Ken Yager has committed his life to public service as an educator, government official, and community leader. His priorities are God, his family, and his community. In 2006, Yager completed 24 years of service to Roane County as its County Executive. Elected to six terms, he stepped down, choosing not to seek re-election. Two years later, he was elected to the State Senate, representing District 12, which consists of Roane, Rhea, Campbell, Morgan, Fentress, and Scott Counties.
Ken has a Bachelor of Arts (Liberal Arts/History), as well as a Master's Degree in Education, from the University of Tennessee. He earned his J.D. (law) from the University of Memphis. He worked his way through college and law school as a janitor and cashier. His lifetime of service as a teacher began in the Roane County public school system, followed by a role as County Attorney that began in 1978 and ended when he was elected County Executive in 1982. He has since returned to the field of education as an administrator and assistant professor at Roane State Community College.
During his terms as County Executive, Yager established himself as a sound fiscal manager. He left office with a budget surplus (with no tax increase) and actually improved the county’s credit rating from A- to A during his tenure, something not always done in small- to medium- sized Tennessee counties. Yager’s administration as County Executive leaves an enviable record, including: demonstrated support for the local school system and county road network; strong support for the emergency services; job creation, including a new industrial park; and consolidation of the local Chamber, Tourism, and Industrial Board offices. That record also includes an animal shelter, a new health department, a new interstate exchange, and scores of grants to Roane County totaling millions of dollars. As County Executive, Ken demonstrated his belief that positive results come from working together, such as his efforts with other officials to secure a regional primary care Veterans Clinic in Roane County.
Yager carried those years of county government experience to the State Senate where, as a freshman Senator, Ken was appointed Vice-Chairman of the Senate Environment, Conservation and Tourism Committee. He was then elected by his peers to be on the powerful Joint Fiscal Review Committee, which serves as a watchdog over the state’s financial affairs. He also serves on the Senate Transportation Committee and the Senate State and Local Government Committee, where he lends valuable insight on intergovernmental relations and the need for road improvements in Tennessee’s rural communities.
Most important to Ken, however, is his record of constituent service. He believes in the open door policy. He has also continued his strong commitment, first established as County Executive, to reaching out to the public through town hall meetings, frequent public events, and one-on-one contact with citizens in all six counties in the 12th Senatorial District.
Ken Yager is active in the life of his community. He has served as PTO President, Boy Scout Committee member, and school volunteer. His service continues on many non-profit boards, including the Mid-East Community Action Agency, with which he has been involved for 25 years. Yager’s ability was recognized on the state level by his appointment to the State Workforce Board and the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations. He is also a member of the National Rifle Association.
In 2006, he received the Roane County Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Service Award. Among other awards, he was also a recipient of the Tennessee Jaycees Outstanding Young Man of the Year award.
Ken is married to the former Malinda Raby of Oliver Springs. They have been married for 25 years and have two children, Bonnie-Marie, who is employed by Bryan College in Dayton, and Will, a junior at Maryville College. He and his family are members of South Harriman Baptist Church. He and Malinda make their home in Harriman.