Mike Smith, Farragut High School Class of 1997 graduate, is running for President of the United States in the upcoming general election.
Smith said he felt the election with the greatest need for a common-sense, middle-class in-dependent candidate was the presidential race.
“That is the political office in this election cycle that has the least qualified leaders running for that position,” he said.
“I was an intern at the White House, but that’s the extent of my political résumé ,” he said. “I think Americans are looking for an outsider.”
He will be running as an independent.
“Growing up … in the East Tennessee area, I think you learn to respect people from all different backgrounds. I think you learn a lot about just common sense, and common sense is something we don’t have a whole lot of in Washington, D.C., these days,” Smith said.
“Simple lessons of right and wrong and looking after your neighbor and helping somebody when they’re in need … are certainly lessons I learned growing up here in East Tennessee,” he said. “If I had the opportunity to be the president, I would take those [lessons] with me to the White House, and I think that that would be a refreshing change to Washington and really provide us with common-sense leadership.”
He said his coaches, teachers and parents had taught him many valuable lessons.
“Those lessons of doing what’s right regardless of consequences are valuable lessons as I embark on this journey,” he said.
Bobby Henry, his Farragut Middle School physical education teacher, and Eddie Court-ney, his FHS football coach, taught him well, Smith said. They made a great impact on him with their encouragement and willingness to instill values.
“Just that outlook on life of just going after your dreams and just trying to make a difference in the world,” he said, describing the philosophy he took from Henry.
He said he learned other lessons from his basketball coaches, Donald Dodgen and Mike Ed-wards.
“I would certainly say I learned work ethic from him,” Smith said regarding Edwards.
He said he admired Dodgen’s optimism.
“Whatever you do, always have a smile on your face and enjoy everything.”
Smith said he hoped to keep that optimism going throughout his campaign trail.
Smith has lived in East Ten-nessee at various times. As an adult, he had a solo law practice in Farragut before moving to Colorado, where he has lived for three and a half years by his own estimate. He still has family in the Farragut area, including his father, David Smith, who works as an optometrist.