Candidates pitch platforms at Pike County Republican Women Luncheon

Published 10:35 pm Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Candidates vying for local offices including probate judge and state representative and the statewide office of lieutenant governor pitched their platforms to guests at the Pike County Republican Women Wednesday.

Both candidates in the probate judge race, Michael Bunn and Alton Starling, and both candidates competing to represent District 89 in the Alabama House of Representatives, Wes Allen and Marcus Paramore, made their cases as well as two candidates for lieutenant governor, Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh and Rusty Glover.

Michael Bunn reiterated his stand on continuing the practice of not issuing marriage licenses from the probate office.

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“The law allows probate judges to decide whether to offer marriage licenses,” Bunn told the crowd at the Troy Country Club. “Three years ago, Wes Allen decided to close marriage license division and it’s unnecessary to bring it back.”

Bunn referenced the 2006 vote in which over 80 percent of Pike Countians voted for the definition of marriage to be enshrined in the state constitution as being between one man and one woman.

Alton Starling said he is sticking to his position that he would issue marriage licenses if in office, to both heterosexual and homosexual couples.

“If I brought personal bias or belief into issuing licenses at the City of Troy, I think the council would fire me for not doing my job,” Starling said. “It’s a duty of probate as issued by the manual, so I’m going to issue licenses.”

In addition to the marriage license issue, Bunn touted his experience as an attorney practicing in probate court and his plan to bring a satellite office once a month in Goshen and Banks.

“I’ve served as an attorney as a guardian ad litem in probate court, I’ve been involved in involuntary commitments and guardianships. I’ll be able to serve on day one,” Bunn said.

Starling said his ministerial duties during 21 years as the clerk for the City of Troy prepare him for the position, which he said is very similar.

“I fit the job perfectly,” Starling said. “It’s the same functions: record-keeping and managing public funds. I have the discipline necessary to do all the jobs. I have a degree from Troy in accounting which helps me do this job.”

Wes Allen said he is pursuing a position representing Pike and Dale counties as a lawmaker in order to serve the people.

“It has always been about the people,” Allen said. “ For the last nine years I’ve had a front-row seat to the people of Pike County to witness how hard they work. I want government to work for them, to function for them; not other way around. I’ve seen how frustrating bureaucratic red tape is for families, farmers and business owners.”

Allen said he has shown a solid conservative record in his time at the probate office and told the audience he is ready to go stand up to protect voter ID laws, prevent illegal immigrants from voting in elections and whatever bills come up.

“I can go on and on and on and on about what we’re facing,” Allen said. “Now more than ever, we need leadership. I have proven my leadership on the record facing down those that want to destroy our values. I will stand up against those that want to force us to bow down at the altar of a godless society.”

Marcus Paramore preached the need for a focus on economic development and said his experience as a Troy councilmember has prepared him to vote on matters affecting constituents.

“Since I was elected to the council, Troy has been one of the top 25 fastest growing cities in Alabama,” Paramore said. “In the last year in the Troy city limits alone, we have brought in over 400 new jobs …

“I want you to consider who you’re going to vote for is who has actually cast a vote that affected the lives of the people in this community.”

Paramore said economic development will also lead to better education and the solution to “social ills,” as people with jobs would not resort to crime.

Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh pitched that she would look to bring cost savings to the state if elected lieutenant governor as she did as president of the Public Service Commission.

Cavanaugh said she saved the state $10 million by reducing the number of employees in the agency down to 74 from over 115 when she arrived and reducing the number of state cars from 59 to 24, as well as other cost-saving measures.

“If we can make those small changes, what can we do in state government?” Cavanaugh said. “We need a real accounting of what’s happening in the state government.”

Rusty Glover said his Senate experience would make him a natural fit for the office of lieutenant governor.

“I’ve served in the Senate the last three terms,” Glover said. “Serving in the Senate has given me a unique perspective, and I feel very qualified seeing fights, arguments and screaming a lot of times comes from the lieutenant governor giving the mike to the wrong person … It’s important we have someone strong in the office.”

Glover said he would not have a state trooper drive him around if elected and touted his bill to bring a referendum that would end special elections being held to fill less than one year remaining for a seat, calling it wasteful spending that should be cut.

Shirley Reddoch, president of the Pike County Republican Women, said it is always important for the public to hear from the candidates running for office.

“We are fortunate to have them,” Reddoch said. “It gives local people the opportunity to hear the different candidates and gives them an opportunity to make a better educated decision on what candidates they want to support.”