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Election profiles: House District 10 candidates

Voters will head to the polls Nov. 6 to vote in midterm elections.

To help prepare voters for Election Day, WHNT News 19 sent the same questions to candidates in North Alabama races.

Republican Mike Ball, Democrat J.B. King and Libertarian Elijah Boyd are running for the House District 10 seat.

Mike Ball (R)

What in your background qualifies you to serve in the office you’re seeking?

There are a great many things in my background that have helped to prepare me to serve in the legislature, beginning with the challenges that I faced growing up in the face of the untimely death of one parent and the severe mental illness of the other one that taught me perseverance and empathy; serving in the U.S. Marine Corps where I learned the value of teamwork and putting duty above self; and as a State Trooper and an Agent of the Alabama Bureau of Investigation where I learned the importance of making decisions based upon evidence rather than feelings or personal preference. During the challenges that have faced our state during the past four years, my experience in crisis intervention, hostage negotiation, and public corruption investigation has been of particular value. My experience as a legislator enables me to understand the legislative process and the obstacles that must be overcome as we face the challenges before us.

What are two areas you will focus on in representing your district?

As Chairman of the Madison County Delegation, I have focused on cultivating a cooperative spirit among our members that has resulted in our having the most effective legislative delegation in Alabama. Working with city, county, and other state officials, we have had great success in bringing jobs to our area and securing funding for infrastructure such as roads and schools and will continue those efforts. I plan to continue to work closely with my colleagues and many others to expedite those improvements in furtherance of our continued growth.

What are challenges facing Alabama, as a whole, that you want to help address?

One of the greatest challenges that has handcuffed Alabama over recent years has been the major ethical lapses at the highest levels, exposing serious flaws in our system of accountability in state government. As an experienced public corruption investigator and as Chairman of the House Committee on Ethics and Campaign Finance, I am intimately aware of these failures and have taken multiple actions to ensure that they will be fully exposed, including initiating the impeachment of the former governor, documenting criminal activity of other high-ranking officials, and reporting what I have discovered to the appropriate authorities.

I have discovered several major flaws in our judicial system and the system of checks and balances in our state government that can only be properly addressed after it has been properly laid out in the open. I am committed to ensure that gets done first, so that we can openly address the flaws in our system in a manner that will ensure that an ethical breakdown such as this will not happen again.

Closely related to this is my passion for mentoring those who are new to public service. I have looked at the achievements of those that I have mentored throughout the years with great fondness, recognizing that they transformed many of the insights that I have shared with them into positive accomplishments. Although they don’t always listen, I have always tried to pay special attention to new legislators because of their vulnerability to the many snares that await

them. During the upcoming quadrennium, there will be a very large number of new members, including several in our local delegation, and I would like to be there to help them get their bearings as quickly as possible to serve in a manner that promotes an atmosphere of cooperation rather than contention, which is the proper environment for creative problem-solving.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

I could take this question in many directions, but I’ll narrow it to these two:

Those who don’t know me very well might be surprised to learn that I love to sing and play guitar, fiddle, mandolin, bass, and piano; but those who have heard me play might be surprised to learn that I don’t read music and have had no formal musical training.

They might also be surprised to learn that when I was hired as an Alabama State Trooper in 1978, the previous height and weight requirements had recently been ruled unconstitutional and at 5’4” and 130 lbs., I was the littlest trooper since the Alabama Department of Public Safety was founded in 1935. Fortunately, I was fresh out of the Marine Corps and not very conscious of my mortality, so it wasn’t a problem.

Why should voters trust you?

I love truth. I am honest with myself and others.

J.B. King

What in your background qualifies you to serve in the office you’re seeking?

What qualifies me for this office is that I am a tax paying American citizen. What other qualification should be needed? If everyday Americans do not participate in the government that we have, then we will fail at this great democratic experiment. I bring the voice of a father who has overcome many obstacles in this country I love to ensure my children have fewer or at least different obstacles to face. I bring the perspective of a man who has lived in poverty, struggled in school, and failed at times in my life. I bring the voice of a man thankful for the successes he has achieved and charged with a mission to help other find their way to their success as well. All that said, I am an engineer. We solve problems. Our state government is a problem in need of a solution.

