At the age of thirty-two, Jim Kyle began his career in public service. He has been working to make the lives of Tennessee families better ever since.
The values Jim lives every day are the same values he learned from his father, the late Jimmy Kyle and his mother, Louise. Both of his parents were children of the depression, and they knew what hard work meant. For Jimmy that meant driving a truck for Railway Express, and for Louise it was helping build tires at the Firestone Factory in Memphis.
The values of being frugal, being honest, and being trusted were engrained in Jim and his two siblings early on, his parents wanting what all parents want: a better future for their children.
It didn’t take long after Jim was elected for people to realize he could handle the tough jobs. As Tennessee’s prison system sat in turmoil and on the brink of a federal takeover, he was appointed to help oversee the long road back to a functioning correctional system, eventually become the leader of those efforts. As Senator Kyle says, “Tennesseans didn’t ask me to clean up the prison system for two years, but for the next fifty and beyond.”
By far, Jim’s biggest legacy has been his work in education. For the last twenty-five years every positive education reform in Tennessee has had Jim Kyle’s steady leadership to help move us forward.
Under Governor McWherter, Jim helped pass the 21st Century Schools reform plan that became the model for education funding reform in other states. Later, Senator Kyle worked with Governor Bredesen to improve the way we fund our schools and implemented tough new accountability standards.
Jim has led the way in reforming the Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship to expand opportunity for more students, fighting to ensure that scholarship award standards were equitable and fair. He created the Tennessee Rural Health Scholarship, offering financial assistance to medical and nursing students if they commit to serving in a rural community. Finally, Senator Kyle led the way in assisting our state’s soldiers as they continue their education through the Helping Heroes Grant.
As Democratic Leader, Senator Kyle has worked with Governor Bredesen to move Tennessee forward, playing an instrumental role in helping the Governor pass his legislative agenda through the Senate since 2005. Governor Bredesen has counted on Senator Kyle to sponsor and pass every piece of legislation important to his agenda, and perhaps most importantly, Jim has sponsored and passed seven balanced state budgets.
Jim and his wife Sara are the proud parents of four children: Sarah, Mary, Jim, and Caroline. The Kyles are members of Second Presbyterian Church in Memphis. Following graduation from Oakhaven High School in Memphis, Senator Kyle went on to attend college at Arkansas State University and law school at the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law at the University of Memphis, and is a founding partner of the Memphis law firm Domico Kyle, PLLC.