By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
If you live in House District 5, and are voting Republican, election time is once again upon you.
Republican voters go to the polls on September 9 to pick their party’s candidate to represent the Alabama House of Representatives District in Limestone County.
Five Republicans are contending for the seat made vacant by the death of Representative Dan Williams (R-Athens).
Mike Criscillis is a retired US Army Command Sergeant Major living in Athens.
Criscillis told Athens Now’s Ali Elizabeth Turner “Everybody across the SE is struggling—farmers, kids, senior citizens who work at McDonald’s, etc, and I am willing to work for the people to find answers. I am a problem solver.” Criscillis, 65, attended the University of Tennessee and has coached football. He states that he is for balancing the budget without raising taxes and supports education.
During Mike’s career in the Army, he served with the Old Guard, as a part of its Honor Guard, and was tasked with guarding the Tomb of the Unknown in Arlington Cemetery.
Ronnie G. Coffman of Elkmont said in a statement on Facebook, “I am the only candidate running for Alabama House District 5 that campaigned against the purposed 12 Mil Property Tax increase in Athens, Alabama. I opposed it because more money is being spent in Athens per child than any of the surrounding school systems. If you opposed the tax increase, you will like me in Montgomery, because I will oppose all efforts to raise our state taxes. We don’t have a funding problem, we have a spending problem.”
Coffman continued, “I will work with our local and county officials to bring good paying jobs to Athens and Limestone County, not minimum wage jobs. Athens and Limestone County do a great job educating our children, smarter spending and a common sense approach is being demanded by the tax payer. I will work to repeal Common Core in Alabama Schools. I will work with the local legislative delegation to make sure that we receive our fair share of road improvement money. I will always make myself available to the citizens to hear their ideas of how we can make our area second to none.”
Coffman is a registered land surveyor and is a former Chairman of the Limestone County Republican Party.
Danny F. Crawford of Athens said on Facebook, “As the people’s representative, I will oppose tax increases. We must reform the budgeting process and efficiently use the funds voters already send to Montgomery before asking them to pay more. Taxes stifle businesses, depress wages, discourage job creation and hurt families.”
Crawford wrote, “The divisiveness in Montgomery is being fueled by those who would use the General Fund shortfall to further their personal agendas. It’s time to stop intimidating voters with scare tactics and threats in an effort to raise taxes or legalize gambling. In order to adequately fund State government, we must reform the budgeting process.”
Crawford is a former Limestone County executive director of the Farm Service Agency (FSA), he was appointed State Director by President George W. Bush in 2001 and currently works as an independent crop insurance contractor. He is a former member of the Athens City Council.
Jerry W. Hill of Athens is also a former Athens City Council member who has run unsuccessfully for the state house in the past. Most recently he challenged incumbent Congressman Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) in the 2014 GOP Primary.
Hill is a graduate of Campbell College and the University of Alabama. Hill is retired from the US Army. He was a Green Beret during the Vietnam War.
On the budget crisis which just ended, Hill told the News Courier, “A tax increase is not necessary to have level funding in our General Fund Budget for fiscal year 2016. We have more than adequate funds in the reserve account to cover the $200 million shortfall. We should maintain a reserve account to cover out-year shortfalls in our revenue account. The reserve account can be replenished with funds received from the BP oil settlement, revenue growth and continued downsizing through attrition during the year. Legalized gambling, statewide, would not be in the best interest of our citizens and would create many more problems that would not be justified by any amount of revenue received. I would be in favor of allowing the people to vote on a state lottery if we developed adequate controls and take into consideration lessons learned from other states that have lotteries.”
Chris Seibert of Athens wrote on his website: “I want Limestone County to continue moving forward and to have the representation it deserves. I believe in serving the people and making sure Limestone County continues to receive jobs, economic development and that we receive our fair share from Montgomery. Limestone County is a great place for families to call home and I want to make sure that we have the resources to build new roads and infrastructure, support our law enforcements, and preserve our conservative values. Our state is at a crossroads and I feel that my business experience and service to my country has prepared me for this opportunity. Now more than ever it is time to cut the wasteful spending and do more with less.”
Seibert says that he is opposed to new taxes, will protect our values, and will fight the liberal special interests in Montgomery.
Seibert is a present member of the Athens City Council, a former US Air Force Captain, a University of Alabama graduate, and a former member of UA football team. He is presently employed as a Medical sales director.
The Special Primary Election for House District 5 will be held on September 29, 2015. If none of the candidates reach 50 percent of the vote plus one there will be a Special Primary Runoff scheduled for December 8, 2015. If one candidate wins the Special Primary outright, then the Special General Election will be held that day. If there is a Republican runoff on December 8 then the Special General Election will be on February 16. The eventual Republican nominee will face Democrat Henry White in the Special General Election. White is running unopposed in the Democratic Primary.