Three candidates will be on the ballot June 5 in the Democratic Primary to fill the Alabama House of Representatives District 82 seat, which represents Macon County and parts of Lee and Tallapoosa counties.
The incumbent District 82 representative, Pebblin Warren, has served in the seat since winning a special election in 2005 after current challenger Johnny Ford resigned from the seat in 2004 when he was elected as mayor of Tuskegee.
Warren touted successfully pushing through bills affecting children during her time as a legislator, from her first bill that changed the age when children could start school to her most recent effort that passed last session to level the regulations for child care facilities in the state.
"What we’re going to do now is for all of our day cares that are receiving federal dollars, they’re going to have to be licensed," she said. "For the ones not receiving federal dollars, they’re going to have to have annual reporting periods to update with criminal background checks, their health inspections and fire inspections. Everybody has now been added additional responsibility for reporting."
Warren said she has focused on workforce development in the past and that continuing that effort is important for Lee, Macon and Tallapoosa counties. She also said she is in favor of letting Alabama citizens vote on a lottery, as long as it contains provisions for electronic bingo, which has a major impact on Macon County through Victoryland.
She mentioned her commitment to her constituents, her work ethic and the respect she receives in Montgomery among the reasons why she should receive votes.
"I’ve committed my whole life now to just doing this for the people, and I feel like I’ve been quite successful," she said. "I still don’t really brag, but when I look at my opponents’ reputation compared to mine, it’s as different as night and day.
"My name has only been on the ballot for one position — Alabama state representative for District 82."
Former Tuskegee Mayor and state representative Johnny Ford is also running for the Democratic nomination for District 82.
He said he was drawn to run for state legislature again because there are "some critical things that need to be done, and they need to be done now.
"I don’t have a lot of time, and I want to hit the ground running so that we can accomplish these things," said Ford, an Auburn University graduate.
If elected, Ford said he would take an approach that would allow Alabama residents to vote on a number of issues through constitutional amendments.
He said giving people a vote on expanding Medicaid, legalizing full-scale gaming in the state and approving an educational lottery would be top priorities for him, as would focusing on economic development issues in Macon County, including trying to secure state help for infrastructure that could facilitate bringing the T-100 aircraft industry to the area.
"While this aircraft manufacturing company would be located at historic Moton Field, the home of the Tuskegee Airman, it will benefit the aviation industry in general in the state of Alabama," he said, mentioning the jobs it would create and impact it would have in the district.
Tuskegee businessman Terrence Johnson is also running for the District 82 Democratic nomination.
Johnson, a registered nurse who graduated from AUM, is a local business owner. He has started five locations of By His Grace Daycare & Learning Center, as well as other businesses in the district over the years. He said he employs about 100 people.
His experience in small business would be a benefit for economic development in the district, he said.
"One of the most important things, I think, that the citizens need to be able to provide for their family is going to be a job," he said. "I’ve kind of been all over the country and district. I’ve provided jobs throughout the community."
He said experience as a health care administrator also sets him apart from other candidates.
"We have the same people running for office over and over, and it’s challenges that we’re having in our district and that we’re still having those same challenges after 13 or 35 years," he said. "Then at this point, you would think that you would want someone else with new, fresh ideas. So by having me as state representative, they have a person with new, fresh ideas."
There are no Republican candidates for the District 82 seat.
The Democratic primary will take place Tuesday, June 5. Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.