Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs announces he will run for reelection in 2022 – Knoxville News Sentinel

Posted: March 25, 2021 at 2:44 am

Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs explains why he believes public health decisions should be made by elected officials. Knoxville News Sentinel

Lest there be any confusion, Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs likes his job, so much so that he announced Monday he intends to run for re-election in 2022.

Jacobs, the libertarian-leaning socially conservative Republican and former WWE wrestler, has had a two-year tenure markedby tussles, both big and small. So far hes won more than he's lost.

Four years ago, I pledged to stay true to my conservative values as mayor. Nobody could have envisioned a pandemic and the economic shutdown that followed, but Im proud Knox County has been able to weather the storm without a tax increase, he said in a statement Monday. By tightening our belt and making smart cuts, we balanced our budget while continuing to make forward-thinking investments in our community. If reelected, the public can expect four more years of leadership with conservative values top of mind.

Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs is seen at the Knox County installation of elected officials, held at the Tennessee Theatre, Tuesday, Sept 1, 2020.(Photo: Caitie McMekin/News Sentinel)

Months after taking office, Jacobs challenged the Knox County law director in a legal showdown over a handful of Knox County Sheriff's Office deputies and their Uniformed Officers Pension Plan. The county sued itself and had to pay over $1 million in legal fees, but Jacobs won the fight.

During the pandemic in 2020, though, he took some flak for his positions, including his opposition to safety measures like an indoor mask mandate and mandatory bar closure time. Many fought his opinion, which flew against the advice of local and national health experts,but he earnedthe support of other elected Republicans along the way.

Early in the pandemic as financial projections showed doom and gloom for the county (and state), Jacobs opted to furlough hundreds of county employees. After awhile, sales tax collection figuresshowed the furloughswere not neededand they were not used by most other Tennessee municipalities.

More: Glenn Jacobs hits the road for one of his 'Most Wanted Treasures' the original Kane mask

Later in the pandemic, Jacobs split from Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon by putting his thumb on the scale in an attemptto sway the Knox County Health Department to open businesses earlier than planned in the late spring/early summer.

Later, he joined his voice to the chorus of people who wanted the Knox County Commission to disband the county's Board of Health or make the members' rolesadvisory only. Jacobs is a member of the board but has often found himself as the only member voting against its pandemic mitigation rules.

More: Knoxville lawmaker's bill that would strip local health boards' powers advances

In September, Knox County Board of Health members openly ripped Jacobs for narrating a dystopian video that targeted public health officials. They saidJacobs created a threatening environment.

Jacobs apologized to board members who felt threatened by the tone of the video, but did not apologize for its content.

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Hes also had to deal with other kinds of controversy, too, like when his Chief of Staff Bryan Hair and the Parks and Recreation director were forced to resign in October when Hair used a county-owned golf cart at his home when his wife broke her foot.

Jacobs used the opportunity to shuffle his administration and came out strongly against employees'misuse of resources.

Ethics are not ambiguous, and it is important that Knox County be above reproach, he said. Public trust is fragile. I encourage all parties involved to cooperate with the Comptrollers investigation regardless of employment status.

Before holding public office, Jacobs owned a small business: Jacobs Insurance Associates. He was better known though his WWE wrestling personaKane. He came out of relative political obscurity by winning the county Republican primary withfewer than 30 votes over then-commissioners Brad Anders and Bob Thomas. Jacobs then easily defeated Democrat Linda Haney in the general election.

Jacobs will be favored in any sort of challenge whether it be a primary challenge by another Republican or a Democrat in the general though there could be a window for a less conservative Republican to run to the left of him.

The county primary election isMay 3, 2022. The general election is Aug. 4, 2022.

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Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs announces he will run for reelection in 2022 - Knoxville News Sentinel

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