Citizens urged to vote Nov. 8

With an election coming up less than a week from today, the time is now for citizens to be making their decisions about who will represent them and who will lead them – as President of the United States, of course, but also who will lead locally.

All four Franklin County Commission offices are up for election, as well as the office of superintendent of Franklin County Schools and one school board position.

When it comes to voting along party lines, Probate Judge Barry Moore said people should remember that even if they choose to vote “straight Republican” or “straight Democrat” by bubbling in the corresponding space on the ballot, they still have the ability to select candidates for particular races who are not running on those party tickets. This is perhaps most relevant in the case of voting for independent (the only local independent candidate is Greg Hamilton for superintendent; two candidates feature as independent for President of the United States) or write-in candidates.

In regards to write-in candidates, the Alabama Secretary of State’s office had this information to share:

“When the candidate you would like to vote for is not listed on the ballot, you may vote for that person by writing his or her name in the blank ‘write-in’ box on the ballot. Each contest on the ballot has a ‘write-in’ box. You must also shade in the circle next to that ‘write-in’ box to ensure your vote is tabulated properly. In the event that the voter selects the ‘straight-party’ option, they may still ‘write-in’ a candidate for any race they choose in the blank area designated for ‘write-ins.’ Each vote for a ‘write-in’ candidate will override the ‘straight-party’ vote only for the race with the ‘write-in’ area filled in.
“It is important to be familiar with the spelling of the name of the candidate for whom you intend to vote. In the event that the candidate’s name is slightly misspelled, it must be close enough that the voter’s intention can be reasonably determined upon review. The voter must use a full last name, but initials are acceptable for first and middle names.
“All votes for ‘write-in’ candidates will be counted in the event that the candidate is qualified to hold the office and not a fictional character. It is also required that the ‘write-in’ vote be hand-written.”

The amendments

Fourteen amendments to the state constitution are up for a vote Tuesday – the language of which some might find confusing. As a point of reference, Rep. Johnny Mack Morrow has shared his thoughts on these amendments as follows:

  • The first amendment is related to the Auburn University Board of Trustees. It changes when some of the board members’ terms expire, and adds two additional members to the board. On this amendment, I recommend either voting “yes” or not voting at all.
  • The second amendment is meant to protect funding for state parks by earmarking the funds currently going to the parks. In recent years, the Legislature has transferred some funds out of the parks’ budget to help shore up shortfalls in other parts of the budget. If you want to prevent the Legislature from dipping into the park funds, then you will want to vote “yes.” If you would rather risk cutting park funding to avoid other cuts or tax increases, then you would want to vote “no.”
  • Right now, our state constitution requires some local amendments to appear on statewide ballots. Amendment three addresses this problem by allowing local amendments to appear only on local ballots as long as all legislators agree that the amendment applies to only one county or one political subdivisions (such as a city) that lies within multiple counties. I recommend voting “yes” on this amendment because local voters should decide local issues.
  • Amendment four gives more autonomy to the local county commissions and how they manage programs like their personnel system and emergency assistance programs. I recommend voting “yes.”
  • Amendment five modernizes language in our state’s constitution relating to the separation of powers but makes no substantive changes. I plan to vote “yes.”
  • Amendment six replaces impeachment language in the state constitution with a new version that provides more details about the process, including how many votes are needed in the Senate to impeach an elected statewide officeholder. I support this amendment.
  • Amendment seven is a local amendment relating to the sheriff’s office in Etowah County and whose authority the office’s employees are under. I ask that you vote “yes” on this amendment.
  • Amendment eight makes “Right to Work,” which has been state law since the early 1950s, a part of the constitution. This amendment changes nothing in state law and does nothing to help business but makes limits on the rights of working people permanent. I plan to vote “no.”
  • Amendments nine and ten are local amendments affecting only Pickens and Calhoun counties. I ask that you do not vote on these amendments and let their fate be decided by the people in those counties.
  • Amendment 11 creates “Tax Increment Districts.” Vote “yes” if you believe the risk of local governments incurring millions of dollars in debt is worth it to try to recruit business; vote “no” if you think the risk is too high and that counties and cities may end up borrowing money then not successfully recruiting a businesses to pay back what gets borrowed.
  • Amendment 12 is a local amendment but could affect voters statewide. This amendment allows cities in Baldwin County to set up a toll road authority to build and operate more toll roads. Voting “yes” would help Baldwin finance its roadways, but could also mean you pay more when you go to the beach.
  • Amendment 13 repeals age restrictions on appointed or elected office holders except for judges. Vote “yes” if you want to remove the limits; vote “no” if you think the limits should stay.
  • Amendment 14 fixes a hole between state law and legislative rules concerning a common procedural vote. The constitution requires one number of votes for this procedural vote to pass, but the rules of the House of Representatives require a smaller number of votes. This became an issue because most legislators abstain from voting on local bills, and a court recently overturned one such bill because it did not get the constitutionally-required votes needed. This amendment retroactively fixes this hole by bringing the constitution in line with the House’s rules. I recommend voting “yes” only because, if this amendment fails, it could cause chaos and proration in cities and counties across the state, including taking away pay raises for law enforcement and stripping millions of dollars from local schools.

