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Doug Jones, equal pay activist Lilly Ledbetter endorse Alli Summerford


U.S. Sen. Doug Jones, D-Alabama, endorsed state House candidate Alli Summerford (D) in a new video released a week ahead of the election.

In the video, Senator Jones notes that Summerford would represent his home district, District 48: “That’s my district, so it’s important to me to have the right representative in there,” said Senator Jones. “For too long, Alabama has stayed at the bottom of the heap on so, so many things that are important to you and your family.”

“I am honored to receive Senator Jones’s endorsement,” said Summerford. “It was Senator Jones’s call for a return of common sense and decency to our politics that inspired me to run for office. I believe that his call is more important now than ever, and I believe the people of District 48 will answer that call on November 6.”

Thursday, Summerford received the endorsement of equal pay activist Lilly Ledbetter. Summerford is running to represent District 48 in the Alabama House of Representatives.

Ledbetter is a former Goodyear employee who claims that she was paid less than her male peers, because she was a woman. Ledbetter sued claiming discrimination. Goodyear ultimately won the case that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, though federal legislation was passed due to Ledbetter’s efforts.

Ledbetter endorsed Summerford in a letter/

“The letter recounts Ledbetter’s fight to receive equal pay for equal work at a Goodyear plant in Gadsden. That fight, though lost in the U.S. Supreme Court, ultimately resulted in the federal Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which became law in 2009,” the Summerford campaign wrote.

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“I know what it is like to fight long battles against entrenched opposition in the hopes of building a better, fairer world,” notes Ledbetter. “On November 6, we have the opportunity to take another huge step to improve the lives of women and men throughout Alabama and throughout the United States.”

In Ledbetter’s letter, she notes that Alabama is one of only two states that does not have an equal pay law.

“I believe that women like Alli Summerford, who is running for State Representative in Alabama House District 48, will bring energetic, commonsense leadership to our government,” said Ledbetter.

District 48 includes portions of southeast Jefferson and northwest Shelby County and includes the communities of Vestavia Hills, Liberty Park, Cahaba Heights, Brook Highland, and Mountain Brook.

Summerford is the first Democratic candidate for District 48 in well over a decade. She has focused her campaign on the issues of education and healthcare.

“I want to see a better Alabama, and that looks like education that works for our kids, healthcare that serves all of our citizens” said Summerford in one of her videos.

Summerford is the founder and owner of Dandelion Marketing, which develops web sites and internet marketing programs for small to mid-sized businesses and organizations.

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Summerford has served on a number of community boards. She is a member of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. She has a bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. She was a commercial real estate broker in Memphis.

While in southern Illinois, she served on the board of The Women’s Center (the local women’s shelter) where she negotiated a new location in Carbondale. In Alabama, she supported the Emmet O’Neal Library Children’s Department as a member of the Women’s Committee of 100 and represented Alabama on an International Rotary exchange trip to France (she speaks French). Summerford is a founding member of the Mountain Brook Track Club boosters. Her son is a Junior at Mountain Brook High School.

Summerford is challenging incumbent Jim Carns, R-Vestavia Hills. Carns is the former Co-Chair of Donald Trump’s Alabama campaign and is a former Jefferson County Commissioner. He is Chairman of the Jefferson County Legislation Committee in the Alabama House of Representatives.

Democrats are targeting seats held by Republican incumbents in suburban Birmingham. The Jefferson County Democratic Party hopes to seize control of the Jefferson County legislative delegation and are also targeting incumbents Sheriff Mike Hale, Commissioner Joe Knight, and District Attorney Mike Anderton as well as the last Republican judges.

The election is Tuesday, November 6.

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

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