Legislative primaries preview for House District 48, Senate District 15

Mountain Brook voters will face a number of contests in the upcoming legislative election. Here is an overview of the races that impact the city.

In the House 48 race, a seasoned legislator takes on an IT executive.

In the battle for the 15th Senate seat, two Mountain Brook residents face off.

And an incumbent Republican is unopposed in Home District 46.

House 48

Longtime state Rep. Jim Carns will face challenger William Wentowski in the May 24 Republican primary in Alabama House District 48, marking the second straight primary election between the two. The district covers parts of Vestavia and Mountain Brook.

Wentowski, a resident of Vestavia Hills, first challenged Carns in 2018 and lost with 23% of the vote. Director of marketing and sales in the field of enterprise information technology, Wentowski believes in the limits of duration. If elected, he will only serve three terms if he is unable to push campaign finance reform through two, he said.

Civil servants who pursue careers in politics become “disconnected” from their constituents, Wentowski said.

Mental health reform is a major issue for Wentowski, who has a mentally ill uncle. mental problems.

Wentowski said he believes in providing outpatient services and halfway houses, as well as helping find answers for people who may not be on medication.

Wentowski also supports an educational lottery and the elimination of the state grocery tax, leaving that decision to municipalities.

Another area of ​​focus for Wentowski is fighting corruption, and he refuses to accept corporate donations.

As Governor Kay Ivey prepares to invest in broadband, Wentowski said his experience in the private sector can help the state roll out more broadband services.

“I can tell you there are a lot of wrong ways to encourage broadband deployment,” Wentowski said. “Incentives work for this, but we have to be careful and the parties have to be held accountable. Otherwise, they will just take the money and run away. This also goes with campaign finance. Citizens’ best interests are often sold for shockingly low campaign contributions. »

Wentowski said he plans to bring a strong work ethic and honesty to Montgomery if elected. Confronting a longtime lawmaker in Carns is “a tough argument to hoe,” Wentowski said, but he believes the involvement is part of his civic duty. “Being uninvolved just means not being heard.”

For more information, visit goowski.com.

Jim Carn

Carns, also a resident of Vestavia Hills, is no stranger to Alabama politics. He was a leader in Jefferson County for much of his career.

He was first elected to the State House in 1990 and served four terms before joining the Jefferson County Commission, where he served from 2006 to 2010. Carns was on the commission when the county filed for bankruptcy.

After then-state Rep. Greg Canfield transitioned to Alabama’s secretary of commerce, Carns again won election to his House seat and has served since 2012.

“I’ve been a public servant for a while and I think I’ve done a good job,” Carns said.

He said he looks forward to another four years and is proud of his work to pass welfare reform, abstinence bills and voter ID laws.

Carns said he is adamantly opposed to vaccination mandates and hopes to continue that fight. Part of his job in 2022 is to help decide how to spend record amounts of money from the federal government to counter the COVID-19 pandemic, he said. The Legislature discussed how to spend that money in January, and Carns said more money was expected in June.

On broadband, Carns said it would be a “blessing” from Washington to have federal relief funds available to expand that service, including benefiting businesses across the state.

Carns represents much of Vestavia Hills as well as parts of Mountain Brook and said he has always had good support from his base.

He served as Minority Leader from 2002 to 2006 and is currently Chairman of the Commerce Committee, as well as Chairman of the Jefferson County Delegation. He also sits on the Children’s Affairs Committee.

Senate 15

This year’s Republican primary for state Senate District 15 pits incumbent Dan Roberts against challenger Brian Christine, a urologist with Alabama Urology Centers in Homewood.

The winner will take the seat because there is no one from another party asking for it.

Brian Christine

Christine, a resident of Mountain Brook, said he feels a close connection between the people of the district and after developing relationships with patients over the years, he will work to build connections with constituents.

Roberts is not connected, Christine said, adding that “some people don’t know who the legislator is.”

Roberts declined to comment on Christine’s assertion that he is unrelated to his constituents.

