All four district commission seats are being contested in Tuesday’s election. Three of the four seats will be filled with a new commissioner.
In District 1, Republican Keith Davis and Democrat Jason Akins are hoping to fill the seat being left vacant by retiring commissioner Dual Tubbs.
Davis, a real estate agent with a finance degree from the University of Alabama, said improving the county’s financial status is one of his main goals.
“There is a $1.7 million payment that will be due in 2018,” he said. “I have a comprehensive plan to tackle the county’s debt. I believe we’ve had a huge mismanagement of assets that has put everybody in a bind. This kind of thing is what I’m good at. I’m a numbers guy, and I can help us pay off this debt and put Walker County back to work.”
Bringing in new jobs has been another campaign topic for Davis.
“Folks need to know that the Walker County Commission is more than just dealing with roads and bridges,” he said. “I-22 brings us huge potential and we need conservative, business-minded commissioners. We need fresh ideas and new leadership now in Walker County.”
Akins is an employee at the Walker County Sheriff’s Office who has a degree in political science from Birmingham-Southern College. He said he worked with his father’s small business since he was 12.
“I’ve been around small business most of my life,” he said. “I have a lot of experience recruiting business and have had a part in creating dozens of jobs in the past.”
Akins said he is not a partisan person.
“I’m not for a party,” he said. “I want to be here for the people of Walker County. A commissioner has a job to do, and that job is to serve the people. I’m just a guy who works at the jail. I want people to know that I’m one of them and I just want to serve the community that I love.”
In District 2, incumbent Dan Wright, a Democrat, is seeking re-election against Republican candidate Davey Reed.
Wright said he has enjoyed his first term in office. He said during his four years he has re-opened the county landfill on Saturdays, applied for and received stimulus funds and constructed two bridges in District 2.
“I like to build bridges instead of burn bridges, and I’ve built two in four years,” Wright said.
Wright said he would like to see county services updated, such as switching to automated garbage pickup, to save citizens money.
“We need to modernize and become more efficient,” Wright said.
Reed is a former football coach at Carbon Hill High School and is owner of a construction company. He said he wants to serve the county and use the position to help area schools. He said all residents in the district should be treated equal.
“From Corona to Nauvoo, we just need to treat people fair,” Reed said. “People need to know that we are here for them. If they have a need, we need to be accessible to them.”
In District 3, Democrat George Fitzpatrick and Republican Bobby Nunnelley are seeking the commission seat left vacant by the retiring Ben Huggins.
Fitzpatrick said he has run a small business for years.
“I know what it takes to balance a budget and to manage money,” he said. “I’ve managed up to 13 employees, so I feel I have the experience needed to be commissioner.”
Nunnelley is a retired mine superintendent who said he decided to get involved in politics because of frustrations over the road conditions near his home in Providence and elsewhere in his district.
“You might as well say we don’t have any roads,” Nunnelley told the Eagle earlier this year. “They’re all tore up. I’m just trying to get it where we can get some roads and change some of the things they’re doing. They always say we don’t have any money, but we’ve got labor and fuel already paid for.”
In District 4, Republican Steven Aderholt and Democrat Otto Tolbert are hoping to replace retiring commissioner Randy Bridges.
Aderholt said he believes Walker County needs innovative leaders.
“If we want jobs and industry, it’s going to take having the right leadership,” he said. “We need our commissioners to be job recruiters like they are in every other county. My platform is jobs, jobs, jobs, and that is what I’m going to work to do. We have the river, the rail system, I-22 and those are assets to attract business and industry.”
Tolbert is a worker at the District 4 shop and pastor at Little Vine Baptist Church in Empire.
“I have the experience of working in the district, and I have the compassion to serve the people of the district,” he said.