By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Thursday, April 17 Alabama State Representative John Merrill (R) from Tuscaloosa who is a candidate for Alabama Secretary of State spoke to the St. Clair Republican Party in Pell City.
Rep. Merrill said that it was important that Alabama have credible elections. Merrill said that currently businesses have to pay an expedited fee in order to have their business filings back in a reasonable amount of time. If elected as Secretary of State Merrill promised to get all filings done in just a few days (like other states currently do) instead of the six to nine months that they can take in Alabama now.
Merrill said that it was very important that the 56,000 Alabamians who are serving this nation on deployments across the world be allowed to vote in our elections and that he would do everything possible to make sure that their votes are counted if he is elected Alabama Secretary of State. As a member of the legislature he tried to get legislation passed and implemented to allow soldiers deployed overseas to vote electronically.
Rep. Merrill said that this is his fourth time to visit St. Clair County and that during the 15 months he has been campaigning for Secretary of State he has driven 144,311 miles on his automobile and visited all 67 counties in the state of Alabama.
Merrill said, “Some people just talk about accountability and some people live it.”
Rep. Merrill says that he has a 100% voting record from Alabama Citizens for Life.
Merrill said that he has been endorsed by the Business Council of Alabama, ALFA, and the Alabama Retail Association.
State Representative Jim McClendon (R) from Springville said that he and Merrill have served together in the House and that he did not have to think twice to support Merrill for Secretary of State and that he has supported Merrill every step of the way.
St. Clair County Judge Phil Seay (R) also stood up and said, “John will make an excellent Secretary of State.”
John Merrill was born in Alabama in Randolph County. He grew up in Heflin and graduated from Cleburne County High School. Rep. Merrill is a graduate of the University of Alabama, where he served as President of the Student Government Association (SGA) in 1986-1987.
Merrill interned as a college student under both Congressman Bill Nichols (1984) and U.S. Senator Howell Heflin (D) (1984).
Upon graduation, Merrill worked as a national advertising account executive for Randall Publishing. In 1990 Merrill was hired as the Assistant Director for the Tuscaloosa County Industrial Development Authority and was involved with the recruitment of Mercedes Benz to the area. Merrill worked as Director of Business Development for the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama from 1993 to 1994. From 1994 to 2010, Merrill worked as the Director of Community Relations and Community Education for the Tuscaloosa County Board of Education. In 2011, Merrill went to work for the First Federal Bank in Tuscaloosa as a business development officer.
Merrill has been very active in his community over the years serving with a variety of groups including: the Boys and Girls Club, the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama, the Boy Scouts, Leadership Tuscaloosa, Friends of the Alabama Archives Board of Directors, Youth for Christ, Druid Civitan Club, Big Brothers, Big Sisters, West Alabama Literacy Council, Hillcrest H.S. Athletic Boosters, United Way of West Alabama, Alabama Constables Association, Alabama YMCA, American Red Cross, United Cerebral Palsy of West Alabama, the Tuscaloosa City School’s Vocational Advisory Council, Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, Children First, etc. Merrill is a former Chairman of the Tuscaloosa County Republican Executive Committee.
Merrill is also the past president of both the Alabama School Communicator’s Association and the Alabama Community Education Association. Merrill was the Southeastern Regional Vice President for the National School Public Relations Association and was appointed Chairman of the Board for the Department of Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention – Children’s Trust Fund by then Governor Bob Riley (R). Merrill is a deacon at Calvary Baptist Church.
John Merrill was elected as a Republican to the Alabama State Legislature in the historic 2010 election which swept away 135+ years of control of the Alabama legislature by the Alabama Democratic Party. Representative Merrill is the Secretary/Treasurer of the Alabama House Republican Caucus.
Merrill is married to Cindy Benford from Phil Campbell. She is the principal of Westwood Elementary School in Coker. They have two children, Brooks (24) and Allie Grace (21).
Rep. Merrill faces Montgomery County Probate Judge Reese McKinney and Crenshaw County Probate Judge Jim Perdue in the June 3rd Republican Primary.
The St. Clair County Republican Party meets typically on a Thursday six to ten times a year. Prominent Pell City attorney Lance Bell is the Chairman of the County Party.