By Jill Penley
A month ago, campaigns were winding down, and folks were heading to the polls to place a vote in the state primary and county general election. When the dust settled, Johnson County had elected a new sheriff and a new county mayor, both of whom took the oath of office recently just before officially assuming office on Saturday, September 1.
“I plan to lead a department that is responsive, effective, highly visible, and dedicated to the safety and security of our community,” said newly sworn-in Johnson County Sheriff Eddie Tester. “We have some good officers that work at the Sheriff’s department that welcome the opportunity to aggressively pursue a campaign against the drug epidemic that exists in Johnson County today, and I am committed to leading such a campaign.”
Per state law, the oath of office for any elected or appointed county official may be administered by the county mayor, the county clerk, a judge of any court of record in the county, or the current or a retired judge of the general sessions court. Tester, easily elected in August after a contentious campaign against former Sheriff Mike Reece and Johnny Roberts, another former Johnson County Sheriff, took the oath of office early to attend a specialized Tennessee sheriff’s training in Nashville.
Friends and family have also packed the upper courtroom of the Johnson County Courthouse on Friday to witness the swearing-in ceremony of County Mayor-Elect Mike Taylor and most other elected officials including Johnson County Commissioner: Bill Adams, Eugene Campbell, Joey Norris (District1), Scott Mast, (District 2), Freddy Phipps, Berna Arnold, Jerry Grindstaff (District 3), Tommy R. Poore, Rick Snyder (District 4), Megan McEwen, Jerry Gentry, Jimmy Lowe (District 5) David McQueen, (District 6) and Gina Meade, Evelyn Hill (District 7).
Adhering to his campaign motto, “Focused on our Future,” Mayor Taylor plans to hit the ground running. “I understand the importance of a team effort,” said Taylor, adding, “And together we can bring success to Johnson County.”
Some of the areas Taylor highlighted on the campaign trail focused on expanding local educational opportunities, improving infrastructure, promoting tourism, keeping local water sources and properties clean and healthy, and maintaining safety.
“Safety of all citizens is paramount,” said Taylor. “I fully support the men and women of law enforcement, and I will work with law enforcement administrators to seek out safety grants for equipment, training, and better working conditions.”
Tester and Taylor are both promising a visible, positive change in Johnson County, and while only time will tell who will be successful, the voters have now spoken, and a new sheriff and new county mayor have the reins.