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Staff Writer [email protected]

A native of East Tennessee, Michael Templeton says he is a constitutional conservative who is running for the position of Washington County Sheriff in the Spring 2022 election.

Residing with his wife of 25 years on a farm in Jones- borough, Templeton began his lifelong commitment to service of others in 1992 by becoming a Public Safety Officer in Johnson City with the police department.

For the past 25 years, Templeton served as a Special Agent with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), including 10 years in Washington County targeting and dismantling the largest drug trafficking networks in the region.

In August in 2021, Templeton saw that Washington County needed leadership and direction, so he decided to retire from government service and seek election to become the next sheriff.

“I’m going to be a constitutional sheriff. That is one that abides by the constitution. My views are that a constitutional sheriff stands up for the people before anything else.
I intend to be that wall from far-left mandates to overreach- ing government, whether its republican or democrat. I am here to protect the residents
of Washington County from anything unlawful or unconstitutional,” he said.

Templeton adds that what’s interesting about a sheriff in the United States is that they don’t have to answer to the President, nor the governor, nor the mayor of Washington County.

“They answer only to the tax-payers. And the only way you can get reassurance from them is to vote every four years. That’s it,” he said. “So, the sheriff’s race is super important in that aspect.

“Such as, I believe that, as much controversy as there has been around Covid, and mandates, I believe that man- dates are not laws passed by Congress. And I don’t think that a sheriff necessarily has to enforce those mandates. And that goes for school board meetings. I’m a staunch proponent for parents. I think that parents have an absolute say so in what their kids are being taught in school. So, I just want to be there in the school board meetings personally myself. I’m not sending a deputy. I will sit with the parents in plain clothes to make sure their voice is heard.”

Templeton, who has served in various capacities in law enforcement, says that he hasn’t always stayed and served in the immediate area.

“I’ve traveled around. I spent two years in Pakistan. I spent two and a half years in Afghanistan. Spent six years in Florida, so I’ve moved around. And always made my way back home. People here in East Tennessee are just better than anyone I’ve every experienced,” he said. “I’m from here. I’ve traveled around, different parts of the country, and you don’t get the hospitality in any other part of the world that you do here,” he said. “That’s what’s truly special about East Tennessee. That’s how I was raised so those are the values I bring forth. That East Tennessee mindset of ‘Love thine neighbor,’ ‘Treat others as you want to be treated’ and that’s how I’m going to manage this sheriff’s office too.

“Everybody in there, they’re the ones working. They’re the ones putting their lives on the line. I’m going to do that too, but I am going to treat every employee, male and female, jailer, admin, or deputy exactly the way I would want to be treated.”

One thing Templeton feels he will bring to this position is his attention to the drug issue that plagues Washington County. “The situation in Washington County is desperate like it is in a lot of other parts of the country. We are a drug-addicted county,” he explained. “There are so many people addicted to methamphetamine and fentanyl. It started years ago with doctors prescribing pills that got them addicted.

“Last year, you had 2,000 Tennesseans die of opioid related deaths. 100,000 people died last year in the United States,” he said. “To put that in perspective, every day, the equivalent of a Boeing 747 goes down killing everybody, that’s how many people are dying every day of fentanyl related deaths.”

“Washington County Sheriff’s Department, that has been around since 1777, has never had a drug unit. They’ve always relied on the DEA or the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) to do the drug work in this county,” he continued. “The problem is, the DEA has two special agents in Johnson City. They cover ten different counties. So, I intend to set up a drug unit the first week I’m there. We need to think globally and act locally when it comes to drug trade. You have to know the problem before you can address it.”

Templeton says that his beliefs are simple; God. Family. Country. “I ask for your continued support and please go vote.”