While he and Roberts are both conservative, Christine said he wanted to bring more of a “fighting spirit” to Montgomery, meaning fighting for what’s right.

Christine said he was proud to be a political outsider, but said he also wanted to go across the aisle and work with Democrats.

“I have my moral compass… lines in the sand,” Christine said. “But there is always room for respectful disagreement.”

Christine said there’s a “real problem” with legislators who have been sitting for decades because money and power tend to corrupt. While term limits are necessary, he said it’s also important to give lawmakers Montgomery long enough to be effective.

Christine took issue with Roberts being funded by political action committees, calling it a problem how interest groups spend money in Montgomery. Roberts has received money from the Forestry PAC, the Mainstream PAC (a business and industry-friendly PAC), the Wholesale PAC, and PACs representing pharmacies, poultry, retailers, and construction companies. Christine put $100,000 of her own money into the race and, at press time, has received no other contributions.

Roberts took a different view on PACS.

“I’m proud to be supported by farmers, business leaders and the Alabama Medical Association,” Roberts said. “I have worked hard for the past four years to provide conservative solutions to improve our state’s business environment. Their support shows that we are making positive changes for District 15.”

Christine describes herself as being fiscally responsible, focused on smaller and limited government, and having “active citizen engagement”. He said he wanted to “tighten the reins tighter” on government spending.

Education is a “huge problem”, Christine said. “There’s no reason Alabama shouldn’t lead the country… The fact that we have a black eye to be 52nd in education is a tragedy.”

Christine is a believer in what he calls “parental choice,” where parents should be able to send their children to the school of their choice.

As a surgeon, Christine says health care is very important, but he opposes a single-payer system. He will push for affordable and accessible health care, he said.

Christine said he favors Alabama voters having a say in an educational lottery, but opposes wholesale gambling. However, if the funding goes to the right places, it could help, he said.

Dan Robert

Roberts, who also lives in Mountain Brook, touted a recent bill he sponsored that was signed into law by the governor to prevent Alabamians from paying state taxes on the federal child tax credit. , Dependent Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit which have been increased during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tax issues have been central to Roberts’ tenure in the state Senate, he said, including one of the first bills Ivey signed that changed how the state taxes businesses. , helping them to be more competitive. He sits on Lieutenant Governor Will Ainsworth’s Workforce Development Committee, which studies how to improve the workforce.

Roberts’ tenure began in 2018, following a career in real estate development, private equity and international business.

Roberts said he wants to help provide jobs and opportunities for high school graduates, and noted recent developments such as the upcoming Smuckers plant in Jefferson County. Smuckers will create 300 or more jobs in the region as part of a $1.2 billion investment. He also mentioned the Selma factory which creates N95 masks.

“How can we come together as a state to meet the needs, not only of our state, but of our country, and then of the world? Roberts said.

Roberts said he was working across party lines to improve the state.

His goal, if re-elected, is to keep pushing the state forward on its strengths, he said. The biggest problem facing the state is education, he said.

“You look at the test results, and we’ve come so far,” Roberts said. “If we don’t fix this, we are so badly hurt.”

Roberts also supports parental choice. “Parents have the final say on their child’s education… We need to do something different.”

He said the problem with an educational lottery is where the money goes.

Roberts said he sees the benefits of term limits, but said it takes the average lawmaker two terms to get up to speed. It’s important to have legislators who understand the system, he said.

He said he met with all the mayors in his district and spent “a considerable amount of time” getting to know people, working 70 to 80 hours a week.

He said it has been a great honor to serve the people of District 15 and he hopes to continue to do so.

House 46

Republican incumbent David Faulkner is running unopposed for re-election to the House of District 46. Faulkner has held the seat since 2014. He is an attorney with the law firm Christian & Small. His practice includes, but is not limited to, premises liability, product liability, commercial transportation and trucking, personal injury, insurance, fraud, and commercial and commercial litigation. He has worked on several legislative committees and with the state consumer loan task force.

Election dates

Primary election: On May 24, polling stations will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

General election: On November 8, polling stations will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

– Journalist Neal Embry contributed to this report.

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