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House District 74 voters go to the polls today

Brandon Moseley

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On Tuesday, voters go to the polls to select their state Representative in the House District 74 special election. The District is entirely in Montgomery County.

The Republican nominee is former Montgomery School Board President Charlotte Meadows. The Democratic nominee is former Montgomery NAACP President Rayford Mack (D).

Meadows won the Republican primary runoff election over U.S. Army Reserve Colonel and prominent bankruptcy attorney Michael Fritz.

Both candidates spoke at the ARSEA/APEAL sponsored candidates forum in late summer.

“Montgomery is a great place to live and retire, but I am scared for Montgomery’s future,” Mack said. “We need things to change for future generations to have a great future.”

“If we want our community to grow, we need leaders that will work for the community and not the party or any special interest groups,” Mack said.

Mack outlined an ambitious agenda including expanding the number of professionals who can become school superintendents to people with MBAs and other advanced degrees, establishing apprenticeship programs, high-speed rail, and the creation of a healthcare lottery.

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Mack said that a lottery with all of the proceeds dedicated to paying for Medicaid, the Department of Public Health, and Mental Health would free up over $900 million from the state’s general fund budget.

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Meadows said that she got involved in local education after managing her husband’s medical practice office and seeing all of the resumes they received from receptionist candidates that could not spell.

“We have really got to start encouraging our young people to come back to Montgomery, but we have to provide opportunities for them,” Meadows said.

Meadows is a former Montgomery School Board President, has worked with Students First where she successfully lobbied the legislature for expanding school choice in Alabama, by passing charter schools legislation. She is currently working with the LEAD Academy, which will give Montgomery parents more choices for their children’s education.

“All of my adult life and most of my childhood was right here in House District 74,” Meadows said.

The state retirees asked about cost of living adjustments for state retirees.

“First you must protect and enhance our current benefit,” Mack said. “Unfunded COLAs would mean that we would have an unfunded liability. To do that we must find new revenue.”

Mack said that he wanted to raise revenue by bringing the film industry to Alabama and by passing his healthcare only lottery, which would free up $908 million in the state budget to do other things.

Meadows said the first we have to “Make sure that the state budget is solvent and sustainable. We have got to make sure that the retirement benefits that you were promised.”

Meadows said that just getting a bonus of $600 at the most by the time you pay taxes on it that is just a couple of meals out. It is not enough for a vacation.

“There are 2,200 state employees in House District 74,” Meadows said. “I do not want to raise taxes, but we need to provide for our employees and our retirees.”

Meadows said that while she does not like a gas tax, the legislature took action so our roads should start improving. Now we have got to address the prison situation and that will be a huge outlay of money.

“Nobody wants to see us treat state prisoners inhumanely,” Meadows said. “The prisons also need to also be a safe place for people to work. Nobody should go to work afraid if they are going to get killed today.”

“I will be a responsive and transparent representative, and I am excited about the opportunity to serve the people of District 74,” Meadows said on her Facebook page. “I hope to earn your support through this campaign, and I hope you’ll check back on our Facebook page for more information and volunteer opportunities.”

Charlotte Meadows has been an advocate for education reform for the past 15 years. Meadows has a degree in accounting from Auburn University and a master’s degree in business from University of South Alabama. She served on the Montgomery school board and has been the outreach director for StudentsFirst, a national education reform non-profit. Meadows is co-owner of her husband’s medical practice where she has been the business manager. They have three children.

Meadows is an outspoken proponent of school choice in Alabama and is co-founder of the new LEAD Academy charter school that opened in Montgomery on Au
g. 15.

Rayford Mack is a native of Mobile, Alabama. He has been married to Dianne Mack since 1993. He attended Toulminville High School in Mobile where he was captain of the varsity football team his junior and senior year.

Mack attended Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas on a football scholarship. His football career ended after just one season due to a back injury. Mack worked in retail sales in the clothing industry in Houston. He completed his degree at the University of South Alabama earning a bachelor’s degree in Sociology. At the University of South Alabama, he was president of the University of South Alabama Sociological Association and was a member of the Black Student Union Association. He served in the United State Navy from 1978 to 1981 aboard the USS Talbot FFG-4 as radioman and was stationed in Mayport, Florida. Following his discharge, Mack was accepted him into the graduate studies program in Instructional Design at the University of South Alabama.

Mack went to work for the State of Alabama Department of Human Resource in 1987 and retired on May 1, 2016. While employed with the Department of Human Resources he worked as a Social Worker in the eligibility division of Aid to Dependent Children. He transferred to the Elmore County Department of Human Resource in 1990 and worked in the ADC and Child Support Division. The State Department of Human Resource was creating a new unit in 1990 and he was transferred to the IV-E Unit in Division of Family and Children Services. In 1992 he became an auditor/investigator with the Office of Quality Control in the Office of Program Integrity. He returned to the IV-E Unit as a program specialist in 2009 and remained until his retirement in May 2016.

Mack has operated Raymac’s Enterprises, a commercial cleaning service in the Montgomery area since 1995. Since 2011 he has served as the pastor of Mt. Moriah AME Zion Church in Montgomery, Alabama since 2011.

Voters need to remember to bring a valid photo ID with them to the polls.

Polls will open at 7:00 a.m. and close at 7;00 p.m.

The HD74 legislative seat became vacant when State Rep. Dimitri Polizos (R) passed away from a sudden heart attack in March.

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