GREENEVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) — Blake “Andy” Barham has announced that he will challenge incumbent Wesley Holt for Greene County sheriff.

Barham says he has 24 years of law enforcement experience. After growing up in Greene County, he began his career with the Greene County Sheriff’s Department in 1997. Barham stayed there for four years before joining the Knoxville Police Department, where he served as a patrol officer, school resource officer, and in the training division. In 2012, he became a railroad investigator with Norfolk Southern.

The Greene County native says his family has a history of serving in law enforcement.

“From an early age, I was exposed to the police department, after school and during the summers, and it has just been in my blood,” Barham said. “There is my father, myself, an older brother, a nephew and two other relatives that are in law enforcement, so blue is in our blood.”

Barham moved back home in 2018 and currently has children in school in Greeneville. If elected, he says he will examine how the sheriff’s department is operating before making any changes.

“The sheriff’s department now has come a long way in four years since my opponent has been in office. But, when you start talking about change, change is always tough and it scares people,” Barham said. “My biggest thing is, I would come in, if I was elected sheriff, and I would take a breather, per se, and see how things are operating. See what needs to be tweaked, and then implement my strategies and some of my small changes.”

Barham says he “can’t say anything bad” about his opponent, Sheriff Holt, and what he has done in his time as sheriff.

“The biggest thing I can say is I hope to bring new ideas, fresh ideas. From being able to experience things in what we call a larger city, such as Knoxville, but still have hometown heart, small-town heart, and apply those things together,” Barham said.

The Republican primary will be held in May 2022.