By Sarrah Peters, News Editor
Candidates for state office spoke to locals at The Chamber’s Political Forum on Tuesday, April 17.
Each candidate was alloted five minutesto speak to the crowd. The forum provided several questions for each can-didate to answer.
Two United States House of Representatives, District 4 candidates addressed the crowd first. Democratic candidate Lee Aumon addressed the issues of opiate substance abuse the dangers of rural hospitals closing. Republican candidate Anthony Blackmon spoke about the need for “common sense” in Washington D.C.
Candidates for governor spoke about their visions for the state’s future.
Democrat Sue Bell Cobb spoke about her accomplishments as the first female Alabama State Chief Justice. She also spoke about plans for a lottery, which would raise funds for lifetime learning.
Democrat Christopher Countryman spoke about developing resources from the state’s waste and plans to build more recycling centers.
Republican Scott Dawson spoke on the importance of filling state offices with people of integrity and plans to audit the state department.
Democrat James Fields promised to reach across the aisle and work with state departments to accomplish progress.
Democrat Walt Maddox mentioned a lottery plan and the expansion of Medicaid and apprenticeship programs.
Independent governor candidate Chad Martin said that he would fund his campaign himself without accepting money from anyone. He expressed his concern over granting tax breaks to entice industries to come to the state.
Democrat Doug Smith, an economist who worked on tax breaks to bring in business during his career, said that “paying $350 for a man’s dignity” was something he was proud of having a part in.
Republican Tommy Battle talked about his experience bringing 24,000 jobs to Huntsville. He said that he wants to “make opportunity throughout the state.”
Candidates for Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, Treasurer, Auditor and the State Board of Education, District 8 also spole at the event.
Candidates for State Senate, District 10; and the State House, District 28, 29 and 30 also spoke at the forum.
Republican State Senate candidate Mack Butler said that the most important issue facing the area is growth and to do that the infrastructure must be repaired.
Independent candidate Craig Ford addressed the needed improvements to I-759 and the Southside Bridge, saying that the improvements are neccesary to bring industry to the area. He said that “time is money” to prospective industries. He also stated his support of the MegaSports Complex.
Republican candidate Andrew Jones said that he was running tbecause he has personally seen how legislation has hurt farmers and small business owners. He stated his support for pre-K programs, protecting water resources and teaching coding in schools.
State House District 28 candidates discussed the same questions as the State Senate candidates. Democrat Ralph Burke discussed bringing high speed broadband to the area as a draw for industry. Republican Gil Isbell expressed his support of the Etowah County Megasite. Democrat Kyle Pierce discussed the need to provide support for those facing substance abuse issues.
State House District 29 Democrat candidate Jared Millican voiced his support for programs to provide free two year training programs for free to all or most people, as computers are making it neccesary for job seekers to have some college education. Incumbant Becky Nordgren expressed concern over the singularity of the promises made, stating that no one person can make these projects happen. In order to get the projects accomplished, Nordgren said that representatives must work together.
State House District 30 candidate Rusty Jessup also expressed a desire for more unity among local elected officials. Republican candidate Craig Lipscomb provided the crowd with his phone number, a first for the night, so citizens could reach him with concerns. Republican candidate Robert Mckey was one of many candidates that stressed the importance of providing School Resource Officers for local schools. Republican candidate Ryan Preston also talked about SROs, stating that the sheriff’s food money could be pent to procure them. Democrat candidate Jared Vaughn was the last candidate to speak.