Michael Flynn is a retired Army lieutenant colonel and has been in public service for almost 34 years.

But he says 34 years is not enough and he wants to continue by serving as judge of McLennan County’s 19th State District Court.

Flynn, 59, is joining Thomas West, Susan Kelly and Kristi DeCluitt in the March 2020 Republican primary election to replace the retiring Judge Ralph Strother, and others could enter the race before the Dec. 9 filing deadline.

Flynn joined the Army in 1983, graduated from Baylor University Law School in 1988 and served as an Army lawyer until 2016, including tours in Bosnia and Iraq. He served 28 years on active duty representing the government as a Judge Advocate General and six years in the Army Reserve.

While he was in the Army Reserve, he became chief of the criminal law division, working at Reserve headquarters at Fort McPherson in Atlanta, Georgia, and later at Fort Bragg in North Carolina.

“I think one thing that is important in this race is my veteran status,” Flynn said. “I have been a public servant for almost 34 years. Because of my experiences in the military, I have practiced law in several different jurisdictions. I was actually running a legal office in Iraq for a year, where I was supervisor for 54 legal professionals, paralegals and attorneys, with five different offices across the battlefields in Iraq. I have a diversity of experience and diversity of dealing with people and lawyers from multiple different jurisdictions.”

In 28 years as a JAG officer, Flynn’s superior officers consistently have praised him for his litigation and courtroom skills, his knowledge of ethics and criminal law and his ability to manage a court docket and keep cases moving, Flynn said.

“I just don’t believe that there are problems that can’t be solved,” Flynn said. “I think we can move justice faster and quicker. The status quo has never been acceptable to me. When people tell me that can’t be done, I have always thought outside the box, looking for a creative way to do it.

“Frequently, what I find is there are people inside the system who know the answer, but no one ever asks them. I am a team player. I get others involved,” he said.

Flynn practiced law in Waco from 1996 to 2001 after he left active duty. He ran unsuccessfully against former McLennan County District Attorney John Segrest in 1998, winning just less than 40 percent of the vote. He completed a master of laws degree in 2004 and graduated from the Army War College with a master of strategic studies degree in 2011.

For the past year, he has pursued a master’s degree in mental health counseling and is 12 hours short of that degree. He also volunteers at Baylor’s legal clinic for veterans and serves as a court-appointed special advocate (CASA) for a child in foster care.

Flynn has been a lifelong volunteer in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and has served as youth minister, assistant pastor, pastor and senior pastor. He and his wife, Teresa, served an 18-month mission ministering to military families with loved ones deployed at Fort Polk in 2017 to 2018.

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Staff writer at the Waco Tribune-Herald covering courts and criminal justice. Follow me on Twitter @TSpoonFeed.

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