Ken Mahaffey was born in Winter Haven, a second-generation Floridian. He attended local schools there and after graduating with honors, went first to Florida State University, and then transferred to the University of Florida, where he graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Building Construction.
Ken worked with power companies, and was brought to Putnam County to work. While in the area he became involved with back-packing and canoeing, with local Boy Scout Troops. He was transferred back to South Florida, and after a short period of time quit his position, and returned to Putnam County, to pursue a new vocation, in an “outdoor wilderness adventure”, outfitting business. Eventually, he and his partners dissolved the business and he began a career as a public servant. He first served as the Scout Executive Director, then as the Building Official of the City of Palatka. He later served as the Chief Appraiser for the county, and eventually was elected as Putnam County Tax Collector, retiring in December 2012.