What are two areas you will focus on in representing your district?

a) Leveraging our technological acumen to innovate our way out of Alabama’s chronic problems in healthcare, education, and economic development. b) Addressing structural problems with the Alabama state government system such as campaign finance laws, the next round of redistricting, term limits to instill a since of urgency in our legislature as opposed to the kind of complacency we tend to see, and the over 900 amendments in our state constitution most of which are the epitome of wasteful government.

What are challenges facing Alabama, as a whole, that you want to help address?

The challenge truly facing Alabama “as a whole” as stated by the question is the fact that we are stuck in an echo chamber listening to the same old ideas over and over again. I entered local politics because I believe in democracy. We do not have that in Alabama because many voices are silenced. We are a state where even when 50% of us statewide voted for Doug Jones (a Democrat), we still would have sent just 1 of 7 Democrats to the U. S. House under the current district lines. The last time I checked 1 divided by 7 does not equal one half. That is simply not right.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

After a reasonably successful almost 17 year engineering career, two degrees, and two graduate certificates, some may be surprised to learn that I am a pretty terrible student. I am a kinetic learner and a class clown. I used to have a lot of difficulty reading. I learn by doing. I learn by working. I learn by failing and trying again. That is why I strongly advocate a broad curriculum that is not solely based on the test. Everyone learns differently and everyone has something to offer if given a chance to find what their “something” is.

Why should voters trust you?

I do not believe that trust is something that should be freely given. The voters should decide on November 6th if they like my ideas enough to give me a chance to earn their trust over the next four years. They should then hold me accountable if I break that trust when earned.

Elijah Boyd

What in your background qualifies you to serve in the office you’re seeking?

Our representative form of government should be seated by ordinary citizens without preference to privilege, but preference to ideas. However, I have earned a Master’s degree in Business Administration, I served as a Sergeant in the U.S. Army and am a combat veteran, I am a foster and adoptive parent, I now work as professional in software development, and most importantly, I respect the rights of individuals.

What are two areas you will focus on in representing your district?

My top priority is reducing the size and scope of obstructive and intrusive government. At every opportunity I will work to return our system of of laws to one the protects individual rights rather than one that treads on people for social and political agendas. Secondly, I will work with other North Alabama legislators to raise state funding for highways in North Alabama to a level that matches the taxes we already have been paying.

What are challenges facing Alabama, as a whole, that you want to help address?

First, our prison system in Alabama is overcrowded and our incarceration rate is higher than the national average. We’ve made progress in the last few years, but time is running out for Alabama to decide how we finally solve the problem. There’s been proposals in Montgomery to raise taxes, build more prisons, and continue putting more people in jail. That cannot be our answer. We need to first end the drug war that has broken homes and communities by incarcerating peaceful people. Our prisons should be reserved exclusively for people that have hurt others physically or monetarily. Ending the war on drugs will reduce civil asset forfeiture, but seizure of property should only be done and can be done through a criminal conviction, it’s Constitutional.

Secondly, we’ve wielded force of government in unfair ways around the state and the practices are tolerated and even praised in Montgomery. Occupational licensing for many professions is cumbersome, costly, and rather than protect consumers, it protects incumbents in the market. Some professions will always be licensed and necessarily so, but we should critically consider painters, hair braiders, auctioneers, and several others as state licensed professions. We give tax incentives and more to some of the biggest businesses and that is tantamount to corporate welfare. I understand the gratification legislators feel in winning big corporations with clear revenue measurements, but we are trampling on the small- and medium-sized businesses that have grown our economy and afforded Montgomery that working capital. Government shouldn’t be picking winners and losers, that breeds corruption. Aren’t we tired of playing corruption whack-a-mole in Alabama?

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

People may be surprised by numerous and various jobs I’ve had so far. I’ve worked from when I was 15, but even had a few paper routes starting at 9 years old. I’ve been a apartment maintenance worker, cashier and grocery stocker, hotel clerk, steel yard worker, pizza delivery, truck driver, mental health aide, now a software developer, and in the Army I was a machinist and convoy security team leader in Iraq. I feel blessed that I’ve gotten to experience so much of life. November 6th, I’d love to add State Representative to that list.

Why should voters trust you?

As a Libertarian I have pledged to uphold the Non-Aggression Principle and I will continue to challenge the cult of the omnipotent state. The values I talk about, and that will guide my tenure in office, are dear to me and those in my closest circle. I recognize the government, the unjust laws, and the debt that we create are burdens that will be suffered by the next generation, including my own children. It is important that government protects each individual and their right to pursue life as they choose.