Former State Representative Ken Meyer is running for an open seat on the Republican Party State Executive Committee for Senate District 10 in the Aug. 2 election. The seat was formerly held by Oscar Brock, who now serves as National Committeeman on the Republican National Committee for Tennessee.
Meyer has a long history in Republican political circles at the local, state and national level for more than 30 years. A Reagan Republican, Meyer became active in the GOP in the mid-1980s, where he served as Chairman of the Hamilton County Young Republicans. Under his leadership, the organization grew from 30 members to more than 150 members.
In 1988, Meyer was asked to join the efforts in the New Hampshire Presidential Primary for retired Army General and former White House Chief of Staff Alexander Haig, where he became an integral part of the Advance Team in New Hampshire and in Tennessee. In 1989, Meyer served on the Board of the Tennessee Young Republican Federation and later on the Executive Committee of the National Federation of Young Republicans. During those years, Meyer also became associated with the national organization structured to elect Republicans to office known as GOPAC, which at the time was led by a then-unknown member of Congress, Newt Gingrich.
In 1990, Meyer was approached by the Tennessee Republican Party to consider running for the Tennessee Legislature from District 31. In his first run for office, Meyer unseated an entrenched, 18-year incumbent Democrat. Meyer’s win over Paul Starnes, then chairman of the General Welfare Committee, caused a shakeup in the Hamilton County Legislative Delegation and in the overall Tennessee General Assembly.
As a freshman legislator with a degree in economics from UTC, Meyer was an outspoken proponent of free-market solutions in law-making and a vocal critic of policies that expanded state government. This earned him high marks among fiscal conservatives.
In 1992, Republicans were the minority party in both houses of the General Assembly, and the Democrats held the Governor’s mansion. Meyer, who had become a target due to his strong positions and effective vocal opposition to expanded government, was a victim of redistricting by the Democratically controlled General Assembly. The legislature passed a redistricting bill that placed 12 Republicans into six newly drawn districts, effectively eliminating six Republican seats in the House of Representatives.
Meyer was placed in the same district as 24-year-incumbent State Rep David Copeland, a supporter of a state income tax. In his second upset in two political races, Meyer won the Republican primary before defeating Gerald McCormick in the general election. After the race, McCormick was convinced by Meyer and others to join the Republican Party. McCormick later ran for the State House and rose to position of Majority Leader before stepping down early in June 2018. Today, Meyer and McCormick maintain a strong friendship.
Meyer left the legislature in 1994 and made an unsuccessful run for the United States Congress when he lost in the primary to his childhood neighbor, Zach Wamp.
Subsequently, Meyer stayed involved in GOP politics. In 2001, he was asked to join the administration of President George W. Bush, where he served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs at the U.S. Department of Education. In that post, Meyer traveled across the country as an advocate for the newly passed No Child Left Behind Act to groups of governors, legislators and education leaders. He left after the first term and returned to the private sector, where he has maintained active involvement in policy issues surrounding education and technology on a national scale.
He currently serves as Executive Director of Government Affairs for a publicly traded Education Technology Company and continues state level policy involvement by serving on the board of the Beacon Center of Tennessee, a nationally recognized free market think tank based in Nashville. He also volunteers his time as an unpaid advisor and consultant for Republican candidates and elected officials in Tennessee and beyond.
Meyer is married to Sheena Hendon Meyer, who among other things, worked in the correspondence office of Vice President Dick Cheney in the Bush Administration. They currently reside in East Ridge, TN, and have one grown son and daughter-in-law, who live in Northern Virginia and are parents to the Meyer’s new grandson.