graduate degrees in law and business administration from the University of Tennessee.

Staff Reporter

Vivian Jones reports on Tennessee and South Carolina for The Center Square. Her writing has appeared in the Detroit News, The Hill, and publications of The Heartland Institute.