Ken King: From a Place Called Home


Since 2013, Ken King has been the Texas House State Representative for District 88, serving the majority of the Texas Panhandle that King is proud to call home and is currently in the running for his seventh term.

Hailing from Canadian, TX, King is no stranger to the rural demographics of the top of Texas, building close-knit relationships with the communities and their citizens.

King’s interest in becoming State Representative came about during his time as president of the Canadian Independent School District when the State mishandled around $4 million of the school’s funds.  

Furious with the State’s lack of integrity and honesty, King became a member of the Public Education Committee, the first rural member in over 30 years, and took the fight where his voice would be heard.

“I told my collegues that the only way we were ever going to get that money back was to have a seat out there in the House Chamber and I drew the short straw and I’m still the Rep today,” King said.

King soon realized that compared to the bigger, metropolitan areas of Texas, the rural communities in the Panhandle were largely ignored by other State legislatures and being born and raised within those communities gave him a unique advantage.

“There’s 181 elected officials and I’m the last true rural representative in the whole place meaning I don’t have a population center within my district of 100,000 or more,” King said. 

“So whether I’m in Canadian where my home is or I’m in Pampa that’s my adopted home, I see the same people in ball games and church events. I have to be accountable for the votes I take, the things I say, what I stand for and be able to explain it where a lot of my urban counterparts don’t have that.”

Coming from a family that was heavily involved in the oil and gas industry as well as farming and ranching, King knew that the priorities differed from each district, 88 being the closest to hit home. 

“What keeps our district together is most people, no matter what is going on, care about water, education, transportation, border security and property taxes. These are all things that the State can and should do something about,” he said.

“Warren Chisum, my predecessor, told me if you like helping people, you’re going to love this job. And that’s truly what the job overall is about. I can’t be everything to everybody, but when we have constituents that call and are having trouble with a state agency, that’s a huge part of our job: cutting through the red tape. It’s our job to help our citizens move forward.”

Although King’s main focus when becoming State Representative was primarily on education, he was quick to discover that the job reached much further than he could have imagined.

“My job was to go get that money back for Canadian ISD and then quit. I’ve stayed for a number of reasons. I love Texas, I love this part of Texas, I love the people I represent. It’s an honor to do it and I’ve enjoyed my service. I’ve got to do so many things that I never thought about.”

King passed a law that allowed a woman to receive a CA-125 test as part of her health insurance that can detect ovarian cancer in its early stages, resulting in further research and success-King’s inspiration stemming from his mother who had passed away from ovarian cancer in 2013.

“I think that if my mother would’ve had the CA-125 blood test just a few years before she died, she would still be here, but insurance didn’t want to pay for it-but they do now.”

King helped pass the Right to Try bill, which allows eligible patients to request access to certain drugs that have not yet been passed by the Food and Drug Administration.

King also played a crucial part in revising Melissa’s Law for Texas, enhancing fines, penalties and punishments for sexual assault offenses.  

Currently, King serves as Chairman of the Licensing and Administrative Procedures Committee that oversees licensing from nearly every industry in this region, from occupational and plumbing to hairdressing and liquor licensing.

Recently, King voted to give back $18 billion to the taxpayers of Texas by expanding homestead exemptions and through the Robin Hood effect.

“This was never on my radar. I ran for rep to get the money back from Canadian ISD and when I got there, I found out that there’s so much more. If you just care and you’re willing to put the work in, you can be extremely effective and you can touch thousands and thousands of lives.”

Early voting is currently ongoing until March 1 at the Gray County Courthouse, located at 205 N. Russell in Room 104. The primary election is March 5.