Tuesday’s vote pits ‘change’ against ‘experience’

Published 10:56 pm Friday, October 29, 2010

For several candidates on the ballot Tuesday, all the campaigns, disputes and speeches boil down to one main battle: fresh ideas versus seasoned political strategies.

Six candidates vying for three contested offices serving Pike County — state Senate, U.S. representative and circuit court judge — have given their top reasons why they deserve your votes.

Up for re-election for state senate, Sen. Wendell Mitchell, D-Luverne, believes in economic recovery and reviving education in Alabama. He also has called for an end to “partisan bickering” in order to move forward in policy and progress, he said.

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“Political candidates seem more interested in pointing the finger along party lines than focusing on the future,” he wrote in a statement. “I have always tried to work across party lines, build bridges and establish dialogue that moves us forward.”

His opponent, Republican candidate Bryan Taylor, believes in tax cuts for working families and small businesses, cutting wasteful government spending, and weeding out corruption, starting with the repeal of the 62 percent pay raise for legislators.

“It’s time for a change in Montgomery. We need fresh thinking and new ideas from a true conservative,” Taylor said.

For the position of circuit court judge, Republican candidate Shannon Clark believes in an unbiased interpretation of the law, a workhorse attitude and the “golden rule” philosophy in her courtroom.

“I try to live by a simple rule — treat people the way you want to be treated. I believe in personal responsibility and accountability and that no matter the circumstance, everyone deserves to be treated with respect and civility,” she wrote in an email interview.

For her opponent, Democratic candidate Joel Williams, the key issues are experience and knowledge of the craft.

“I can’t imagine being a judge presiding over a jury trial when you’ve never even seen one. It’s not something you can study. You have to be in the arena,” he said.

Williams has also taught law, and in fact his opponent was one of his students. He also said he holds respect and dignity for the bench, which prevented him from actively campaigning for the position of circuit judge.

“I’m not going to ask people for their money and then sit and judge their cases,” he said.

U.S. Rep. Bobby Bright, D-Ala., is banking on his wealth of experience and his commitments to his constituents to pull him through in the polls, he said.

“A lifetime of experience really does count when you need things done in our nation’s capital,” he said.

He also believes his home field advantage will work in his favor on Election Day. Bright, D-Montgomery, lived in Wiregrass, and now lives in the northern part of his district.

His opponent, Republican Martha Roby, is planning to bring strong conservative values and economic growth to Congress if she’s elected.

“We need to get money back in the hands of the people who create jobs,” she said.

She also said she leans on stalwart convictions that don’t waver or bend to political whims, and believes voters are ready for a strong-minded leader in Congress.

“They’re ready to have a Congress that will listen to them and then fight,” she said.