Parkland's State Representative: Something Has to Happen

On the night of the mass shooting, Kristin Jacobs was in the room as parents received news about missing children. "If you were in that room," she says, "how could you let nothing happen?"
by | March 1, 2018
Florida state Rep. Kristin Jacobs talks with student survivors from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in the hallway at the Florida Capitol. (AP/Mark Wallheiser)

Florida state Rep. Kristin Jacobs wants gun control, and she wants it now. She represents the area of Florida that includes Parkland, where a mass shooting at a high school left 17 people dead on Valentine's Day.

“If you were in the room that night, as I was, with parents waiting for news of the children that were missing, and the screaming and the wailing ... if you were in that room, how could you let nothing happen? Something has to happen,” she says.

Gun control proposals are making their way through Florida's legislature. But they don't include an assault weapons ban, which Jacobs -- a Democrat -- voted for but her colleagues ultimately voted against it.

On the season finale of "The 23%" podcast, she talks about where she was when she realized there had been a mass shooting in her district and the traumatic hours that followed. She also discusses where the state -- and the country -- should go from here.

Before the shooting, Jacobs was trying to rewrite sexual harassment laws in her state. When she first arrived in Tallahassee, she was shocked at the pervasiveness of the culture of harassment.

“The behavior was just off the rails with how men were with women,” she says.

Jacobs also worked with the previous administration on developing President Obama’s Climate Action Plan. But she hasn’t stopped her work on climate resilience in the Trump era. She sponsored a piece of legislation to create an interagency that helps government entities coordinate on natural disasters and other problems that arise from climate change.

Gov. Rick Scott signed the bill the day President Trump pulled out of the Paris Climate Agreement.

Listen to her interview below. You can also subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or Stitcher, and check out our archives.

This is our season finale. But don't worry, we'll be back in April.