There were more similarities than differences when Republican candidates for Knox County mayor spoke at the Powell Business & Professional Association on Tuesday. Glenn Jacobs and Brad Anders attended the forum, while candidate Bob Thomas said a previous commitment kept him away.
Taxes: Jacobs flatly said he won’t raise taxes. “You work very hard for your money. You should keep it.” Anders has not voted for a tax increase while on Knox County Commission. “There’s not been an increase since 1999,” he said, “but for the last three years we’ve borrowed more money than we’ve paid off.” He said the county needs a plan that’s “longer than an election cycle.”
Priority: Anders said “workforce development … is the easiest thing that helps the most people.” Jacobs agreed: “People need skills to work.”
Plans to attract new business: Jacobs said the county must look at areas with infrastructure. “We need someone who can sell Knox County and East Tennessee.” Anders said he’s already been recruiting businesses as a member of the commission. “I don’t need training. I’ve been there and done that.”
Concerns for Powell: Anders said Powell has an outdated elementary school, and he would make the county a partner in whatever plans the community creates for “Main Street Powell.” He also supports kayaking and canoeing on Beaver Creek. “It’s a four-hour float from Harrell Road Park to the Karns Senior Center.” Jacobs supports upgrades for Powell Elementary.
Traffic: Anders said, “We’re growing faster than infrastructure can be built.” He’s working with Knox County Engineering to create solutions for congestion on Emory Road at the interstate. “That’s a good answer,” said Jacobs. “I’m good at that,” said Anders to laughter. He went on to explain that a loop was cut during construction on Clinton Highway that threw traffic signals out of synch at Beaver Creek and Food City. That’s been corrected.
Burchett: Sage Kohler asked the candidates to rate Mayor Tim Burchett. “Extremely efficient,” said Anders. “We need to work more with surrounding counties,” said Jacobs. “We need a unifying vision, led by the Knox County mayor, to leverage all the assets of the region.
Anders talked about his leadership skills. He’s a lieutenant in the Knoxville Police Department and has served two terms as chair of the commission. He has a bachelor’s degree in organizational management from Tusculum College. He and wife Jennifer have a daughter, Addison, 8. They attend Grace Baptist Church and live in Karns.
Jacobs talked about his experience in World Wrestling Entertainment Inc., where he worked directly with founder/owner Vince McMahon to build the business. “I know how to sell,” he said. He is a professional wrestler, who also owns an insurance agency and real estate company in Knoxville. He and wife Crystal live in Halls. They have two daughters and two grandchildren. Jacobs holds a bachelor’s degree in English. He quoted Socrates at Tuesday’s meeting. Really.