Jenkins takes primary over Smith

By Julie Fann
star staff
jfann@starhq.com

  William L. "Bill" Jenkins (R-TN) is a very happy lawmaker for the fifth time. On Thursday, Tennessee Republicans decided they want to see Jenkins serve a fifth two-year term in the U.S. House of Representatives.
  Jenkins garnered 90 percent of votes, or 19,911, in the primary election against David R. Smith II, who got 10 percent, or 2,271. Jenkins took 146 out of 245 precincts across the state, for a total of 60 percent. All election results are unoffical until Aug. 12.
  Jenkins will face Graham Leonard, of Kingsport, in November. Leonard won the Democratic nomination in the race against William Earp and Lewis Hopkins. At press time, The Associated Press reported results for 91 precincts, and Leonard took 47 percent, Earp 27 percent, and Hopkins 26.
  Jenkins was sworn in as a new member of the House from the 1st District on Jan. 7, 1997. He has represented the First District in the 105th through the 108th Congresses. Jenkins, a seventh-generation Tennessean, previously worked as a family farmer and attorney in his hometown of Rogersville prior to his service, beginning in 1990, 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 to replace retired 17-term Congressman, James H. Quillen.
   Beginning his 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 served as Speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives. To this day, he holds the distinction of being the only Republican to hold that office in this century.
   Jenkins owns and operates a family farm with beef cattle and burley tobacco. A strong advocate for economic development and protection of our natural resources, Jenkins is a former Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation and served as a policy advisor on energy and legislative issues to former Tennessee Governor Lamar Alexander. In 1971, Jenkins was appointed by President Richard Nixon to serve as one of the three members of the Tennessee Valley Authority's board of directors. He also formerly served as a director of Home Federal Savings and Loan of Upper East Tennessee.
  Jenkins is married to the former Kathryn Myers. They have four children and 11 grandchildren.
  Educated in the Rogersville and Hawkins County public school systems, 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 now serves inhis fourth term in Congress as a member of the House Committee on the Judiciary and the Committee on Agriculture. He serves on the Subcommittee on the Constitution and the Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property of the Judiciary Committee, as well as the Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management; and the Subcommittee on Specialty Crops and Foreign Agri- culture Programs of the Agriculture Committee. In 2003, Jenkins was named chairman of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Specialty Crops and Foreign Agriculture Programs.
  Leonard issued a press release Thursday night after learning that he won the Democratic nomination. Leonard stated: "I am grateful to the voters of Tennessee's First District for nominating me as Candidate for the U.S. Congress. I accept the nomination, with thanks to all who worked and voted for me."
  Leonard said in his statement that it would take a "miracle to overcome the usual voting patterns of Northeast Tennessee" regarding a Democrat's chances of success in the 1st Congressional District. A Democrat has not been elected to Congress from the 1st District since 1892.
  "As your Congressman I would have three main duties: To help legislate for the safety, good repute and best future for America; to legislate for and use my position to promote the interests of Northeast Tennessee; and to have an office that exerts every effort to satisfy the requests of each of my constituents in Tennessee's 1st District," he stated.