HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Alabama House District 20 has been represented by Howard Sanderford since 1989, but Sanderford is not seeking another term. There are four Republicans seeking to replace him. The primary election is May 24.
News 19 asked the candidates for Alabama House District 20 about themselves and their views on issues important to Alabamians.
Question #1: Tell us a bit about your background. How has it shaped you to serve in the office you’re seeking?
JAMES D. BROWN: My wife and I have lived in South Huntsville and District 20 for over 30 years. I have spent my adult career in banking in Huntsville. As Chief Risk Officer of Progress Bank, I deal with laws and regulations every day.
I have been active in numerous organizations in the district to include Huntsville South Civic Association and Huntsville South Civic Association, Grissom PTA, etc. I have been an advocate for south Huntsville with our local elected officials both City and County.
I am a problem solver and have the personality that allows me to work with people to find common ground and solve problems.
I am a Christian, Conservative, Republican and I believe life experience matters and is needed to represent District 20 in Mongomery.
JAMES LOMAX: I grew up in South Huntsville and attended Grissom High School before going to college at UAH and then graduate school at Lipscomb University, where I received my master’s degree in Leadership & Public Service.
I stayed in Huntsville after graduation because I wanted to help be a part of building the culture here. I’ve been able to do that through my work in commercial real estate. For the past 8 years I’ve worked throughout Research Park in the office market and for the past 4 have been able to serve the Redstone Arsenal economic engine as Vice President of Asset Management & Leasing for a publicly traded Real Estate Investment Trust.
I’m involved in the community through the Rotary Club as well as being appointed by the Huntsville City Council to the Medical Clinic Board of Fifth Avenue.
ANGELA MCCLURE: I grew up in Montgomery, Alabama where at 14 I was able to serve as a legislative page under Governor Fob James. Even at that age, I recognized how important the job of serving in the legislature was and I was honored to be able to work with them even at such a young age. I have always had a heart to help others when I could.
Throughout my years I have given my time or my financial support when I could to different nonprofits or community service organizations. No-kill animal shelters such as Lifeline Pet Rescue of North Alabama. It was a natural path for me to pursue a degree in Law and I applied and was accepted to law school. I drove back and forth to Birmingham at night for 3 years as well as worked 3 jobs to pay for my degree as well as take care of my child.
I learned through the pursuit of my law degree as a more mature woman who also faced the challenges of raising and caring for a young child as a single mother that I could indeed accomplish and contribute to the community in a matter that really made a difference if I worked hard enough. Working for the Trump White House on the Remote Advance team for the office of the President was an experience in service that enforce my desire to serve in government as mentors I respected and admired encouraged me to serve and run for office. I have raised $12,000 in my campaign in the first month and a half just from friends who believe in me. This also tells me I am on the right path and if the people want me I am ready to serve in the state legislature to the absolute best of my ability.
FRANCES TAYLOR: I have a long record of service driven by a desire to make our county a better place for all its citizens. From serving the war fighter at work every day to serving students at the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind to serving the Republican Party in various leadership roles. I believe we have a duty and obligation to serve help keep our country free, strong and true to our constitutional roots. As the daughter of a Vietnam veteran and the parent of four grown children, I believe it is imperative that we citizens step up and work toward maintaining the founding principles that created this great nation in as many areas as possible.
Question #2: What do you see as key challenges facing your district and the state and what do you propose to do about them?
BROWN: District 20 as well as all of Madison County sends more tax dollars to Montgomery than we receive back. Madison County is growing at a rapid pace, and we need to be sure that Madison County receives our fair share of resources from Montgomery to meet the improvement and maintenance of our infrastructure to support our growth. I will fight for those tax dollars. In District 20, we are seeing growth and we need to be sure our roads and other infrastructure are in place.
We need better funding for mental health in our State. Our state budget is primarily “earmarked” funds. That is, the funds are specified for special interests. The Alabama budget needs review and revision.
LOMAX: I have a three “S” Plan for District 20.
Stronger Economy – I will work to create an environment that helps the private sector create jobs and build upon the great quality of life we have here in North Alabama.
Safer Neighborhoods – I will fund first responders and our police officers to make sure they have the resources that they need to keep our community safe and secure.
