ATHENS, Ala. (WHNT) – The Athens-Limestone Republican Women (ALRW) hosted three gubernatorial candidates at a forum Monday night.
Lindy Blanchard, Dean Odle, and Tim James were all in attendance, each sharing more about their platforms.
Lindy Blanchard told News 19 she feels her experience as a US Ambassador to Slovenia during Trump’s presidency has prepared her for the role as governor.
When it comes to COVID-19, Blanchard calls herself a “no COVID-19 mandate candidate.” She shared with News 19 that mandates are a form of overreach and reiterated her belief that everyone should have the opportunity to decide if a vaccine is right for themselves.
Odle and James take similar stances. At the event, Odle explained he decided to run for Governor after he felt Ivey mishandled the pandemic.
Another hot topic of the night — gas prices and Governor Ivey’s gas tax. In 2019, Ivey signed a bill that would raise Alabama’s fuel taxes by 10 cents over three years to increase funding for roads and bridges.
Blanchard shared that her team asked the Governor’s office about how the tax has benefitted the state to which Blanchard says they received no response.
“We as a team, we reached out to the governor’s office. We asked what money has come in from the gas tax, where it was spent, then what projects are left and we could not get those answers,” Blanchard told News 19. “So, as a mathematician, I’d love to go in, roll up my sleeves, freeze everything, and as a businesswoman look at it from that viewpoint.”
James also opposes the fuel tax. He told News 19 there should be a threshold to prevent the tax from being added during times when gas is more expensive.
“They should’ve put a trigger in there at about $2.50 or $2.60 that if it crosses over that threshold that gas tax comes off. Then when it goes up you’re taking the burden off working families and when it goes back down it goes back on and it doesn’t harm them,” James explained. “The problem with even a dime on top of $1.80 is one thing but a dime on top of $3.40 is another.”
Odle and James also discussed their beliefs on allowing parents to choose where their children attend school. James calls this “school choice” and said that any family should have the ability to pull their children from the school they are zoned for and enroll them in any public school that has openings or any private school that accepts tax credit vouchers.
The Republican primary will be held on Tuesday, May 24.