He was often at odds on policy with his own health director, Dr. Martha Buchanan, who ultimately resigned. In the latter, Jacobs maintained a consistent if not universally popular opposition to any and all public health mandates, including mask and vaccine requirements. Jacobs famously narrated a video produced by local Bed Store owner Roger Cunningham, which included the Board of Health among assorted sinister forces threatening Americans rights. Share your thoughts in the subscribers-only conversation group. (Portions of the profile of Helsley were previously published in our, Early in his tenure as mayor, Jacobs made clear that he wasnt going to shy away from challenges. Nashville developers BNA are finally preparing to purchase the A.J. Well, we need to work with the Biden administration and get it down here., Unlike Jacobs, who has made explicit pledges not to raise taxes, Helsley said the county has to honestly assess its needs and consider what options it has to address them. On the Aug. 4 county ballot, he is facing Democrat Debbie Helsley, a longtime local labor leader and Democratic Party officer. The stadium project, our teams worked really closely on. Helsley also promised to work to bring as much federal infrastructure money as possible to the county. Former Senior Parks and Recreation Director Paul White was fired in the same investigation, and has subsequently sued the county and Jacobs over his dismissal. Actually, we work together very well, he said. She said she decided to run for mayor for a simple reason: I think Knox County can do better. She said she would work on encouraging sustainable growth and development and investing in infrastructure. His retention of the Nashville-based Baker Group political consulting firm has fed widespread speculation that he is planning a future statewide race, possibly for governor in 2026. produced by local Bed Store owner Roger Cunningham, which included the Board of Health among assorted sinister forces threatening Americans rights. That was really to me a no-brainer.. Jacobs has called the COVID vaccines a miracle but has also declined to say whether he is vaccinated himself, and has not conducted the kind of public campaigns for vaccination that some other elected officials have. Under state laws passed during the pandemic, most authority over public health mandates has been shifted to the governor and county mayors. So it was natural that when Helsley went to work at BellSouth after graduating from South High School, she joined the Communications Workers of America. Asked to name his own most significant accomplishments, Jacobs focuses on two things: taxes and COVID. Heres a look at both candidates, starting with a review of Jacobs time in office. She cited a controversial proposed development in South Knox Countys Dry Hollow community as an example. Helsley grew up in a union household. His surprise win in a three-way Republican primary that year put him on track to take the highest executive office in county government, despite no experience in the public sector and a self-proclaimed libertarians distrust of it. It would be one thing if we were talking about building a stadium and handing it over to someone and saying, Here you go, here's a nice new stadium, which has happened in a lot of places around the country, Jacobs said. of county employees doing yard work at Hairs house.) As of the end of April, Helsley reported $8,247 in campaign funds on hand to $91,837 for Jacobs, who faced no primary challenge. Its not just Randy Boyds Smokies stadium.

(Hair had a county-owned golf cart at his house, for apparently personal use. But Jacobs said he has a good working relationship with the more progressive city mayor. The partisan advantage carries over to fundraising. It took longer to persuade him of the benefits of a proposed downtown stadium to house the Tennessee Smokies, the minor league baseball team owned by local businessman and University of Tennessee President Randy Boyd. And they should be at the table when there are zoning issues.. Less than six months later, the Board of Health was dissolved by County Commission and turned into a strictly advisory body. A video also surfaced of county employees doing yard work at Hairs house.) Now, the school system offices are in the newly rebranded UT Tower on the TVA plaza, with the University of Tennessees system administration occupying the upper floors. Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs is facing first-time candidate Debbie Helsley. She easily won a three-way Democratic primary in May, taking 74 percent of the vote against community activists Tyler Givens and Bob Fischer. brought by the county Law Department against the countys pension system, which stood to potentially reduce pension payments to some Sheriffs Office retirees. vet hire brianhornback national july As a member of the countys Board of Health, Jacobs was the only consistent no vote on mandates including mask-wearing and business hours of operation. She became active in the union, and remained so after retiring from AT&T in 2004. Her campaign manager is Jack Vaughan, a field organizer for the Democratic Party who also ran re-election campaigns last year for City Council members Tommy Smith and Andrew Roberto. (Portions of the profile of Helsley were previously published in our primary coverage.).