The Franklin County Commission approved resolutions in support of the third, fourth and 14th amendments at an October commission meeting.

Additionally, a local amendment will impact fire protection services in Franklin County. A number of residents protected by volunteer fire departments will be able to vote on a yearly mandatory fire service fee of $36 per residence in each district that opted to hold said vote. The Franklin County Fire and Rescue Squad Association “strongly urges everyone to vote yes in their districts, those districts that are seeking funding,” President Michael Moomaw said. “The need is great. Every time a fire department is called out to a fire to respond, we’re using equipment that is not tested, so every time we’re using it, there’s an uncertainty.” Moomaw said many of Franklin County’s small volunteer departments simply do not have the funding to test equipment like air masks and air packs. “We have no way of maintaining or keeping up proper equipment,” he added. This impacts the department’s ability to provide comprehensive fire protection service and also influences each district’s ISO rating, which figures into homeowners’ house insurance rates – that is to say, the more funding, the better the VFD, the lower the ISO, the lower the insurance costs.

Moomaw recommended citizens to call their local fire chief with any questions, comments or concerns, or to call him directly at 256-668-0459 with any questions.

Vina, Burnout, Gravel Hill, Blue Springs, East Franklin, Frankfurt, Hodges and Pleasant Site are eight of the districts participating. The vote will appear only on the ballot for people within each fire district’s coverage area. If a person’s ballot does not include the option to vote for or against this amendment, that means that voter does not reside in a district in which protection is provided by a VFD that opted into the vote.

The candidates

The following people are running for local offices in Franklin County:



for Franklin County Commission District 1


Family: Married 24 years to Cheri. They have one son, 18-year-old Slate, and one daughter, 15-year-old Julianna.

Qualifications: Self-employed businessman for 27 years in the construction business; dedicated to local schools, volunteering labor and equipment for school projects like the new playground/shade structure at Tharptown Elementary; familiar with all types of roadwork and infrastructure work; owner of commercial property leased to bring in businesses; comfortable negotiating business deals.

Priorities if elected: To continue the ATRIP program and finish up road projects that have been started; and bring more jobs into Franklin County.

People should vote for me because: “I feel I’m the most qualified for the job. I have been self-employed for more than 27 years and with my business experience, I also know how to work within a budget and still get things accomplished with quality materials and workmanship. Over the last four years, I, along with the other commissioners have worked to improve Franklin County. This office puts you in the position to help people in Franklin County by improving the roads and infrastructure and I want to continue to work hard to improve Franklin County.”


for Franklin County Commission District 1


Family: Married to Tracey, and they have two boys, Christopher, 6, and Jacob, 3, and one girl, Haven, 4. Parents Ray and Betty Fretwell. Sister Tina, and husband Jeff, Murray.

Qualifications: Love for the people of Franklin County – “The commission in the past has voted based on money or other situations and not actually looking for the people of Franklin County. I’m not your typical politician.” Lifelong resident of Franklin County with no plans to leave.

