By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Today, September 29, Republican voters in Alabama House District 5 in Limestone County go to the polls to elect the Republican candidate to run in the special election for District 5. HD5 has been since state Representative Dan Williams (R from Athens) died. Democrats have a candidate already since only one, Henry White, qualified.
Five Republicans however are campaigning for votes in what most consultants are expecting to be a low turnout race.
The polls will open on Tuesday at 7:00 a.m. and will close by 7:00 p.m. We are all hoping that a new system being tested to electronically transmit the results to the Office of the Secretary of State and streamed to the website will get the information much faster than in previous races. The plan is for the Limestone County probate office to continually update numbers throughout the evening.
Five Republicans are contending for the seat.
Mike Criscillis is a retired US Army Command Sergeant Major living in Athens. Criscillis said to vote for him because he is a lifetime Republican, an experienced government auditor, will be a full time state representative, has refused to take contributions from political action committees and he campaigned against the recent Athens property tax proposal that was shot down by the voters.
Ronnie G. Coffman of Elkmont wrote, “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. 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 promises that if elected that he will focus on: protecting our conservative values, working on economic development to create new jobs, improving our children’s education, and working toward tax reform – not tax increases. Crawford says that it’s time to stop intimidating voters with scare tactics and threats in an effort to raise taxes or legalize gambling. Crawford is a former Limestone County and state executive director of the Farm Service Agency (FSA). He is a former member of the Athens City Council.
Jerry W. Hill of Athens is a former Athens City Council member, a retired soldier, a past candidate for Congress and a Green Beret during the Vietnam War. Hill told the News Courier that, “Limestone County has been the beneficiary of several large-scale job projects in the past three years, including Carpenter Technology and Polaris. A tax increment finance district, or TIF, being established by the city of Huntsville could help the county land even more industrial projects in the future. As a legislator, what will you do to ensure industries that receive abatements and financial incentives are living up to their end of the bargain in terms of job creation.” Hill said that tax increases were not necessary to have level funding in our general fund budget for fiscal year 2016 and that we have more than adequate funds in the reserve account to cover the $200 million shortfall. Hill believe that legalized gambling, statewide, would not be in the best interest of our citizens; but would be in favor of allowing the people to vote on a State lottery if there were adequate controls in place.
Chris Seibert is a member of the Athens City Council, a former Tide football player, a former US Air Force Captain and works as a medical sales director. Chris Seibert wrote, “I’ve spent a lot of time pondering what I should write in my last attempt to convince or encourage people to go out and choose me to fulfill the remainder of Rep Dan Williams term for Alabama State House District 5. I thought about all the canned policy bullet points that everyone has heard from the candidates over the last few months, the campaign rhetoric that everyone certainly grows tired of hearing. Policy stances are most certainly important, people should know where each of us stand on all of the major policy decisions that we will be faced with as a Legislator. Had you asked me a month ago how I felt this campaign would unfold, I wouldn’t have possibly envisioned what we’ve seen over the past few weeks. The fake Facebook site dedicated to a continuous smear of who I am, the misleading mail outs, the incessant robo-calls posing as me to intentionally incite voters to vote against me. I had to ask myself, Is this truly what we want the political process to look like? I’m a USAF veteran. I’ve had a successful career in the corporate world. I’ve got a wonderful family. My wife has a great business. We’re heavily involved in our children’s schools, our church, their little league sports. Running for office is challenging. It’s tough on your family and takes an exorbitant amount of time. You really need to have a calling to do it; one has to want to give back to their community. I’ve spent most of my life in Limestone County and Athens. I chose to move back here to be a part of this community and to raise my children here, because of the quality of life and of the quality of people who live here.”
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.
Polls open at 7:00 am on Tuesday and close at 7:00 pm that evening.