MORGAN COUNTY, Ala. - Many roads throughout the Tennessee Valley are dotted with political signs, but three names hope you'll show up and vote Tuesday, May 15 and send them to Montgomery.
The only thing on the ballot in Limestone and Morgan Counties' special election is the Alabama House of Representatives District 4 seat. It was vacated when former representative Micky Hammon pleaded guilty to felony mail fraud.
The three candidates are Republican Parker Duncan Moore, Democrat Juanita Healy and Independent Polan "Pete" Willis. There were three GOP candidates and Moore defeated Tom Fredricks in the runoff.
Whoever emerges the winner Tuesday holds the seat until the regular election in November. They all plan to ask for your vote once again, hoping to win a full four-year term. Willis is sending in a petition to get on the ballot, Healy is the only Democrat to qualify and Moore will face Fredricks again in a primary in June.
"There's a lot of work to do before the session," said Willis. "Whoever gets it now needs to be working toward training between now and November so we’re not left without representation."
All three are first-time politicians and prioritize education and job training.
"I've owned a small business in north Alabama, in Priceville, for 25 years," said Willis."My focus is on training, job training, and for both the underemployed, already out of school, and the trade schools."
"What I want to do is work with STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) programs and trade schools to foster internships and opportunities for the young adults with the industries we already have here," said Moore.
"Whether people have children or not, people care about the education of our children," said Healy. "Teach them to do jobs, give the life skills, don't just hand them a high school diploma or a college degree, but make them prepared to go into the world, contribute to the world and make a living."
Infrastructure improvements also top the list of priorities. Moore and Healy particularly highlighted the importance of mental health care. Moore says he has a personal connection to the issue because of his own family, and says he doesn't think law enforcement should be tasked with doubling as mental healthcare professionals.
"I think it contributes to prison overcrowding," she said. "Forty percent of the prisoners in Morgan and Limestone county suffer from some sort of mental illness, and that needs be addressed. They can be treated for 30% less on the outside and be contributing members of society."
The polls open at seven Tuesday morning for registered voters of District 4. The primary election is June 5. The voting registration deadline for the primary is May 21.