Priorities if elected: Money management between myself, the other commissioners and the probate judge, putting money where it’s truly needed; continued cooperation with the ambulance service to ensure the county is happy with the service provided; and provision of garbage cans and garbage pick-up service in Franklin County.

People should vote for me because: “I have a love for the people of Franklin County. I don’t want to just ramble on about politics. I’m going to do what’s right for the people.”



for Franklin County Commission District 2


Family: Married to Belinda, and they have two sons: Hunter and Jaxon.

Qualifications: Business owner; people-person; experience serving as an interim commissioner; open and honest; ability to work with people; youth and fresh ideas – “I think it’s time for the younger generations to start taking over.”

Priorities if elected: Actively and aggressively pursue all available grants for roads and other grants; help existing businesses and support and collaborate with the FCDA to recruit new and larger companies to Franklin County; ensure the sheriff’s department and highway department have the tools and resources they need to serve the county; work with county schools; and support county employees.

People should vote for me because: “I’m honest, hard-working and open-minded. I’m open to any ideas county residents have. And if I don’t know the answer, if someone calls me with a question, I will get them the answer to their problem or question in a timely manner.”

Final thoughts: “If I missed you along the way, I would like to ask for your vote and support Nov. 8.”



for Franklin County Commission District 2


Family: Married to Carol for 54 years, with two sons, two daughters-in-law, four grandchildren, three great-children.

Qualifications: Desire to preserve the history of Franklin County while preparing for future growth; lifelong resident of Franklin County; active in numerous local civic organizations, including the Cattlemen Association, Masonic Lodge and Shrine Club; a well-rounded perspective of how county government should operate; retired ironworker.

Priorities if elected: strengthening local infrastructure, increasing local revenue; decreasing unemployment; exhibiting honesty, hard work, leadership and a willingness to work with the citizens of the county and state and local officials.

People should vote for me because: “I would like to have the opportunity to work with the citizens of Franklin County and our local government to plan improvements for the present and future.”



for Franklin County Commission District 3


Family: Married to Brenda Stepp Massey of Red Bay nearly 49 years, with two children Crista Madden and Jeffrey Massey. Son-in-law, Jeff Madden. Daughter in law Tara Massey. Two grandchildren, Dakota Madden and Darby Madden. Two granddaughters, Madelyn Massey & Reagan Massey.

Qualifications: Experience, finishing eighth year serving on commission; numerous contacts with local and state officials; 36-year career at Monsanto/Solutia in Decatur (retired 2003), during which time I helped in different positions, from operator to department supervisor of 75 employees, where I helped implement a $32 million expansion project that came in on time and within budget.

Priorities if elected: The same as in my first two terms: being honest, hardworking and dependable; serve and hold family moral values; continue involvement with broadband task force and continue to pursue avenues to bring affordable broadband to rural Franklin County, especially for students, to compete with students in cities like Huntsville; continued road system improvements, in collaboration with municipalities, using the portion of the 1-cent sales tax to match ATRIP funds; maintain rural roads; and prompt legislators to give assistance to Franklin County.

People should vote for me because: “I’m a proven leader – proof that I’m honest, hardworking and dependable – and I support family morals.”

Final thoughts: “Franklin County is 38 miles long from east to west and 20 miles wide north to south. It is virtually impossible to see everyone in the county, but even if I wasn’t able to see you during the campaign cycle, I would humbly ask you to consider voting Rayburn Massey Nov. 8.”



for Franklin County Commission District 3


Family: Son of Ken and Rhonda Boyles and grandson of Joyce and Qualand Boyles, Pat Ready and Richard Sandlin.

Qualifications: College graduate with a degree in business marketing/management from UNA; 10 years of sales experience with the public; honest, approachable person who will work hard and be dedicated to make Franklin County a better county.

Priorities if elected: Recruitment of businesses and jobs so our youth can stay in Franklin County to raise and take care of their families; seeking additional grants and revenue to fix and maintain our roads, assist needs of schools and take care of our communities throughout the county; and better animal control/shelter.

