As Travis Hendrix has picked up notable endorsements from House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels, D-Huntsville; Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin and the Business Council of Alabama, a competing candidate for House District 55 has seen nothing but the backing of special interests.
“People are trying to put somebody in Montgomery they can control,” House District 55 candidate Ves Marable said. “That will not be me; I won’t take any special interest money.”
It’s true thus far that Marable not taken any special interest money, collecting about $6,000 since July solely from individual contributors. Hendrix has received some money from various political action committees and businesses, receiving thousands from PACs in both cash-contributions and in-kind services.
Marable also touted the backing he has received from five key organizations: the Alabama Democratic Conference, Jefferson County Democratic Conference, Progressive Democratic Council, United Mine Workers of America and Concerned Citizens of Bessemer.
“These are major political organizations that always try to put the very best candidate in these offices,” Marable said.
Marable has been active in the political arena and currently serves as the vice chairman of the Jefferson County Democratic Conference. He has a double major from Alabama State University in political science and psychology, with a minor in music. He received his juris doctorate at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Outside of politics, Marable is a musician.
He has previously held roles in the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles, Alabama Department of Mental Health and the Administrative Office of Courts as well as a city councilperson for Fairfield from 2008-2012. He is the cousin of Lonnie Bunch, the 14th secretary of the Smithsonian.
“I’ve been involved in politics a long time,” Marable said. “I’m probably the only person in this race ready to got to Montgomery and start working from day one.”
Marable said he is often asked what his priorities would be if elected to office, but said that question has to be reframed to the reality of the makeup of the Alabama Legislature.
“First of all, there is a supermajority of Republicans in Montgomery. The Democratic party in Montgomery can barely get any bills passed right now,” Marable said. “I think the first priority is how do we work across the aisle to get things really, really accomplished? Everybody talks about public safety, healthcare, education—I want those things too. But we have to have an honest debate with the other side to persuade them to listening to what you’re talking about. If they don’t believe or understand that, then you make the media aware that you provided the information and evidence and let their constituents know why are they blocking things that are important for the state?”
What Marable brings to the table, he told APR, is a different way of looking at things.
“I’m the person that initiated electronic gaming in Fairfield; that created more than $200 million,” Marable said. “I was trying to also convince the city council in Fairfield how we should tax that … I helped to write the ordinance. But they did not want to tax it gross, they taxed it net. If you tax something on the back-end, by the time people take out all their expenses they can come to you and say we don’t have anything else. I already knew that was going to happen to Fairfield. It was extremely disappointing—we got about $5 million.”
And then the council forgave $450,000 in fees during a special meeting while Marable was out of town, he said.
” These were not charitable contribution but fees from taxes these people really owed,” Marable said. “Why forgive fees for millionaires but not monthly fees from regular small businesses that operate here? Fairfield is what I call a “bedroom community”; not a lot of new businesses are interested in Fairfield. But small businesses are. Why take advantage of small business and forgive millionaires?”
Marable said he wants to bring the same line of thought to Montgomery, and emphasized once again that he won’t be controlled.
“These people don’t control the way that I think,” Marable said.
The primary election is set for Tuesday, Sept. 26. There are seven total candidates vying for the Democratic nomination.