State Senate District 17 incorporates roughly the southern two- thirds of Blount County. It also includes about a third of northern Jefferson County, and a small strip running northwest to southeast through Clair County, connecting it to a small portion of northwestern Talladega County, also included in the district. There are 35 Senate districts in Alabama.
Seven candidates are running for the seat vacated by Sen. Scott Beason when he announced in early February that he would not run for re-election. They are Joe Cochran of Pinson, Gayle Gear of Gardendale, Brett King of Locust Fork, Jim Murphree of Oneonta, Adam Ritch of the Corner area, Jim Roberts of Gardendale, and Shay Shellnut of Trussville.
Profiles of four of the candidates, in alphabetical order appear this week. The remaining three will appear next week. Profiles are based on information provided by the candidates themselves, in response to the newspaper’s questionnaire.