People should vote for me because: “I am a young, energetic and approachable person that will listen to each person of the county and will communicate and ask the people what they want done. If the people want a change in the way things have been done, I am that person that can make a difference. I want to be transparent and publish in the paper where the county’s money is spent.”



for Franklin County Commission District 4


Family: Married to Elizabeth Purser Hester; son Adam Hester, who is married to Tina, and three grandsons: Dylan, Noah and Ty.

Qualifications: Working in the service department of Tiffin Motorhomes for 30 years and working in other public-facing jobs, dealing with customers; adept at listening to people’s problems and solving them; communication skills; a focus on staying in contact with the people of the county – “If something doesn’t get resolved in a week, I can call and try to get an update and then call back to the person and let them know what’s going on;” and willingness to be hands-on and help with situations personally to save county time and money and handle requests in a timely manner.

Priorities if elected: Tackle the problems people have brought up during campaign season; focus on and address problems called in by county residents; keep people informed and stay in communication with constituents; be proactive in checking for problems and seeking out solutions in advance; be visible in district and be accessible to the people; “make sure the people are taken care of in our district;” and figure out ways to save money for the county.

People should vote for me because: “I’m a hard worker. I’ve got a full-time job, and I don’t miss work. I care about the job I do … and I care about the people in our district and in our county. I know we have problems, but instead of complaining about it, let’s see if we can find ways to help people in our county and encourage one another. We all have to work together. I’m not afraid of work.”

Final thoughts: “I think the biggest thing is: since I’ve been out politicking and talking to people, their biggest concern is commissioners not staying in touch with the people and that we don’t have any money … That’s an ongoing problem, but it sort of gets old hearing it. I just want to let people know what’s going on. Whoever gets elected needs to focus on working with the people of their community to try to make their community a better place to live.”



for Franklin County Commission District 4


Family: Married to Brenda Puckett Lewey of Red Bay, and they have two children: Kennedy, married to Stephen Cantrell (sons Josiah and Piper) and Brandon Lewey, married Christy (sons Aaron, Andrew and Aidan).

Qualifications: 12 years of experience serving on the Franklin County Commission.

Priorities if elected: Taking care of the people of Franklin County and the fourth district; helping out the school system however possible; working well with the other commissioners; bringing more and better paying job to Franklin County; seeking out revenue sources for roadwork and to help the volunteer fire departments.

People should vote for me because: “I’m the man for the job. I’ve dealt with people all my life, and I feel like I’m qualified to handle the job.”

Final thoughts: “I just want to thank the people of Franklin County and tell them to get out and vote because every vote counts.”



for Franklin County Superintendent of Education


Family: Married to Amy, a teacher. They have two children: Hayden, 14, THS, and Ragan, 8, PCHS.

Qualifications: Passion for education and for students and desire to see the school system improve; ]a background in marketing, communications and entrepreneurship that gives foundation for managing budgets, working with the public and setting big goals; experience as an intern with the U.S. Senate and working with the state senate judiciary committee under Sen. Rodger Bedford, which “gives me a better insight as to how to work with our local lawmakers to secure funding for our schools”; and a decade of experience in education working with career tech programs and distance learning and teaching government, economics and history.

Priorities if elected: Set big goals for our school system and put an accountability process in place to achieve goals; take politics out of hiring and hire the most qualified people; focus on early childhood education; focus in on changing the attitude of the leadership of our school system to be more actively engaged with students, teachers, employees and the community; and actively engage with business and industry to prepare students for the workforce.

People should vote for me because: “I am committed to improving our school system to make it one of the best systems in the state of Alabama, and I am committed to our students.”


for Franklin County Superintendent of Education


Family: Married to Jean, and they have three children: Alicia Cooper, Allison Saint and Brett Borden. Six grandchildren: Eli and Borden Saint, Mason Swinney, MaryKathryn and Samuel Swinney and Saylor Cooper.

Qualifications: Leadership skills and 40 years of a broad range of experience in education, including many years of administrative experience: experience as an assistant principal, principal (six years), assistant superintendent (eight years), board member (four years), teacher and coach.

Priorities if elected: Expand curriculum – “We need to try to add more advanced courses and more dual enrollment courses”; expand career tech programs; focus on school safety and try to put SRO officers in place at every school; provide all necessary tools that teachers and students need to provide the very best education possible; give all children an opportunity to succeed; upgrade facilities as much as possible; and support extracurricular programs and make them the best they can possibly be.

