Rep. Kristin Jacobs, a Broward County political force for more than 20 years who emerged as one of the leading advocates for Florida waterways and the environment, died Saturday morning after a battle with colon cancer. She was 60.
Before her election to the House in 2014, Jacobs, a Democrat from Coconut Creek, served as a Broward County Commissioner when the county joined Palm Beach, Monroe and Miami-Dade counties in developing a response to sea-level rise, flooding and the resulting financial and social disruptions. In 2013, President Barack Obama appointed her to the National Climate Preparedness and Resilience Task Force.
In the 2020 Session, Jacobs fought to pass HB 401, would ban the sale, import, and export of shark fins, closing a loophole that allowed the importation of fins through Florida ports.
Here is a compilation of reactions from Florida politicians and colleagues to Jacobs’ passing:
Governor Ron DeSantis:
“Casey and I extend our sincerest condolences to the family of Representative Kristin Jacobs. A fighter for the environment and water quality, we will remember Rep. Jacobs for her commitment to public service. She will be missed by many.”
Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried:
“I’m heartbroken to hear about the passing of Rep. Kristin Jacobs. She was a friend, a tireless advocate for Florida, and leaves behind a long legacy of protecting our environment and waterways. Her efforts to establish the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact and meaningfully address climate change, sea-level rise, land use, and domestic violence will live on for years to come. Her passion for the state we love will be greatly missed.”
House Speaker José Oliva:
“The world needs more Kristin Jacobs’. Rep. Jacobs was a force for good. Even as she battled cancer, she remained dedicated and steadfast in her service to Floridians — requesting bills be heard in her absence and being in the Chamber every minute that she could. She will be remembered forever for her heart of service.”
U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz:
“My heart broke when I learned of the passing of my dear friend, State Rep. Kristin Jacobs. Kristin was the most genuine, decent, caring, and effervescent person. She remained sunny and ever-optimistic throughout the course of her treatment, even under the shadow of a poor prognosis, just like she was in everything she did.
She was just the most incredible person and such a special friend. I am glad that I was able to have several lengthy catch-up conversations with her recently so she knew what she meant to me. Whenever we spoke or saw each other, even if it had been a long time in between conversations, it was as if there was no gap in our friendship. She was a loyal, real, and true friend. She was a groundbreaking environmental leader whose sheer will and warm, engaging personality turned adversaries into friends. She was smart and tough and stood up for her beliefs, always backing them with facts and data.
I will miss my sweet and sunny friend Kristin with all my heart and feel so lucky to have been able to bask in some of her sunlight for far too short a time. May her memory be for a blessing. Rest well, my friend.”
Senator Janet Cruz:
“Kristin Jacobs was a fighter in every sense of the word. Her voice on environmental issues was vital to the cause of a better state. I will miss her dearly.”
Senator Gary Farmer:
“Kristin Jacobs smile & vivacious personality lit up any room she was in & she was a passionate, tireless advocate on many issues but especially water & the environment. She taught me so much. She was my friend & I will miss her very much. Her suffering is over now.”
Jose Javier Rodriguez:
“Kristin Jacobs was a fighter but she was also compassionate and persistent in her work. She was a leader and I learned a lot from her. From all of us, you will be missed.”
Speaker Pro Tempore MaryLynn Magar:
“Regardless of party affiliation or difference in opinion, Rep. Jacobs would always listen. In a world of talkers, she paid attention to people and truly heard what they had to say. She was a deeply kind person, and she saw things practically — not politically.”
House Majority Leader Dane Eagle:
“Rep. Jacobs’ legacy will live on forever in the Florida House. She fought for what she believed in, a strong advocate for Florida’s environment and waterways — all with a kind disposition and great sense of humor. Our heart goes out to her family and loved ones during this difficult time.”
House Majority Whip Michael Grant:
“She will be dearly missed — she was both a great representative for her district and a great person. Rep. Jacobs was the voice of reason in a troubling time.”
House Democratic Leader Kionne McGhee:
“Kristin was a fighter. The courage and strength she showed was an inspiration. She left a positive mark on our state through her tireless environmental advocacy. Anytime I visit one of Florida’s springs or other natural places, I will think of her. We all cared for her deeply and she will be missed.”
House Democratic Leader-designate Bobby DuBose:
We started our Tallahassee journey together in 2014 and our friendship grew from there. No one fought for the environment like she did. I watched her push through the pain of her illness many times to fight for what she cared about. She left an indelible mark on our state, and we will always remember her. I’m going to miss my friend.”
House Democratic Leader-designate Evan Jenne:
“Kristin was an incredible friend and colleague. Throughout her life, she was a leader in every possible way, right up until her last moments. She carried herself with strength, grace and dignity, and that never changed. We will miss her dearly.”
House Democratic Deputy Leader Margaret Good:
“Kristin Jacobs was an advocate and leader for her community and our environment and a wonderful friend. She will be deeply missed.”
House Democratic Deputy Leader Shevrin Jones:
“Our hearts go out to the family of Kristin Jacobs. We will continue to fight for a better Florida for all of us to live in, carrying on her legacy of strength and dignity.
House Democratic Deputy Leader Richard Stark:
“Today we mourn the passing of Rep Kristin Jacobs. She was a champion of the people and an effective leader on environmental issues. She fought brave and hard to the very end, with the courage to present legislation even when she was visibly ill. Her leadership will be missed.”
House Democratic Deputy Leader Barbara Watson:
“Kristin Jacobs has clearly made Florida a better and safer place to live and play. Kristin truly left her legislative impact on Florida. She will be missed.”
Palm Beach County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay:
“I love Kristin Jacobs and will miss her wit, her leadership, her take-no-bs way of doing things. She never forgot where she came from, always supported local govt, lived her life with purpose. And was someone I looked up to. Sad day in Florida.”
Florida Democratic Party Chair Terrie Rizzo:
“We are greatly saddened to hear of the passing of Kristin Jacobs. She was a wonderful activist, county commissioner and state legislator and did so much for our community and our state. She will be greatly missed by all of us. We send our deepest condolences to her family and loved ones.”
Former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham:
“The first time I met Kristin Jacobs, we talked and we laughed. It was as if we had known each other for ever and her energy was so much fun. I admired her intelligence, wit and passion for Florida’s environment. I loved her. I will miss her greatly.”
Former state Rep. Jim Boyd:
“Kristin was a fierce advocate and a kind soul! The state will miss her leadership and so will we. May God give her family and friends peace in this time of great loss.”
Florida Parks Foundation president Gil Ziffer:
“We were privileged to have had such a dynamic and energetic board member. She will be greatly missed but her legacy will continue.”
The Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus issued the following statement on the news of Jacobs’ death:
“We are saddened to learn of State Representative Kristin Jacobs’ passing. She was not only one of Florida’s most forward-thinking leaders on climate change and protecting our natural resources, but she was also a fierce advocate for women, children, and the LGBTQ community. We need more elected officials like her that put people first. The Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus sends our condolences to Kristin’s family, her constituents and colleagues.”
This is a developing story.