Republican Party wants to ‘make a change’

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 25, 2000

Staff Writer

Editor’s Note: This is the second part of a three part series focusing on the upcoming election.

On both a local and national level, Republican candidates are seeking election to make changes. Lawrence Bowden, chairman of the Pike County Republican Committee, said the three Republicans seeking seats on

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the Pike County Commission all have two things in common – leadership abilities and the desire to see changes made

in the commission’s make-up.

Larry Penn, who is seeking re-election to the District 3 seat, Jim Medley, who is running for the District 4 slot and

John Schmidt, who is looking to occupy the District 6 seat, all want to reduce the number of districts and have an elected full-time chairman.

Currently, there are six districts in Pike County and the chairmanship is selected by the commissioners each year. In talking about Penn’s qualifications to remain on the commission, Bowden said the GOP candidate wants to see the organization of the commission changed to a lower number of districts and would like to see the chairman elected by

the people, instead of being selected by the commissioners. Bowden said Schmidt "has a vision of where the commission needs to be" and that it is "more vital than his


But, their ideas to make changes are not the only things that qualify them to run, Bowden said. He said Penn’s experience is something voters should evaluate when casting ballots on Nov. 7. During the four years he’s served on the commission, Penn "has shown he has the leadership skills" having served a

year as chairman and has accomplished such things as getting a new Pike County Board of Education central office

building constructed.

"With Republicans leading the way, they (the commissioners) seem to have established more harmony in the

commission," Bowden said of Penn and Larry Meeks, who is running without opposition. What makes Schmidt the ideal commissioner, Bowden said, is that he would bring "a vast amount" of leadership to

the commission.

"The commission needs leadership and John has that leadership ability," Bowden said of the man he called a

"forward-looking person."

He said Schmidt has already proven his ability to plan for the future by initiating a countywide strategic planning

being developed by the Pike County Chamber of Commerce. Medley may not have ever served on the county commission, but he does have experience in public service, having

been on the county board of education.

"He will bring a fresh look to the commission’s business," Bowden said of Medley. All in all, Bowden believes the three Republicans who will be on the November ballot have the ability to create "more

cohesiveness" on the commission and work with "greater efficiency." While Bowden is working hard to promote the three commission candidates, he’s also working to encourage voters to

select George W. Bush and the Republicans running for statewide office. He said Bush is committed "to fix Social Security" and strengthening the United States military. "He’s very adamant that he will bring the military back to where it needs to be," Bowden said of the presidential

candidate. "Currently, the military is strapped and has been allowed to go down." Bush wants to change that and the way the federal government spends the taxpayers’ money. "Contrary to what (Al) Gore says, Bush wants to give back some of the surplus," Bowden said, adding Bush wants

to give tax cuts.

"As long as we keep sending money up there, Congress will keep spending," Bowden said. "He’s opposed to growth of government and wants to help local government operate better by keeping the money

there – on a local level."

Bowden said the "conservative, moral side is very important" when selecting a president. "I think he’ll set a much more moral tone for the country and bring back respect to the Oval Office." And, on the local level, conservatism plays a role in choosing between those seeking office to the Alabama Supreme

Court, Court of Civil Appeals and Court of Criminal Appeals. "It’s essential we have good, conservative judges who base decisions on the law that’s already been written, rather

than making the laws themselves," Bowden said. All in all, Bowden believes the Republicans will bring a brighter outlook for the county, state and nation.