Knox County has seen its share of COVID casualties as of last Saturday, 1,414 county residents had died during the pandemic, and 2,772 had been hospitalized. A video. So that was definitely an all hands on deck effort.. As to what he wants that team to do in a second term, Jacobs mentioned some specific projects the completion of the skilled trades academy the county is partnering in with the Associated Builders and Contractors of Greater Knoxville; the further development of the Beaver Creek Water Trail as a recreational amenity; the continuation of his Read City USA program to promote family reading and childhood literacy. Just a month after taking office, he joined Sheriff Tom Spangler also newly elected in opposing a lawsuit brought by the county Law Department against the countys pension system, which stood to potentially reduce pension payments to some Sheriffs Office retirees. But, she said, now that the deal is in place, the local governments have to make sure its benefits extend widely. Her mother, Trula, dropped out of school before 9th grade and went to work at the old Knoxville Glove Factory on Blount Avenue. She easily won a three-way Democratic primary in May, taking 74 percent of the vote against community activists Tyler Givens and Bob Fischer. But, she said, I don't have all the ins and outs of the county budget in front of me.. She cited a controversial proposed development in South Knox Countys Dry Hollow community as an example. Tennessee has had the fifth-highest per capita deaths from COVID of all the states. Now, Jacobs has a significant track record to run on as he seeks a second term. as a recreational amenity; the continuation of his Read City USA program to promote family reading and childhood literacy. investigation Now youve got gay people (who) are petrified because they see marriage choice going out the window too., Tags:Debbie Helsley, Election 2022, Glenn Jacobs, homepage, Knox County Mayor. Just a month after taking office, he joined Sheriff Tom Spangler also newly elected in. County Commission approved a, Helsley appeared along with other local Democratic candidates at a rally for abortion rights last Friday, the day the U.S. Supreme Courts, ruling was handed down. And thats not what happened in this case.. We've got big time, big money coming from the bipartisan infrastructure bill that Jacobs doesn't even want to talk about, Helsley said. But I think its very important that people keep money in their pockets., On the handling of the pandemic, Jacobs said, Whether you agree with me or not, through the pandemic, I stuck by my guns with stuff. Former Senior Parks and Recreation Director Paul White was fired in the same investigation, and has subsequently sued the county and Jacobs over his dismissal. When we all went over to Nashville, it was Mayor Kincannon, Helen Ross McNabb, the hospital systems and myself, to talk to the governor about that. Jacobs said his philosophical leanings made him skeptical of public financing for the ballpark. Construction of the stadium has been delayed for a year because of increased materials costs, but it is still on schedule to open during a second Jacobs term. Right now, the developers just seem to do whatever they want, and and then the homeowners who have been here forever are going, Whats happening? Helsley said. County Commission approved a modified version of the project last month. I think workers are important, and I think they get overlooked, Helsley said. But whether that term might also include a campaign for another office, Jacobs who is now 55 would not confirm. On the baseball stadium, Helsley unsurprisingly thinks the city and county should have required an agreement with local labor unions to provide training and contractors for the project.

