Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs on Republican Midterm Sweep and Working with Progressives

Live from Music Row Tuesday 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, Tennessee Mayor Glenn Jacobs to the newsmaker line to discuss a Republican sweep at the polls and what it’s like working with progressive Knoxville.

Leahy: We welcome to our newsmaker line our very good friend, the mayor of Knox County, Glenn Jacobs. Good morning, Glenn.

Jacobs: Good morning! How are you doing this morning?

Leahy: Well, we’re doing great. We’re just hours away from what I call the nadir – the low point of our constitutional republic, and about to come back. (Jacobs chuckles) What do you see out there in Knox County?

Jacobs: Yes, hopefully, it’s like a Super Bowl where we hit a bottom and then shoot back up, is what I’m looking for. Of course, here in Knox County, I think we’re going to see our Republican candidates sweep forward. I’m hoping.

I think we’re going to see that across the country really. I think the red wave is going to be much more significant, actually, than the pundits are anticipating.

Leahy: Yes, I think you’re right. What’s it like as a mayor of Knox County dealing with the progressive city of Knoxville?

Jacobs: I actually get along pretty well. There are things we disagree on, and we agree to disagree on those things. But it is important that on the things that we can agree on, that we all try to do that and work together, certainly.

Again, there’s stuff I don’t agree on, and there are some folks that I may not necessarily see eye to eye with, but it’s kind of a situation I’ve been forced into it.

I think reality also dictates that some of the more destructive impulses of the Left, once you get into government, you realize they are not going to work. And here in Knox County, the people aren’t going to tolerate it. So it’s somewhat self-correcting, I believe.

Leahy: You’re in your second four-year term now, right?

Jacobs: Yes, sir.

Leahy: Are you able to kind of stay in shape with this new gig? When you were doing the WWE thing, you were in tip-top shape. Are you able to do enough workout while you’re the mayor, or is it a lot harder?

Jacobs: No, I am, and I think it’s all matter of priorities. In fact, this morning I’ve already got up and done a session, a kind of power yoga. Actually, I’m just taking a walk while I’m talking to you.

Leahy: Talk to me about power yoga.

Jacobs: Yes. It’s not yoga yoga. In fact, it’s funny, because when I have done yoga, it’s a hard workout. It’s kicked my butt. So this is more some stretches, but also calisthenics and exercises as well …

Leahy: Do you like, do you go to the gym to do it?

Jacobs: No, I do it at my house. I’d be too embarrassed to do it at the gym.

Leahy: What you’re telling me is you’re a disciplined guy.

Jacobs: Yes. I think that we can all say, I don’t have time to do this, I have time to do that. It’s a matter of priorities, and it’s a matter of making time. We’ve all got time to do stuff. We just choose not to find it, I think.

Leahy: The older you get, the less you want to make the time for it. (Laughter)

Jacobs: That’s true, too.

Leahy: What’s your take on the overall sense of people in Knox County, because you’re in East Tennessee, we’re here in Middle Tennessee. We have a good sense of Middle Tennessee. Are they ready for a red wave?

Jacobs: Yes, absolutely. In August, when I was on the ballot, we had really low voter turnout. I think there are a number of variables driving that. I think that we’re going to see, don’t know if it’ll be quite back to presidential levels, but I do think we will see a much better turnout for the midterms.

And look, the Democrats have lost their way. The things they’re talking about, no one cares about. People care about the economy, they care about inflation. And instead, the Democrats are talking about threats to democracy, which everybody realizes is just the Democrats being kicked out of power.

That does not resonate with anybody. They’re back to now, we never said defund the police. Well, it’s funny because there are videos of you saying to defund the police.

Leahy: Who are you going to believe? Me or your lying eyes.

Jacobs: Exactly.

Leahy: Glenn, what’s your big agenda for the remainder of your – well, you have three years and what, 10 months now, or three years and eight months in your current term?

Jacobs: Yes, sir.

Leahy: What’s your big agenda?

Jacobs: The big one is we’re updating our land-use stuff as well as a master transportation plan, just like you, all over Middle Tennessee. Not quite to the same extent, but we’ve seen a lot of folks come here.

I think they’re fleeing the blue states, but nevertheless, they’re coming here. It’s a great place to live. We have to be able to deal with that. It does present us certain challenges. And also the drug and opioid epidemic has gotten even worse.

It was exacerbated by the pandemic, and we see folks, multiple people overdosing. It’s every day now, as well as all the other destruction.

So those are the two biggest things, as well as just working to improve our education system, especially after the learning loss that we saw during the pandemic.

Leahy: So as county mayor, what can you do with the education system?

Jacobs: I do not have direct control over schools, but we do work with schools as well as with other organizations that, you know, even though we’re not in the classroom, I think we can still do things that influence education and push in a positive way.

As well as I’m a big believer in creative technical education. Book learning is certainly important. Academics are very important.

But so is having a skill that when you graduate high school, you can either go to trade school, go to college, whatever, but you’re equipped to succeed in life. And I think that’s something that we just need, all of us need to do a better job of.

Leahy: What about your own personal political plans? Being mayor of Knox County is a pretty big deal. Are you term-limited from running for a third term?

Jacobs: I am term-limited. Right now we have enough challenges, and I think that we will – when we look at the economy, inflation is baked in, a recession is baked in. So no matter what this election produces, I do think that we’re in for a bumpy ride for quite a while.

Really, right now, it’s what I’m concentrating on. I am term-limited, but we’ll see. What I want to do in that time comes and where I think that I would be best suited to serve whoever.

Leahy: Do you like the public political life?

Jacobs: Yes and no. I’m a natural introvert, so I don’t really like being in the spotlight, and I have to kind of force myself to do it. But I also do feel that I make a difference. And I think this is a critical juncture not only here in Knox County but across the country. And I do think that we need good people in office.

Listen to today’s show highlights, including this interview:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to The Tennessee Star Reporwith Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Glenn Jacobs” by Glenn Jacobs. Background Photo “U.S. Capitol” by Wiki person that edits. CC BY-SA 4.0.














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One Thought to “Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs on Republican Midterm Sweep and Working with Progressives”

  1. william delzell

    Well, I am glad Glen Jacobs is willing work with people with whom he has ideological differences. Very few conservatives today show any willingness to agree to disagree with certain things. For today’s conservative, with few exceptions, subscribes to an EXTREME, even totalitarian, type of ideology that tolerates absolutely no dissent. Perhaps Glenn Jacobs realizes that not all the world sees things the current Republican way. His fellow Republican ideologues should take note.