Kenneth Lloyd "Ken" Coon, Sr. was the 15th director of the Employment Security Division, serving from April 13, 1981, to February 15, 1983. he was appointed by Governor Frank White.
Mr. Coon was a Little Rock educator, professional psychologist, and counselor. He was also a pioneer in the development of Arkansas' Republican Party, serving in increasingly more prominent roles during his decades-long affiliation with the organization. He was nominated for lieutenant governor by the state's GOP party in 1972. Ironically, Mrs. Leona Troxell, the first and only female ESD director, appointed by her friend and colleague Winthrop Rockefeller, was Coon's ticket-mate during that race.
Mr. Coon served as executive director of the party from 1973-75. In 1974, he ran as a gubernatorial candidate against David Pryor. Mr. Coon ran for the U.S. House of Representatives in 1996 and served as the GOP state chairman from 1998-90.
It was during Director Coon's tenure in 1981, that the Division of Employment Development was consolidated into the Employment Security Division by Governor's proclamation. William Everett was Director of the Arkansas Department of Labor during this time.
Governor Frank D. White was the second Republican to be elected in the state of Arkansas since Reconstruction. His was a surprise win against the popular Democrat, Bill Clinton. Mr. White only served one term - after which, he was unseated by his predecessor, Bill Clinton.