Bradley County Sheriff candidates face off in debate
Candidate Steve Lawson spoke about change. Current Sheriff, Eric Watson, focused on what he has accomplished over the last four years.
The two republican candidates fighting for the Bradley County Sheriff's position came together for a debate. They answered questions on everything from school safety to sex trafficking.
There were two very different tones for the debate. Candidate Steve Lawson spoke about change. Current Sheriff, Eric Watson, focused on what he has accomplished over the last four years.
Incumbent Sheriff Eric Watson and his opponent Steve Lawson faced off, each vying for the title of Bradley County Sheriff.
“You make footprints in life and I ask you to gauge me by those footprints. Compare me and what I have done, to my opponent,” said Steve Lawson.
“I've been a good working sheriff. I am proud of my record, I am proud of the stops I have made, I am proud of the accomplishments we have made,” said Sheriff Eric Watson.
The Cleveland Rotary Club hosted the debate. The candidates spent 30 minutes answering questions drafted by rotary members. Hot topics included inmate safety at the jail, Watson's side business as a car salesman, Lawson's voting history, and illegal immigrants.
“If they are charged with a crime in Bradley County Tennessee, I want them deported. They ought to be gone. If they are here illegal, and get charged with a crime, we don't want them in our community,” said Steve Lawson.
“In a matter of fact we are already doing all that. If you are illegal and arrested in Bradley County, you are put in my jail, ICE is notified they have 7 days to come pick them up. Twenty-one days in certain cases and they are out of here. They are sent back.” Said Sheriff Eric Watson.
Sheriff Watson openly spoke about the TBI investigation against him, encouraging constituents to do their own research.
“Hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on bogus allegations by state agencies and one federal agency and they found nothing. They had to dismiss it, checked the correct name, Thomas Watson in taxes that was paid for those cars,” said Sheriff Watson.
Lawson fought back saying if elected, he will not have any side businesses, and focus mainly on the duties as sheriff.
“The job of Bradley County Sheriff is a full time job. I can tell you if I am allowed to serve you as Sheriff that will be my only job. There will be no second job, or any other conflicts of interest,” said Lawson.
There is no democratic candidates running for sheriff, so the winner of the Republican primary will face no opponent in the November general election.
The election primaries are on May 1.