Ron Bolton, a former Northport police captain, was elected the new state representative of District 61 this November on his first bid for state-level office.
District 61, which covers the northwestern portions of Tuscaloosa County and the northern half of Pickens County, has been the seat of outgoing state Rep. Rodney Sullivan, R-Northport, since the beginning of his first, and so far only term in 2018. Sullivan announced earlier this year that he would not seek a second term.
Bolton, who has worked in governmental affairs and in various campaigns after his retirement from law enforcement, said in an interview with APR that he is close friends with the outgoing Sullivan.
“I have been working with him for a number of years on different issues here, and I seem to have my head wrapped around what the community needs,” Bolton said. “I was just in a perfect position to enter the race to try to carry forward with the progress that we have made.”
Kimberly Madison, a former radio host on WTXT, was the second candidate for the Republican nomination during the primary in May, with Bolton ultimately securing nearly 59 percent of the total vote. With no Democratic nominee come November, Bolton eventually ran against Damon Pruet, the Libertarian candidate, in a lopsided sweep of the district.
When asked about his legislative priorities for the upcoming term, Bolton named rural healthcare as a key area for his new constituents.
“One thing we’re doing on the west side of the district is we need to get our hospitals standing back up,” Bolton said. “That’s one thing that’s been close to my heart.”
Bolton hopes to receive a committee assignment to tackle another key issue for members of his district: Broadband connectivity.
“I hope to get appointed to a committee where I can then work with the group that is really driving the boat on broadband,” Bolton said, referring to the Alabama Rural Broadband Oversight Committee and State Rep. Randall Shedd, R-Cullman, chairman of the state House Committee on Urban and Rural Development.
Providing stable careers for high school graduates to sustain themselves financially and re-educating workers who wish to enter into another field are other items Bolton wishes to address as District 61’s representative.
“I believe in building relationships, not pigeonholing myself in one particular place,” Bolton said. “I feel like I work good across lines, both party and professional lines, to get things accomplished.”
The regular session of the Alabama Legislature is expected to begin in early March of next year.