Wrestler Kane ponders mayor’s race

Betty Bean
Government/Politics columnist

The race for Knox County mayor could take an interesting turn in about a month, and it’s not the rumored impending entry of Sheriff Jimmy “J.J.” Jones that’s going to shake things up.

It’s unlikely that Bob Thomas, the county commissioner who started distributing Thomas for Mayor yard signs nearly a year ago (and who should not be confused with the Bob Thomas who’s considered a frontrunner for the school superintendent job) is going to do anything unexpected like pulling out of the race. And neither is County Commissioner Brad Anders, who also has been mulling the prospect for a good long while.

The disturbance in the field could come from a different direction altogether. And if it happens, it’ll hit like a vertical pile driver.

And yeah, that’s a cheap shot, but it’s almost irresistible. So get ready. You’ll be hearing a lot of wrestling metaphors if Glenn Jacobs gets into this race.

But it won’t be Kane, the swaggering, choke slamming WWE superstar who’ll (maybe) enter the Republican Primary where local races are decided (although that would be the most fun anybody’s had in local politics since the late Arnold “Burpsey” Zandi used to run for City Council).

Nope. The candidate would be the soft-spoken, insurance agency owning, small government-loving, anti-bullying crusader who holds an English degree and loves to talk about education and economic theory and brag about his family (both his daughters are registered nurses).

About the only thing Jacobs and his WWE alter ego have in common is the massive, athletic physique. Jacobs stands 6-8 and weighs 300 pounds.

He played football and basketball at Northeast Missouri State – now Truman University – and jokes that he led the league in offensive fouls. A knee injury forced him to reorder his priorities.

“What do you do with an English degree? I’d planned to become a teacher, but I’d always been a casual fan of wrestling. …”

The Jacobs Insurance Agency in Halls is a community champion in the Kindness Revolution, a nonprofit organization with the lofty goal of promoting dignity, respect and kindness, which means that Jacobs spends a lot of time visiting schools and handing out rubber wristbands to kids who get caught doing something nice. This obviously suits him fine, because he’s keenly interested in education and believes more attention should be paid to Career Technical Education (formerly known as vocational education ). He gets his hair cut by the cosmetology teacher at Gibbs High School.

He considers himself a libertarian conservative/Republican and is an admirer of the low tax, high accessibility, small government philosophy of Tim Burchett, the officeholder he hopes to succeed.

“My view is, let’s just all get along, and not concentrate on our differences. I’ve been all around the world, and without fail, the vast majority of folks just want a decent life for themselves and their families. I think what happens is we allow our differences to get in the way.”

He said he will make a decision by early April.

“I’m leaning toward running,” he said. “I’m getting a good response. I think people are tired of career politicians and I think they want someone who has a different perspective and fresh ideas who is one of them. Hopefully as they learn more about me, they’ll realize that it’s not just that this guy is a relatively famous entertainer. He’s really just one of us.

“I believe in my neighbors and civil society and private enterprise to get things done. Those are the people – not the politicians.”

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