Smarter Schools – I will push our school systems in Alabama to be schools of tomorrow, not yesterday. I support a school choice voucher system. In addition, we need to support career-readiness programs, technical programs, and vocational programs that prepare Alabama students for the real world.
MCCLURE: Education is by far the most challenging issue in our state. We are ranked 52 in the country in Math as a state. We must get rid of Common Core and not allow any elements of Critical Race Theory into our classrooms. Teachers should be immediately held accountable for their inappropriate rhetoric and behavior. We must get back to real text books with laptops so that parents can help their kids do well in school. We need more mandatory after-school tutoring programs for kids making below a C in every class. We must use the 8 billion dollars to rebuild our education system from the ground up.
Space Command and our economy are very important to not only our community and our state but our country. We are about to go through a recession. It is my believe that Huntsville and Alabama can weather that storm if we continue to be the state of choice for small and big business. Space Command coming to Huntsville, Alabama and not Colorado will not only be great for our economy but best for national security of our country. I have therefore created the Alabama Cyber Security Association where the cyber and space community in Huntsville Alabama can come together to support the efforts of continuing to bring Space Command to Huntsville.
TAYLOR: One of our biggest challenges in this district is the lack of needed infrastructure necessary to accommodate our growing population. I believe as Huntsville continues to grow and becomes an even greater economic engine for the state, there should be enhanced focus on funding roads, buildings, energy resources, etc. in the Tennessee Valley area. Our growth spreads beyond just our immediate area and in order for it to expand and remain viable the infrastructure must also grow. We don’t want to cause businesses to seek other locations due to our failure to accommodate growth.
The other issue that is looming large is the need for more parental control and choice with regard to our children’s education. I have long been an opponent of common core and am gravely concerned about the growth of CRT in our education system. I believe parents should have viable choices with regard to what is best for their children.
Question #3: What are voters telling you they are concerned about? Can you help?
- No more tax increases. Many have spoken to me against the gas tax.
- Reducing tax on groceries and food.
- Roads to meet the growth and reduce the traffic on Memorial Parkway.
- Continued fight against illegal drugs
- Increase in crime in the Madison County and Huntsville.
LOMAX: More than anything, people are telling me they want to keep social issues out of the classroom, they want to make sure we have proper infrastructure, and they want our economy to stay on track. As a representative, I am looking forward to tackling these issues. I will be one of the first to jump on bills involving education, as my newborn daughter will be attending Alabama schools. I will work to secure our fair share of road funding, and I will help support municipalities and local governments in securing economic development projects for the area.
In addition to these items, Alabamians are looking to make sure our elections are secure. I support any efforts that will make our elections more secure so people can have faith in the system when they go to the polls.
MCCLURE: Voters are very concerned with education, voting, and the economy. I believe that my
experience and education will enable me to write and understand the needs of the people where I can introduce passable bills that will be in support of our state and national constitution on all issues to continue to move Alabama in a positive direction. I love this state and this country and I want to do everything I can to make us stronger and more successful.
TAYLOR: Among the issues being raised are: inflation, taxes, government regulation and school choice. While inflation is being driven by catastrophic choices in the Biden administration, we need to look at budgets and work in earnest to reduce the tax burden on our citizens. Now is not the time to increase taxes when inflation is running at double digits. Citizens are also concerned about their freedoms and choices being taken away and replaced by mandates of various types or strangled by regulation. We need to ensure the legislature does not allow additional regulatory burdens be enacted and placed on individuals or businesses.
Lastly, we need to enact a strong school choice bill that doesn’t financially burden parents who choose parochial, private or homeschooling options for their children. Parents know their children and are best equipped to decide what is in their best interests. Choosing an alternative to the local public school should not be an option only to those who are financially well off.
Question #4: What is an accomplishment you’re especially proud of?
BROWN: Several years ago, there were several things that happened in South Huntsville that caused the citizens to come together to voice their concerns to City and County Officials. I was proud to be a part of that group and to then be a founding member of Huntsville South Civic Association and serve as its first President for several years.
LOMAX: I’m proud of the two million square feet of new buildings I’ve helped develop at Gate 9 of Redstone Arsenal over the past four years. These buildings help fund infrastructure projects on the arsenal while growing the economy.
