Senator makes frequent use of filibusters

Sen. Ken Jacob (D-Columbia) faces off in the August primary for lieutenant governor against Rebecca Bekki Cook, Cape Girardeau.

Sen. Ken Jacob (D-Columbia) faces off in the August primary for lieutenant governor against Rebecca “Bekki” Cook, Cape Girardeau.

Karena Wells

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The fourth floor of the Capitol is home for many senators. Sen. Ken Jacob (D-Columbia) is one of them.

His office is as cool and relaxed as he is with light blues and greens. There is a sense of being close to the ocean when in his office. His staff is friendly and knows their boss. When the senator requested a hamburger, his staff came back with a plain hamburger topped with what looked like a cup of dill pickle slices.

“I either like my hamburgers with ketchup or pickles,” Jacob said. “Never both. I order them with pickles here because I like the pickles they serve.”

Around the Capitol, Jacob is known for more than just his appetite for pickles. His name is often associated with Senate filibusters. When conducting a filibuster, if a senator stops talking he runs the risk of losing the floor. He has performed many filibusters in the Senate. There is a rule in the Senate, that requires a senator to refrain from speaking on a previous question.

The Senate has used this rule five times in the last 35 years. Jacob is the only senator to receive a p.q. twice.

“They get me because I was the guy leading the charge,” Jacob said. “I must admit, people tell me to come up here and fight for them, I do. I don’t believe in giving up.”

Jacob said he has filibustered continually for 12 hours. What does he do when nature calls?

“No, I just let the speaker know we don’t have a quorum,” he said. “Then I sneak out the back during role call.”

His methods make him different. They also give the minority power it would not otherwise have. With 34 senators, 20 being Republican and 14 being Democrat, there are situations where numbers matter.

“I use the tactics I use,” Jacob said. “Because their policy is very extreme I can stop them from doing what they want or I can help them to find compromise.”

He said it was not often that the Senate was willing and he was not compromising. Jacob is running for lieutenant governor in 2004 and said his experience qualifies him for the position.

“I think I would reside differently,” Jacob said. “I would like to return the Senate to a time where it was more principled, unbiased, policy making body, I would like it to be less partisan.”

He said he did not think the Republicans were really interested in fixing the problem, but rather just giving the perception.