Live from Music Row Monday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs to the newsmaker line to discuss Knox County’s coronavirus recovery and his main priorities going into the 2022 election.
Leahy: We are joined on our newsmaker line by our good friend Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs. Good morning, Mayor Jacobs.
Jacobs: Good morning, Michael. How are you?
Leahy: We’re great. So the coronavirus thing keeps going, and there are more and more regulations. We saw a story up there about Oak Ridge National Labs. There were a couple of folks there that were put on paid leave because they wouldn’t take the coronavirus vaccine. I’ve seen some reports now that the president has put his breaks on that program. Have you seen any of that going on of late?
Jacobs: I haven’t actually seen what’s happened to federal contractors. I believe that Attorney General Slatery has filed a lawsuit in that matter. There have been two court decisions now handed down one on the OSHA vaccine, saying that indeed, the president does not have the authority to pass a piece of legislation like that.
And then the other was the CMS program, which, of course, pays organizations through Medicare and Medicaid. That again, it’s not up to the president to make that regulation. As far as what’s happened to federal contractors, I’m not sure where that’s at.
Leahy: What’s the big news up in Knox County today? What are the big challenges that you’re facing up there?
Jacobs: Well, like everyone is still rebounding from a coronavirus and the pandemic. We’re in a really good spot. We didn’t shut down like other people did. And because of that, our economy is doing really well. But like everyone, it wasn’t only the physical impact of coronavirus.
It was also mental health, suicide, and all those sorts of things we’re struggling with. Our kids not paying in school for a year and the learning loss. It’s the things that really the left-wing media doesn’t want to talk about. These ill-advised policies in regards to a COVID-19 have caused these other problems to pop up.
Leahy: When are you up for reelection as mayor of Knox County?
Jacobs: My primary is in May of next year and the general election will be in August.
Leahy: Do you have any primary opposition?
Jacobs: Not at this point I don’t.
Leahy: Of course, we’re down here in Middle Tennessee. From what I can tell, Mayor Jacobs, you’re pretty popular up there, and it wouldn’t surprise me if there’s any primary challenge there, it would only be a token opposition. That’s my sense up there. What’s your own personal sense of the political environment you face?
Jacobs: Well, I appreciate that. I agree. Everything that I see points to people that are happy. People here agree with me on many of these issues. I couldn’t be mayor in a lot of other places. (Leahy laughs) I’m going to do what I think is right.
Leahy: Yeah, I totally understand that.
Jacobs: Yeah. Unfortunately, here the people here see things through the same prism that I do. And that makes my job a lot easier. It’s funny because people will always say, man, I bet you take a lot of shots and a lot of abuse.
And I’m like yeah, of course, you have folks out there that say stuff, but overwhelmingly, I have people come to me all the time telling me, thank you for standing up for their rights and freedoms. That means a lot to me. Unless something happens, I think I’ll be okay.
Leahy: So here’s a question that is always interesting to me. And again, being a Middle Tennessee guy and not all that familiar with what’s going on in the Knoxville area. Tell us about the relationship between Knox County and the city of Knoxville. (Laughter)
Jacobs: Yeah, I get that question a lot, too. We are in different places politically. The city is much further left than the county is, but we make it work. There are projects that we work on together. I will say one thing about the city, and I was thinking about this just the other day when all the riots were happening last year, across the country, and some folks showed up in Knoxville.
We had protests in Knoxville. It’s amazing, though, we had protests and the people from Knoxville and the black community made their voices heard. They peacefully protested. Everybody respected that. And that was the end of that.
Later we had out-of-town folks show up, overwhelmingly, young white people that started vandalizing and KPD swooped in and just started arresting people. And that was the end of it.
My hat’s off to them for that, because when we think about more liberal places across the country, letting that stuff get out of hand and seem to happen, that didn’t happen in Knoxville.
Leahy: So what you’re saying is the Knoxville Police Department actually is enforcing the law.
Jacobs: Yes, in that case, they wouldn’t allow things to get out of hand, and my hats off to them for doing that.
Leahy: Very interesting. When you look at the landscape of America and Knox County, what will your agenda be if you are reelected for another four-year term?
Jacobs: For me, it’s all about jobs, and it’s all about ensuring that people have economic opportunity. And that’s the wonderful thing about freedom and our free enterprise system. That’s what it produces.
So I’m going to keep on keeping on with that. And I always say one of my major tasks is to actually keep government out of way and off people’s backs because unfortunately the government wants to fix everything and in many cases, we can’t fix it and only makes things worse.
So as weird as that sounds, one of my primary objectives is to keep the government from doing stuff that it shouldn’t be doing.
Leahy: Last question. And we got 1 minute here for this. How many companies have moved to Knox County from California?
Jacobs: We’ve had a few. They’ve come from California and more hopefully on the way and then also northeast. And I have people again in public come up to me and talk about how they’ve come here, especially from California, because they’re just tired of what’s going on out there and they want to live in a place where people think as they do.
Leahy: Mayor Glenn Jacobs of Knocks County thanks so much for joining us. Always entertaining. Come back again if you would please.
Jacobs: Thanks. Have a great Christmas, Michael.
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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Glenn Jacobs” by Gage Skidmore CC BY-SA 2.0.