MCCLURE: I am most proud of my accomplishment as a mother. To see your children grow up and be people you are proud of is the most important thing on the planet. There are so many different outside influences now that could interfere with the raising of your children that being successful as a parent is even harder now I believe than ever. Keeping our children safe and in an atmosphere where they can grow without being indoctrinated by social media, left-leaning teachers, or being forced to compete in sports with a gender that has a biological unfair advantage is very important to our children and our future as a society. It is our constitutional right to raise our children. We should protect that to the highest extent. I serve for the future of my children and yours.
TAYLOR: Serving the war fighter daily is a great honor. My work requires me to bring together individuals from different groups – different geographic locations and different disciplines. We must work together to formulate strategic plans moving forward for various weapon systems. The group must reach consensus and all must concur on the plan from the local level up to the Pentagon. It is no small task but we must work together to build a future that protects the war fighter while allowing them to do their job to protect and defend our country. There really is no greater honor than to work so many brave, freedom loving individuals who are literally willing to give their life in service to our country. Being part of that team and helping to see their success is truly humbling.
Question #5: Leaving out elected officials – past and present – tell us about someone you admire and why.
BROWN: President Ronald Regan. A conservative, Republican who advocated tax reduction, economic deregulation, reduced government spending and convinced the Soviets to open the Berlin Wall.
LOMAX: One of my best friends – Clayton Hinchman. Clayton is the CEO of a local government contractor in our area. Before that he attended West Point and served our country as an Army Ranger before receiving the purple heart for losing his leg in Iraq on a mission to capture or kill Al-Qaeda. He works hard every day to create jobs in North Alabama and give back to the country that he has already given a leg for. If people like Clayton can sacrifice so much for our community, I want to do my little part by serving as a State Representative.
MCCLURE: I admire any women in positions of leadership for I know how hard it is to want to serve but not be allowed to serve. It is still difficult for women especially in the south to be taken seriously in positions of leadership. There are hardly any women in north Alabama leadership and I hope to change that. I believe I am the most qualified for this position and I hope that my service in the state legislature will encourage more women to get involved in service if that is where they wish to be.
TAYLOR: Justice Clarence Thomas. He started from such humble beginnings and persevered against all odds. His writings reflect his great intellect, commitment to principled values, belief in the constitution and rule of law. He believes in personal responsibility and limits on government oversight and intrusion into everyday life. He has been able to withstand the personal attacks and remain committed to upholding the constitution as written. Not bending to the ever changing prevailing winds and remaining true to himself and his principles is to be admired.
Question #6: What distinguishes you from your opponents?
BROWN: My long-term residency and involvement in So. Huntsville and District 20 (over 30 years) and my long-term work as an advocate for So. Huntsville.
My business knowledge (40 year as a local banker), and my ability to work with others to solve problems.
My maturity and experience in this community having served on numerous Boards and organizations and raised a family in District 20. Life experience matters in Montgomery.
LOMAX: I’ve seen first hand through my work in commercial real estate what is required to create jobs and build industry. Beyond that, I think my youth is a distinguishing factor. I have a 5 week old daughter. I’m invested in this area. The things we do in Montgomery will have a direct impact on the world she will grow up in. I’m not a candidate of the past. I am focused on the future.
MCCLURE: I have four opponents. I believe that my resume is far better qualified to serve in this position than any of my opponents. That my life experiences and my conservative policies that I believe in are truly the best for this state and this country. I am the only true Trump conservative in this race, and I believe in the policies of the past administration 100%.
TAYLOR: I have had years of proven conservative leadership. Starting in leadership roles in the Young Republicans to being an officer for the 65K strong National Federation of Republican Women for four years to being the first person selected by her peers to be the Chairman of the ALGOP Ethics Committee. I have excelled in my work environment with decades of ever increasing leadership roles culminating as a Director for Dun and Bradstreet corporation.
I am blessed to have been married over 40 years and we have raised four children who are now out of the house which frees up time to be an effective legislator. I am firmly committed to service as evidenced by my roles in my personal and professional life. My peers and colleagues recognize my leadership skills, commitment to honesty and integrity and have elected me to positions which encompass much responsibility and fiduciary oversight.
I am committed to serving all the members of my community without regard to party background. I will be an advocate for conservative principles, and protecting our freedoms and liberties. I have worked tirelessly for others and look forward to serving the constituents of District 20.