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Willie Casey Challenging Democratic Dominance in House District 53

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Alabama is a Red State where Republicans have dominated recent elections.  In the elections of 2010 and 2012 every Democrat on a Statewide ballot was defeated and the Alabama Democratic Party has struggled recently to even find Democrats who will run on a Statewide ballot.  Only one Democrat (Don Seigelman) has won a gubernatorial election in Alabama since George C Wallace retired.  No National Democrat has carried the State since Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter in 1976.

Despite the Party’s dominance in more and more Alabama counties, the Alabama Republican Party has not made deep in-roads into Alabama’s Black community.  The Republican Party holds a supermajority in both Houses of the Alabama legislature, but every Republican seat is held by a White person from a majority White district.  Despite the well documented decline of the Alabama Democratic Party, all of Alabama’s majority Black districts are still represented by a Democrat.  Willie (W.A.) Casey of Birmingham is trying to change that. On Tuesday March 25, Casey is asking House District 53 voters to come out to the polls and vote for him, a Black Republican.

Casey was recently awarded Rising Republican Star status for his work to grow the party in Birmingham.  Casey faces stiff competition from Anthony “Alann” Johnson (D) in the Alabama House District 53 seat made vacant by the death of longtime incumbent Demetrious Newton (D).

Casey is a Korean War Veteran and served four years of active duty in the United States Army. The Drill Instructor and sergeant was also the inter-service Heavyweight Boxing Champion. After his military service, Casey attended Central State University in Ohio, where he was elected Outstanding Marketing Student his senior year. After graduation, Casey moved to Birmingham where he became the first African-American manager at J.C. Penney’s.

Casey currently works as a real estate broker and is a deacon at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. Casey has been a small-business owner for many years and is heavily involved in his local community. Casey is very active at his church and in his community.  He is the Committee Chairman for the Highway 280 Distribution Facility, the Deputy Grand Chancellor of Alabama Knights of Pythias, a trustee for the Birmingham Business Alliance, a member of the Business Council of Alabama and a member of the Jefferson County Citizen’s Coalition, Inc.

Willie Casey spoke to a Rainy Day Patriots Candidate Forum event covered by the Alabama Political Reporter in February.

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Casey said that he has been in the real estate business since 1984 and his father long before then.  Casey said that now even the lower middle class are leaving many Birmingham neighborhoods.  “You can’t run a city on poor folks,” Casey said.

Casey said that Birmingham needs to teach entrepreneurship and build more industrial parks to create more well paying jobs.

Sixth District Congressional Candidate Gary Palmer (R) agreed.  Palmer said there are 16,000 tax liens in Birmingham.  Whole families have left and took their kids.

Casey said that Birmingham and Jefferson County has some of the highest consumer taxes in the state and that that is real regressive.  The state has some of the lowest property taxes in the nation.  You could double it and it would still be low.  40% of the land in Jefferson County is owned by corporations.   Casey suggesting cutting sales taxes and replacing that revenue with higher property taxes and using the lower sale tax rates to lure consumers from surrounding cities and counties for a retail boom.  Casey said, “The tax is out of wack.”

Casey said that District 53 voters should vote for the issues not for the party and he feels that he is the stronger candidate on the issues.

Casey admitted that it is hard for him to raise money.  “Democrats don’t trust me.  I hope that you can accept me.”

Casey said that he would look forward to “rolling up [his] sleeves and getting things done in Montgomery.” Casey says that Birmingham “needs someone with a small business mindset who has the know-how and determination to restore Birmingham and improve the lives and livelihood of its citizens.”

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Casey told the Alabama Republican Party that if elected, Casey would like to save Cooper Green Mercy Hospital, bring resolution to Jefferson County’s sewer debt crisis, empower Birmingham citizens and grow Birmingham’s economy, be a voice to veterans and keep Birmingham safe.

Casey said, “Saving Cooper Green is not a racial thing.”

Sixth District Congressional Candidate Sen. Scott Beason (R) said of Casey, ‘”They kicked him out of his Church for supporting me.”

Casey said that Scott (Beason) wanted to talk about education at an event.  “John Rogers and Mary Moore closed the doors,” and wouldn’t let them in.

The Alabama Republican Party said in a written statement that it, “Thanks Willie Casey for stepping forward and entering the race in House District 53. We look forward to supporting our conservative candidate every step of the way.”

Polls open on Tuesday at 7:00 a.m. and close at 7:00 p.m.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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