Meet the Candidates: State Representative – District 7
By Matt Wilson
For the FCT
Editor’s Note: “Meet the Candidates” will be a regular feature informing you about our local candidates leading up to the November general election.
This week’s featured candidates are seeking the state office of Alabama House of Representatives, District 7, an office that is currently held by incumbent Republican candidate Ken Johnson who faces Democratic candidate Jody Letson in the November general election.
>Why are you running for this office? What made you decide to run?
Ken Johnson: After seeing the liberal anti-family values and wasteful big government spending direction Washington and Montgomery were taking, I decided to run for office four years ago. I saw there were no new jobs being created in our district and wanted that changed. I saw the need for conservative pro-life leadership in Montgomery which would promote a responsible pro-economy, pro-jobs environment in our state and that would be accountable to the taxpayers. I saw how special interests and lobbyists controlled Montgomery and knew it had to be changed. We started reforming Montgomery four years ago and I want to see that reform continue.
Jody Letson: I’m seeking re-election for the same reason I ran for this office in previous years – to serve the people in my district and do all I can do to improve the quality of life with better schools, infrastructure and economic opportunity.
>Why do you think this particular position is important?
Ken Johnson: After talking with and hearing from the people of my district and Alabama, I believe responsible government is what people want and need to preserve their values and provide jobs they need. People want government to live within its means and be accountable to them. They are tired of the Washington mentality of spend, tax, and spend more.
Jody Letson: State government plays a big role in the lives of Alabamians. The Alabama legislature is charged with making decisions that impact just about everything in our district in some way or another. In the past four years, business failures and stagnant growth have made this position more important than ever. We want to turn these economic trends around. When the announcement was made that International Paper closed, Lawrence County and District 7 lost thousands of jobs. I decided then that I would use my knowledge as a small business owner, and an experienced state representative, to fight and create jobs in our district.
> Why do you think you are the most qualified for this position?
Ken Johnson: I am not a career politician, I am a small business owner who has demonstrated over the last four years of being in the legislature that I want change and I’m willing to stand against the liberals to reform Montgomery.
Jody Letson: My experience for 14 years as a state legislator, four years as a county commissioner, and life-long resident of District 7 qualifies me as the best candidate for this position. I care deeply for the people in my district. I will be accountable to those I serve, not to state leaders or special interests.
> What do you hope to accomplish if you’re elected?
Ken Johnson: Franklin County, like other counties, hasn’t grown much over the last decade or so because our children move away to find work. We must continue to create a pro-business environment to bring back jobs to our area so our children and grandchildren won’t have to move away to find employment. We must create more opportunities for education recognizing that one size does not fit all. It must be recognized that not everyone is going to a four-year college and therefore we must continue to support and expand our career tech education as we have in the last four years.
Jody Letson: I hope to continue the work I did in the past. My plans are to be an advocate for our children and seniors, to increase public school funding, bring jobs and economical growth, and make our infrastructure stronger. Our area has been divided into new districts that include Lawrence, Winston, Franklin, and Morgan. I am determined to put my experience and service back to work for these communities. It is not about the political party, it is about the people of this district.
> Brief biography:
Ken Johnson: I was born in Tennessee and reared in Hampton, Ark., before moving to Alabama. I am a retired Church of Christ minister having moved to Moulton 26 years ago to work with a local congregation. I call Alabama home by choice because I love the people and the state. I have been married to my wife, Regina, for almost 20 years. We have four boys: Nick Reeves, 32, Kenny Johnson, 31, Chase Reeves, 29, and Brandon Johnson, 28; as well as two wonderful daughters-in-law and three beautiful grandchildren. I am a financial advisor with 12 years experience possessing a Series 6,63,7 and 65 license and I’m the owner of Trinity Advisor Group, Inc. Seventeen years ago, I started Global Sourcing Services, Inc. in Trinity, Alabama, which is a small industrial sales company that our family still owns and operates.
Jody Letson: I was born and raised in Lawrence County, and was one of 10 children born to parents Jimmy and Lenos Letson (deceased). I have been married to Diane Terry Letson for 45 years and we have one daughter, Kimberly Letson. I am a graduate of Courtland High School and attended Calhoun Community College. I retired from General Motors after 30 years of service, and I am also a lifelong farmer and a small business owner.
> Final thoughts:
Ken Johnson: Franklin County hasn’t experienced job growth like some other neighboring counties. I believe they deserve to have someone to work for them in Montgomery to make sure that jobs are a priority and they receive their fair share. I look forward to representing the good, hard working people of Franklin County in the Alabama legislature.
Jody Letson: N/A