In announcing his candidacy for Warren County executive, Kenneth Rogers outlined specific plans for attracting quality jobs, boosting the cost efficiency of local government, improving public education and guaranteeing pay bonuses to all county employees.
“If elected, I can promise only two things – that I will give my very best efforts to move Warren County up and out of the economic problems, and to put something extra in every county employee’s paycheck,” said Rogers, a member of the Warren County Commission and a former county executive.
“I can guarantee the pay bonus for county and school system employees because I am committing here and now to donate my first year’s take-home salary entirely to be distributed among all those dedicated public servants who have been denied economic justice and fairness from their employer for many years,” he stated. “Our employees and their families have suffered financially because county government has balanced its books by ignoring the human needs of these people.
“That mindset of withholding the just and proper wages of our employees might not change in the county commission, but I can give my pay to them for a year to help ease, at least in a small way, their financial burden,” Rogers continued. “This is the one thing I can guarantee. All the other ideas I can only promise to work for and to encourage the public’s consent and support.”
The candidate said his campaign theme, and the guiding principle for his administration if elected, “will be to do the right thing for the people of Warren County.”
“I make no promises to individuals about county jobs or appointments to boards,”he declared. “Our history proves that private, secret deals that ignore or go against the public interest have not moved us forward as a community.”
Among Rogers’ ideas is a thrust to put Warren County schools in the forefront in graduating students equipped for higher-paying industrial and technical jobs and for academic success in selective and prestigious colleges and universities. “To support our students and to give them the competitive advantage, we have to support our teachers, and that includes more respect and better pay.”
Rogers also wants to open Warren County’s door to external direct investment with the aim of developing permanent new industry and quality employment. European and Chinese investors are eager to invest in American production facilities, Rogers noted. “If elected, I will be working every day to bring good, steady jobs to Warren County from any and every legitimate source,” he vowed.
Another priority would be maximizing the benefit of state and federal grants to defray the cost of local government services and improvements.
While serving as Warren County’s chief executive and financial officer from 2002-2006, Rogers said his administration brought in approximately $14 million in outside grant funding, all of which served to improve the quality of life of local residents without adding to their property tax obligations.
Some tax savings are within the present power of local elected officials, Rogers noted. The county school system has already documented taxpayer cost-avoidance of $80,000 per year by “smart-sizing” its energy usage.
“In county general government, I can’t see that we’ve taken the first step in saving taxpayer dollars,” Rogers said. “If elected county executive, I will start on day one to attack energy and resource waste and inefficiency. We can score a lot of cost-savings with very little effort if we just think about it.”
Also on Rogers’ wish list is cultivating a closer relationship and understanding with all county employees.
“The vast majority of our personnel are dedicated, hard-working people who have families to support and many financial obligations to meet every day,” Rogers said. “As their employer, county government needs to reflect the moral and civic values we always talk about. Let’s do the right thing for the working people.”
Rogers enters the race with 16 years experience in county government. He earned his certificate in County Government Administration from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and served under former Gov. Phil Bredesen on the board of the Tennessee Community Service Agency. After serving two years on active duty with the U.S. Army, he continued military service with the local unit of the Tennessee National Guard.
Born in 1949 to Jean Gillentine Rogers and the late W.A. Rogers of the Midway community, he married Jeanette McBride in 1968. Their son, Dale, and his wife, Holly, are parents of sons Abe and Kendal. He has one sister, Wilma Jean Young.
Rogers retired from Kroger after 36 years with the grocer and he continues his farming operation in the Rock Island area. Rogers and his family attend East End Church of Christ, where he serves as deacon and church treasurer, and oversees the benevolent program.