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Glenn Jacobs says opioid epidemic, job growth, education reform are top priorities as mayor

Mayor-elect Glenn Jacobs, the WWE wrestler, will succeed Tim Burchett as the Mayor of Knox County.

KNOX COUNTY — Knox County Mayor-Elect Glenn Jacobs toured the Mayor’s Office on Monday for the first time since his election victory.

Elected officials from around the county gathered in Mayor Tim Burchett’s office at the City County Buildilng to congratulate Jacobs.

"If I’d leave Glenn with anything, it would just be three words: Don’t wreck it," joked Burchett. "We’re in great financial shape. We’re on track to pay down debt. I think we’re moving in the right direction with our behavioral health center. Government has gotten way too big. We’ve got to lock up our criminals, pave some roads, and pay for our schools."

Knox County will have a new mayor and sheriff starting Sept. 1. The city of Knoxville also has a new police chief and next year will elect a new mayor.

While the challenges facing Knox County remain the same, the leaders tackling the problems are changing.

"Mayor Burchett has done a great job and I look forward to doing a great job myself. Knox County is a great place to live, work, and raise a family. I think all of us working together can make it even better and I look forward to helping make that happen," said Jacobs. "I want to keep taxes low. I think that’s very important. I want to bring great jobs to our area, I want to make sure we have a business-friendly environment so that small businesses can succeed and thrive."

Jacobs says the opioid epidemic, job growth, and education reform are some of his top priorities as mayor.

"I want to work with the schools. Especially in the are of career and technical education. I think unfortunately that is something that has been lacking," said Jacobs. "We really need to put our resources together to confront the opioid and the drug epidemic here in East Tennessee."

He also says he wants to tackle jail crowding.

"Spending money to build another pod at the detention center, I’d like to spend that money someplace else or not spend it all, but that is something that we are going to have to address at some point," Jacobs said.

To accomplish that, he’ll have to work with Tom Spangler, the sheriff-elect. Spangler says he’s already met with Jacobs on multiple occasions.

"It’s absolutely a fresh start," said Spangler. "I think the people of Knoxville and Knox County have spoken and said we want to see a change - and it’s coming."

If there’s one thing that will undoubtedly have to change before Jacobs takes office, it’s the size of the mayor’s desk.

"He’s either going to have to put bricks under his desk or he’s just going to have to get a new desk," Burchett said. "I think the county could fund a new desk for him. I wouldn’t want to tell him no."