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Bill Jenkins (politician)

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Title: Bill Jenkins (politician)  
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Subject: Bill Jenkins, People from Rogersville, Tennessee, List of people with surname Jenkins, Tennessee lawyers, Phil Roe (politician)
Collection: 1936 Births, Baptists from the United States, Living People, Members of the Tennessee House of Representatives, Members of the United States House of Representatives from Tennessee, People from Rogersville, Tennessee, Republican Party Members of the United States House of Representatives, Speakers of the Tennessee House of Representatives, State Cabinet Secretaries of Tennessee, Tennessee Lawyers, Tennessee Republicans, Tennessee Technological University Alumni
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Bill Jenkins (politician)

Bill Jenkins
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Tennessee's 1st district
In office
January 3, 1997 – January 3, 2007
Preceded by Jimmy Quillen
Succeeded by David Davis
75th Speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives
In office
January 1969 – May 1970
Governor Buford Ellington
Preceded by James H. Cummings
Succeeded by James R. McKinney
Member of the
Tennessee House of Representatives
In office
January 1963 – May 1970
Preceded by Hugh S. Moles
Succeeded by Bruce Hurley
Personal details
Born (1936-11-29) November 29, 1936
Detroit, Michigan
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Kathryn Jenkins
Residence Rogersville, Tennessee
Alma mater Tennessee Tech University
University of Tennessee
Occupation attorney, farmer
Religion Baptist

William Lewis "Bill" Jenkins (born November 29, 1936) is a politician from the state of Tennessee. He represented the state's 1st Congressional district, centered on the Tri-Cities (map), from 1997 until his successor was sworn in on January 3, 2007.


  • Background and education 1
  • Political career 2
  • Running for Congress 3
  • Reelection and legislation 4
  • Best bass fisherman in Congress 5
  • Retirement 6
  • See also 7
  • Electoral history 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10

Background and education

Jenkins was born in Detroit, Michigan to parents from Rogersville, Tennessee. He is a seventh-generation Tennessean. He served in the United States Army from 1959 to 1960,[1] and graduated from Tennessee Technological University and the University of Tennessee College of Law.

Political career

Jenkins was elected to the Tennessee General Assembly as a Republican in 1962 and he served as Speaker of the House from 1969 to 1971—the first Republican to hold that position since a few years after Reconstruction, and the last one until Kent Williams in 2009. He unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination for Governor of Tennessee in 1970, was a Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Conservation, serving in the Cabinet of Winfield Dunn,[2] and according to his website biography, he was a senior policy advisor on energy and legislative issues for Governor Lamar Alexander.[3]

Jenkins was the only Republican to serve as Speaker of the Tennessee House in the 20th century. He was also one of the youngest persons to ever hold the office.

Jenkins served on the board of directors of the Tennessee Valley Authority from 1971 to 1978, and he was a circuit court judge for Tennessee's Third Judicial District from 1990 to 1996.

Running for Congress

On May 10, 1996, he resigned his judgeship to run for the House of Representatives from the First Congressional District after 17-term incumbent Jimmy Quillen announced his retirement.

The 12-way primary election was watched very closely in Tennessee Republican circles, as the district is so heavily Republican that whoever won the primary was all but assured of being the district's next congressman. The First District has been in Republican hands for all but four years since 1859.

Although Jenkins did not secure Quillen's endorsement for the primary, he narrowly won with 18% of the vote and breezed to election in November.

Reelection and legislation

He was reelected four times without serious opposition, and ran unopposed in 2000 and 2002. He won a fifth term in 2004 with 74% of the vote.

Jenkins kept a relatively low profile in Congress in contrast to Quillen and B. Carroll Reece, who between them represented the 1st District for all but seven of the 76 years before Jenkins won the seat. His voting record was reliably conservative.

Best bass fisherman in Congress

As seen on ESPN: "After the final cast was made, however, bragging rights for the title of "best bass fishermen in Congress" went to U.S. Representative Bill Jenkins (R-TN), who teamed up with BASS Elite Series pro Dave Wolak and Toyota's Charlie Ing to finish with five bass weighing 18 pounds, 9 ounces.

Fittingly, the 70-year-old legislator from Tennessee also posted the largest fish of the event, a 4 ½-pound largemouth that he caught in Mattawoman Creek, a tributary of the Potomac River in Maryland."


On February 15, 2006, Jenkins announced that he would not run for a sixth term. He said that he wanted to spend more time with his family since he is turning 70 in November.

See also

Electoral history

Tennessee's 1st congressional district: Results 1996–2004[4]
Year Democrat Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct Independent Votes Pct Independent Votes Pct
1996 Kay C. Smith 58,657 32% William L. Jenkins 117,676 65% Dave Davis 1,947 1% James B. Taylor 1,089 1% *
1998 Kay C. White 30,710 31% William L. Jenkins 68,904 69% *
2000 (no candidate) William L. Jenkins 157,828 100% *
2002 (no candidate) William L. Jenkins 127,300 99% Write-ins 1,586 1%
2004 Graham Leonard 56,361 24% William L. Jenkins 172,543 74% Ralph J. Ball 3,061 1% Michael Peavler 1,595 1%
Write-in and minor candidate notes: In 1996, Bill Bull Durham received 885 votes; John Curtis received 621 votes; Mike Fugate received 440 votes; Paul Schmidt received 367 votes; and write-ins received 26 votes. In 1998, write-ins received 75 votes. In 2000, write-ins received 20 votes.


  1. ^ "Veterans in the US House of Representatives 109th Congress" (PDF). Navy League. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-06-26. Retrieved 2006-12-09. 
  2. ^ Tennessee State Library and Archives — GOVERNOR BRYANT WINFIELD CULBERSON DUNN PAPERS
  3. ^ Representative Jenkins' website biography
  4. ^ "Election Statistics". Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives. Archived from the original on 26 December 2007. Retrieved 2008-01-10. 

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Jimmy Quillen
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Tennessee's 1st congressional district

Succeeded by
David Davis
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