Live from Music Row Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed Senator Ken Yager (TN-12) to the newsmakers line to talk about his districts goals and touch upon his background leading up to becoming a state senator.
Leahy: In studio, our all-star panelist, Carol, Swain. And on the newsmaker line state Senator Ken Yager who is now the head of the Republican caucus. Welcome to The Tennessee Star Report, Senator Yager.
Yager: Hey, thanks for having me. Good to be with you.
Leahy: You know, we’ve not met but I’ve been reading your bio. I have to read your bio. This is fascinating. You live in Kingston and have represented that area for several years. But here’s your background. You know it but our listeners don’t. You went to UT. You have a JD from the University of Memphis. You worked your way through college and law school as a janitor and cashier.
Yager: That’s true.
Leahy: I had jobs like that in college, by the way, so we have something in common there.
Leahy: But you began your career as a teacher in Harriman City Schools, and then you were the County Attorney from ’78 to ’82. And you became County Executive in Roane County in 1982. Then elected to the state senate subsequently. And you’ve been in there ever since. You’re also now an assistant professor at Roane State Community College. That, state senator Yager is one very impressive background.
Yager: Thank you very much. And I might say I have since retired from my position at Roane State, but I did hold an assistant professorship there for some time. And it was a good experience.
Leahy: So you have a lot of experience in education and you are the caucus chair know. You are in the with Lieutenant Governor McNally, Majority Leader of Jack Johnson, and you’re the caucus chair. Tell us what that job does in the state senate.
Yager: First it’s wonderful to serve under Lieutenant McNally and Senator Johnson. Two wonderful leaders. I’ve learned a lot from them. And my job as caucus chairman among other things to make sure that we get our members who are up for re-election re-elected as a primary job that I do. The terms in the Senate are staggered. So for example in two years we will be electing about half the body again.
And we just re-elected 15 of our members in the last election. So that’s my primary job is to make sure that those men and women have the tools they need to get reelected. And then as also caucus chairman I start in touch with the caucus to hear what they have to say and make sure the views of the group or relate to the leadership when we need to make whatever decisions that we may need to do.
It’s a pretty busy job. I enjoy it though very much. I know we haven’t met and you probably would know I’m a very district oriented person and this position in leadership gives me a position to make sure that my district and other rural districts in Tennessee are not neglected.
Leahy: There are 33 members of the state senate do I have that right?
Yager: That’s correct.
Leahy: And what the mix now is 27 Republicans and six Democrats. Is that the current mix?
Yager: I believe it is. Yes. The Democrats picked up one seat in the last election. We re-elected all the rest.
Leahy: That’s a pretty good record. 15 and one. That’s not bad. Congratulations on that. So is there any reason to think that you won’t have a similar kind of record in 2022?
Yager: None whatsoever and we’re going to do fine. I expect we’ll reelect all the members in the upcoming cycling two years. We’ve got a perfect formula. We’ve got strong candidates who are right on the issues and who stay in touch with their constituents. And that’s the perfect formula for re-election. And that’s what I try to do is to encourage you to stay in touch and to stay out there on the issues. Of course, it’s two years down the road, but I expect they all will be re-elected.
Leahy: We’re talking with State Senator Ken Yeager, the chairman of the Republican caucus from Kingston, Tennessee. When we come back after the break, Carol, Swain will join with some questions and we just want to know what Senator Yager’s constituents are thinking and what they are telling you.
Listen to the full third hour here:
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