That's a challenge nowadays, with inflation raging like it is. I dont have any reservations about anything I did during the pandemic, he said. I think neighborhoods are just tremendously important, she said. She said taxes should be a last resort., She suggested there were ways to access other state and federal funds, and that the county could prioritize better with the revenue it has. Its going to be our soccer stadium. He was often at odds on policy with his own health director, Dr. Martha Buchanan, who. Building and return it to its original use as a hotel. In an interview this week, she said, I think a woman's right to choose, the majority of the people support that. That led to a convoluted legal battle which Jacobs ultimately won in court, asserting the right of the county mayor and County Commission to direct the Law Departments litigation efforts. Whats been lost in the stadium talk is the ginormous role the private sector is playing, Jacobs said, referring to the $100 million in promised private investment around the site for a mix of residential and commercial uses. I did my best to make sure that businesses stayed open, that people had the ability to choose how they responded to things.. a longtime local labor leader and Democratic Party officer. The pandemic did things that labor unions had a really hard time accomplishing over the years.. That necessitated a protracted effort to secure a lease on the Tennessee Valley Authoritys vacant East Tower, and to address the school administrations concerns about the cost of the move. Jacobs is noncommittal on that topic, noting that he has to win his current election before thinking about anything else. (The video was withdrawn from public view after an outcry.) She sits on the City of Knoxville Civil Service Merit Board and has served on the board of the United Way of Greater Knoxville. In an interview this week, she said, I think a woman's right to choose, the majority of the people support that. Itll be a net positive, lets make it that. I guess, you know, Im kind of tired of decisions for women being made by old white men., She added, This cant go anywhere good. I just think we need to embrace it and go with it, she said. I guess, you know, Im kind of tired of decisions for women being made by old white men.. Thats the most important thing, you have to put a good team together.. She was president of CWA Local 3805 for 15 years, and also served as vice president of the Tennessee AFL-CIO. And if I were to run for governor, Id better do a good job as mayor anyway., Although the county Democratic Party didnt officially support candidates in the May 3 primary race, Helsley was the de facto establishment party representative. , asserting the right of the county mayor and County Commission to direct the Law Departments litigation efforts. Helsley, who is 68, describes herself as a native South Knoxvillian and a proud product of the public school system. She lives in the South Woodlawn area, where she was a founder of the neighborhood association and currently serves as vice president. As to what he wants that team to do in a second term, Jacobs mentioned some specific projects the completion of the, the county is partnering in with the Associated Builders and Contractors of Greater Knoxville; the further development of the. (She has most recently served as secretary.). Helsley appears to face long odds. It has been a busy four years, marked by economic development efforts and the COVID-19 pandemic. She has long been active in party politics, both through her work with labor organizations and as an officer of the county party. Im in the middle of a mayors race, thats really what Im focused on. (As in the pension lawsuit, Jacobs primary obstacle was then-Law Director Richard Bud Armstrong, who made no secret of his distaste for the deal.). (The video was withdrawn from public view after an outcry.) When Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs took office in 2018, he was famous as a professional wrestler but mostly unknown as a political player. The thing that I'm most proud of is that I said that I wouldnt raise taxes, and I didn't raise taxes, he said. And you can use it for student events, farmers markets, whatever., Helsley appeared along with other local Democratic candidates at a rally for abortion rights last Friday, the day the U.S. Supreme Courts Dobbs ruling was handed down. He has urged people only to consult their doctors about the vaccines. She said funds are available and will go to communities that are ready to put them to work. (Hair had a county-owned golf cart at his house, for apparently personal use. As a member of the countys Board of Health, Jacobs was the only consistent no vote on mandates including mask-wearing and business hours of operation. Heres a look at both candidates, starting with a review of Jacobs time in office. Jacobs term has also included the resignation of his former chief of staff, Bryan Hair, after an internal investigation raised questions about the use of county property. She was a member of Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America. Although she is fond of noting that Jacobs won the Republican primary in 2018 by just 23 votes, his performance in that years general election is the more telling indicator he won by a 66-34 percent margin over Democrat Linda Haney, an edge of more than 25,000 ballots. After a first term that included tensions around the response to COVID-19, incumbent Glenn Jacobs seeks reelection against Democrat Debbie Helsley. That led to a convoluted legal battle which Jacobs ultimately. I have no idea, he said. There's been economic development projects that we worked really closely on., He also cited the new mental health treatment center being developed as a joint city-county project, with state support and management by the McNabb Center. My opinion on that has never changed. of his former chief of staff, Bryan Hair, after an internal investigation raised questions about the use of county property. And I would always encourage people to actually talk to the folks that know, instead of a politician.. Boyd is also donating the property for the stadium and paying nearly $6 million of the construction costs, and the Smokies are signing a lease for $1 million a year. So it may be no surprise that asked about lessons from his time in office so far, Jacobs said, Its reinforced that you have to have good people. Less than six months later, the Board of Health was dissolved by County Commission and turned into a strictly advisory body. Around the same time, Jacobs administration committed to finishing a task that previous County Mayor Tim Burchett had left dangling moving Knox County Schools offices out of the Andrew Johnson Building so that the historic structure could be sold to private developers.