Bill Jenkins, 2009 Honorary Alumni
William L. “Bill” Jenkins (R-TN) was sworn in
as a member of the United States House of
Representatives from the First District of Tennessee on
January 7, l997. He represented the First
Congressional District of Tennessee in the 105th through the
109th Congresses, serving on the Judiciary
and Agriculture Committees, and on the Subcommittees on
the Constitution and Courts, the Internet, and
Intellectual Property. He also served on the
Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk
Management; and the Subcommittee on Specialty Crops and
Foreign Agriculture Programs. In 2003, Jenkins was
named Chairman of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on
Specialty Crops and Foreign Agriculture Programs.
Jenkins, a seventh-generation Tennesseean, worked as
a family farmer and an attorney in his hometown of
Rogersville prior to his service as a Circuit Court
Judge for Tennessee’s Third Judicial District. He
resigned his judicial position on May 10, 1996, to enter the
First District Congressional race.
Beginning his political career at age 25 as a member of the Tennessee General Assembly, Jenkins served as State Representative for Hawkins, Hancock, and Grainger counties. In 1969, Jenkins was elected Speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives. He later served as Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Conservation and in 1971; was appointed by President Richard Nixon to serve on the board of directors of the Tennessee Valley Authority; and became a policy advisor on energy and legislative issues to former Tennessee Governor Lamar Alexander. He has also formerly served as a director of Home Federal Savings and Loan of Upper East Tennessee.
Jenkins owns and operates a family farm with beef cattle.
Bill Jenkins is married to the former Kathryn Myers, who taught at Langford Junior High School in Augusta, Georgia, Holston High School in Knox County, Tennessee, and Cherokee Comprehensive High School in Hawkins County. They have four children and eleven grandchildren. Educated in the public school systems of Rogersville and Hawkins County, Bill Jenkins earned degrees from Tennessee Tech University and the University of Tennessee College of Law before serving on active duty as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army Military Police Corps.
Jenkins is a member of the First Baptist Church of Rogersville, the Hawkins County Farm Bureau, the American Legion, Overton Masonic Lodge #5, a Life Member of the Tennessee Wildlife Federation, and the Tennessee Bar Association. He is a past chairman of the Tennessee Heart Association, past district chairman of the Cancer Crusade, and a past chairman of the Hawkins County Community Chest. He likes to hunt, fish, golf, and garden.