Holley, Moore compete for GOP nomination

Published 11:43 pm Friday, May 30, 2014

Pike County Republicans will be casting votes in eight races as opposed to the Democrats’ two in Tuesday’s primary elections.
Thanks to redrawn districts, voters have two state senate candidates to get to know: incumbent Republican Jimmy W. Holley of Elba and challenger Garreth Moore of Enterprise.
Moore, a real estate appraiser and small business owner, says he is running because he is unsatisfied with Holley’s performance.
“I think we’ve got ineffective leadership,” he said. “He has no core values and has flip-flopped on a lot of core issues.”
Moore cited taxes and gambling as examples.
“Since he converted to be a Republican in 2008, he has continued to vote to raise taxes,” Moore said of Holley. “He was opposed to gambling until the electronic bingo bill.”
Moore, who is no relation to State Rep. Barry Moore, R-Enterprise, is no stranger to the political arena. “I was the first Republican House of Representatives member in Coffee County.”
He was in office from 1994 to 1998.  Moore said his voting record and core values prove he is a conservative senator. He is opposed to Common Core and gay marriage; believes Social Security needs to be stabilized and defends the Second Amendment. Moore is not a fan of career politicians. If elected, he said he would self-impose a two-term limit.
“I’ve been a small businessman my whole life,” he said. “When you’re a small business owner, wanting a smaller government and lesser government is in your DNA.”
Campaigning for the primary has not been easy for Moore. He works fulltime and is limited to campaigning weekends and after work.
Moore said he has had the most trouble campaigning in Pike County. He did not attend the Pike County Republican Party’s May 19 rally and is one of the few candidates on Tuesday’s ballots who has not made an appearance at a Pike County Republican Women meeting.
“I think I’ve largely been blocked out in that county,” he said. “I haven’t received any invitations.”
Pike County Republicans disagreed with Moore’s assessment.
“He hasn’t been left out of anything,” said Jeffrey Knight, president of the Pike County Republican Party. “As far as that rally goes, it was well-publicized on GOP websites. Everybody was invited, had an opportunity for a table. There was no formal invitation.”
The only person extended a formal invitation was Gov. Robert Bentley, the keynote speaker.
Ginny Hamm, president of Pike County Republican Women, said the organization tried repeatedly to invite Moore to a meeting. “There were no phone numbers on his website or his Facebook page, but we emailed him several times,” she said.
All PCRW meetings are advertised on the state GOP website and always say, “All candidates welcome,” added Erikka Knight, a PCRW officer.
Holley chose not to respond to most of Moore’s comments, opting instead cite his experience and track record and to address issues of term limits. “We certainly have term limits every four years,” he said. “The people of Alabama can go to the polls and limit my term by voting for someone else.”
Holley cited his experience as an asset. He is currently serving his fourth term as state senator and previously served five terms in the House of Representatives.
“I have many years of experience. I think that counts as value and shows I am willing to go to Montgomery and represent the people of Pike County,” he said.
Holley said he protected the interests of Pike County long before inheriting it in District 31 during recent redistricting efforts. Of those efforts, he said residents of Pike County expressed concerns that the entire county be grouped in one district and that the county be grouped with other Wiregrass counties. Those requests were heeded and now District 31 includes Pike and Coffee, Covington and Dale counties.
He has long worked closely with elected officials in Pike County to promote the county and the region. “Pike County is my second home,” he said.
If re-elected, Holley said improving government efficiency and the state’s educational system would be key issues for the next Legislature.
His priorities would include continuing to downsize the state government. “We’ve got some consolidation to do,” he said.
As for education, Holley said the Common Core initiatives will continue to be a controversial issue. He said while the program has been debated by both proponents and opponents he believes the program has benefits. However, Holley said educators and lawmakers need to continue to review the program to determine if improvements need to be made. “I look forward to having a good public education program for my grandchildren, and I want an education program comparable to other states.”
He did, however, cite the success of programs such as dual-enrollment for high school students. Students in both Troy City Schools and the Pike County Schools have the opportunity to participate in dual-enrollment through programs such as Global Studies, the Business and Finance Academy and the recently announced aviation program which will allow students to earn a pilot’s license and associates degree while in high school.
“They could end up with a high school diploma and receive credit with a community college,” he said.
Holley hoped to see changes in the funding and administration of health care programs in the state, particular as the impacts of the Affordable Care Act are seen in Alabama.
“It’s going to be a tremendous burden. It will hurt our small businesses throughout the State of Alabama,” he said. “And it concerns me what it would do to our families.”
When it comes to attracting more employment to the state, Holley wants Alabama to be competitive with other southern states.  “Our incentives need to be competitive and that would mean working with the governor,” he said.
Holley said he has established a strong relationship with Gov. Robert Bentley that would only benefit his constituents.
“We are excited about the possibilities to engage these issues and provide a better life for our families. I think I can answer some of the questions in the state,” he said. “This is my home.”

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