State offices, local races, fire district, and five amendments in play



Blount Countians should have a significant interest in the outcomes of three local political races and a fire/medical services district referendum appearing on next week’s general election ballot.

They are: (1) the election for Blount County Sheriff, pitting Republican incumbent Loyd Arrington against Independent challenger Ryan Fortenberry; (2) the election for District 27 state Representative, in which Democrat Jeff McLaughlin faces Republican Will Ainsworth; and (3) the election for United States Representative, 6th Congressional District, featuring Democrat Mark Lester against Republic-an Gary Palmer.

Residents living within the service area of the West Blount Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department will determine whether to form a fire and emergency medical services district with mandatory $150 dues annually to assure continued delivery of those services.



Other political offices with opposition

Other political offices on the ballot which Blount Countians may actively help to decide include the following:

Governor: Democrat challenger Parker Griffith vs. Republican incumbent Robert Bentley

Lieutenant Governor: Democratic challenger James C. Fields Jr. vs. Republican incumbent Kay Ivey

Attorney General: Democrat challenger Joe Hubbard vs. Republican incumbent Luther Strange

Secretary of State: Democrat Lula Albert-Kagler vs. Republican John Merrill

State Auditor: Democrat Miranda Karrine Joseph vs. Republican Jim Zeigler

Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries: Democrat challenger Doug “New Blue” Smith vs. Republican incumbent John McMillan

Statewide Amendments

Five constitutional amendments will be on the ballot for voters to approve or reject. The following paragraphs are summaries of each amendment provided by the state Fair Ballot Commission, which endeavors to render each amendment into layman’s language. This is not the language that appears on the ballot, rather an attempt to explain the amendments in simple, accurate terms.

Amendment 1: Called “The American and Alabama Laws for Alabama Courts Amendment,” Amendment 1 relates to the application of foreign law during the legal process involving an Alabama citizen. Foreign law refers to the laws of other countries or cultures. Currently, judges or other legal authorities discern whether foreign law is applied. Amendment 1 would create constitutional protection that foreign law is not applied if it violates guaranteed right of Alabama citizens.

Amendment 2: Authorizes the state to borrow up to $50 million in bonds to pay for National Guard armory maintenance and construction. Many of the state’s armories have fallen into disrepair and require maintenance. Passage of Amendment 2 would allow the state to use money from the Alabama Trust Fund to purchase bonds to fund the project. The bonds must be repaid within 20 years.

Amendment 3: Elevates Alabama citizens’ right to bear arms to a fundamental right in the State Constitution, receiving the highest possible protection of the law. The failure of Amendment 3 does not alter citizens’ current right to bear arms as protected by the state and U.S. Constitution, but its passage provides additional protection under the Alabama Constitution.

Amendment 4: Requires a larger majority by the Alabama Legislature to pass unfunded mandates on local school boards. Currently, a simple majority vote is required. Amendment 4 would increase that threshold to a two-thirds majority vote. The change provided in Amendment 4 does not apply to legislation that addresses compensation, benefits, or due process rights of any employee of a board of education.

Amendment 5: Referred to as the “Sportsman’s Bill of Rights,” Amendment 5 provides that the people of Alabama, today and for generations to come, have the right to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife using traditional methods. Amendment 5 also defines hunting and fishing as the preferred means of managing and controlling wildlife. If Amendment 5 fails, Alabamians still have the right to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife, but that right may be limited by existing or future laws and regulations.

Note on Amendment 4: The Oneonta School Board in its meeting Monday night passed a resolution supporting Amendment 4 as a protection from unfunded state mandates that serves the public welfare by protecting scarce school resources for the education of children. Offices appearing without opposition

The following offices appear on the ballot, but with only one voting option, because each candidate – all Republicans – are running for an office for which no Democratic candidate qualified.

County offices

Commission, District 1 – Allen Armstrong

Commission, Dist-rict 3 – Dean Calvert

Revenue Commissioner – Gregg Armstrong

Coroner – John Mark Vaughn

Board of Education, District 3 – Bruce McAfee

Legislative offices

U. S. Senate – Jeff Sessions

U. S. House of Representatives, 4th District – Robert Aderholt

State Senator, District 9 – Clay Scofield

State Senator, District 17 – Shay Shelnutt

State Representative, District 11 – Randall Shedd (central Blount County)

State Representative, District 13 – Connie Rowe Cooner ( western Blount County)

State Representative, District 34 – David Standridge (eastern/southern/ western Blount County)

State offices

State Treasurer – Young Boozer

Public Service Commission, Place 1 – Jeremy Oden

Public Service Commission, Place 2 – Chris “Chip” Beeker Jr.

State Board of Education, District 6 – Cynthia McCarty

Judicial offices

Associate Supreme Court Justice, Place 1 – Greg Shaw

Court of Civil Appeals Judge, Place 1 – William C.“Bill” Thompson

Court of Civil Appeals Judge, Place 2 – Scott Donaldson

Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 1 – Mary B. Windom

Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 2 – Beth Kellum