The Tennessee Republican Party recently awarded Kay Shamblin Statesman of the Year honors for her work in party politics since 1970 when she volunteered as a campaign worker for Sen. Bill Brock.
Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey presented awards July 12 to one person from each of the nine congressional districts during the 37th Annual Statesmen’s Dinner at the Music City Center in Nashville.
The award was special for Shamblin, who retired from her position as county campaign manager after the November 2012 elections. Her last campaigns were for Sen. Bob Corker and Gov. Bill Haslam.
“I enjoyed every one of my campaigns, all the way to the very last one,” she said during an interview in July.
Elenor “Kay” Howles Shamblin was born to William and Ruth Howles of Memphis. They were a Christian and politically active family.
“Dad was a politician,” she said. “He always said to look at the issues, look at the issues, and then look at the issues, to know what [politicians] stand for. You’re not looking for someone who is popular. You’ve got to know what somebody stands for and how it is going to affect you.”
Kay is married to Bill Shamblin. The couple have been married 58 years and have three grown children: Brenda, Sheila and Steven. They are also proud grandparents of six grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Due to Bill’s career with Western Electric, they have worked and traveled throughout 49 states. Over the years Kay has been a Sunday school and public school teacher. The first 25 years of married life was in Chattanooga. They resided in Ooltewah for 13 years before moving to Cleveland 20 years ago when Bill retired.
Since moving to Bradley County, Shamblin served about eight years as vice president for the Bradley County Republican Women and as chaplain and historian for both the Bradley County Republican Women and the Bradley County Pachyderm Club.
She became a volunteer for the Republican Party at the age of 18 and worked for many local candidates since.
“My first major volunteer job was with Senator-then-Congressman Bill Brock. Since then, I’ve been blessed to meet so many wonderful friends, like Peggy Meyer. And through all the years, Bill supported and encouraged me all the way.”
One of Shamblin’s favorite quotes is from U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn who stated, “Liberty is not America’s gift to the world; Liberty is God’s gift to all people.”