People should vote for me because: “I have educational experience, a broad range of experience – there’s not any area I haven’t worked in. I have a genuine care for the kids, and I want things to be the best they can for them. A vote for Donald Borden is a vote for experience, for conservative leadership and for strong family values and Franklin County values, and it’s a vote for the students of Franklin County.”

Final thoughts: “I thank the people of Franklin County for their support. Even if I haven’t seen everyone, I ask for everyone’s vote.”



for Franklin County Superintendent of Education


Family: Married to Jessica Thrasher Hamilton, and they have four children: Taylor, Carolyna, Dakota and Ty.

Qualifications: Seventeen years’ experience as an administrator, teacher and head coach – “I’ve handled everything, from dealing with planning and scheduling, school finances, teacher evaluation system Educate Alabama, professional development, safety plans, discipline and parental involvement.”

Priorities if elected: “My first act as superintendent, if elected, would be to change the hiring process such that the most qualified applicant will be hired;” get a handle on system finances; school safety; advanced technology; update facilities; expand career tech; offer more fine art classes; maintain separate bathroom facilities; and maintain drug testing for extracurricular involvement.

People should vote for me because: “I care about the kids. I care about the success they have in the future and giving them the background they need to get started on their career paths, whether that be through college or the workforce.”

Final thoughts: “I would just like to humbly ask for the people to vote for me for Superintendent of Education. My passion for student success is tremendous. I will build on the things that have been done right and clean up the things that have been done wrong. I will make sure the administrators and teachers have the tools they need to be successful, and I will eliminate the politics in the school system.”



for Franklin County Board of Education District 2


Family: Married to Martha, and he has two children: son Daniel, 30, (two children, Kylee, 11, and Cohl, 9) and son Riley, 28, married to Alis, (one child, Harper, 2).

Qualifications: 6 years of experience, as he runs for second term; extensive training in understanding what needs to be done as a board member; connection with school, both faculty and parents. “I understand what’s going on in the community and school and what’s needed to try and make it better.”

Priorities if elected: make sure we have everything we need in our schools, particularly more textbooks and up-to-date technology; make sure our teachers are the best-qualified and have the things they need to be effective teachers; and continue to grow as a school.

People should vote for me because: “I have experience, and I feel like I’ve done everything they asked me to do in my first term. I’d love to have a chance to continue that and make the school better than it is now.”

Final thoughts: “We’re starting to grow some, and we’re really trying to go back to where we used to be and get the school strong again. I think it’s headed in the right direction.” 



for Franklin County Board of Education District 2


Family: Married to Tiffany, and they have three children: Austen, 13, Natalie, 8, and Millie, 5.

Qualifications: Graduated from Phil Campbell High in 2000 and has two children currently in the Franklin County school system at Phil Campbell and EFJHS; bigger interest in the schools than opponent; self-employed for 13 years as owner of trucking business, which brings insight into transportation needs within FCS bus department; belief in the system, in the students and the teachers; desire for students and teachers to have resources and tools needed to succeed; desire to provide best and safest learning environment.

Priorities if elected: Safety, first – “Especially at the (Phil Campbell) elementary school, there have been concerns expressed about the layout”; support all extracurricular activities, including sports, rocket team and scholars bowl, and strive to make sure all programs are treated equally; and protect the interest in public education – “It’s our future, and it’s important.”

People should vote for me because: “I will stand up for our students and our teachers to make sure they have everything they need to achieve the goals set by teachers and parents. I want all students and parents to know a vote for me will be a vote for someone who backs them, believes in them and will represent them through their school years. My promise is that I will always put our children first in every decision, and I will strive to make sure our students and teachers have the safest learning environment possible. A vote for Baker is a vote for pride and dedication for our children’s future.”

Final thoughts: “Even if I somehow missed speaking with you on the campaign trail, I ask for your vote Nov. 8.”


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Franklin County

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Franklin County

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Franklin County

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Presenting: Miss Phil Campbell

Franklin County

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Franklin County

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East Franklin

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Franklin County

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