Incumbent Martin champions experience

Published 8:38 pm Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Clanton Advertiser interviewed each candidate for political offices with local implications. Below are responses from Jimmy Martin, who is running for the District 42 seat in the state House of Representatives. Candidate passages are presented verbatim but may have been edited for length and clarity. Look for responses from candidates for Chilton County sheriff county superintendent of education later in the week.

Question: Why did you decide to enter politics?

Well, the reason I entered into politics originally was because it was a family tradition to be the coroner of Chilton County for the Martin family. It was after my father had passed away, and I was trying to learn and to run the funeral home and was running the funeral home. Since back in the ’30s, some of my forefathers have been the coroner except for a four-year period. So, I ran for coroner and was elected, and the people elected me nine more times. Then, I heard Curtis Smith say he was not going to run again, and I said that, well, I think that will be a continuation of the service I’m already doing so I think I’ll run. So, I ran and in 1999 was elected and have been reelected two times since then. I’ve got a total of 48 years as a public servant for Chilton County.

If reelected, what will your priorities be? What do you specifically hope to accomplish in another term?

The main thing I hope to accomplish, the last two years in a row I have had the military voting bill, which allows the military to vote overseas. Now, they sometimes do not get their ballots back, so I had a bill working with the secretary of state, and it passed both years in the Alabama House but seemed to fall dead in the Senate. If reelected, I’m going to continue to pursue the military voting. I’m going to also pursue a continuation of supporting (an end of) PAC-to-PAC transfers and just overall improvement in the Alabama Legislature.

What do you think the major issues will be this next legislative session?

Well, the next legislative session does not have any stimulus money to work with. So, the main thing with the state of Alabama is going to be money. Of course, that’s just like all of them—the counties, the cities and everything else. And I’m not in favor of any additional taxes. I am in favor of some of the cutbacks in some of the upper echelons that hold employment in the state of Alabama in some of these elected offices. As you know, there are quite a few people that are in either elected or appointed offices that do have people in office that draw huge, huge salaries.

What are your thoughts on gambling in Alabama? Do you support a referendum to allow people to vote on legalizing gambling?

Me, personally, I’m against any type of gaming. I have in the past gone to different casinos, but I can see where that would be habit forming, and I’m against gaming in any way. But I would allow—if there’s a bill that comes up that allows people to vote that is a straight up bill, not like we’ve had in the past but will allow the people to vote—I will support that.

You say you are the only candidate with a plan to stop illegal immigration. Can you elaborate on this plan?

Well, really and truly, I’ve talked to quite a few people. It is more important to some people than it is others. You take some of your construction workers, your farmers and people like that, they cannot find employees that will do the job that needs to be done, but the Hispanics come in and they will do any job that is presented to them. Now, I’m not in favor of them coming in here illegally. If they want to come in legally like they’re supposed to, that’s fine with me. But I want them to be totally legal, and I want the people who employ them (to) know that they are legal and not hiring illegals.

How would they accomplish that?

They’re already supposed to have documentation, like the green cards. Of course, you do run into a problem where one hands a green card to the other, and they use it just long enough to get a job or something else. It’s almost impossible unless the federal government gets more involved and starts a tracking of all these that come in. But really and truly, the illegals are the state’s problem because of the education and their medical care.

Given the recent high profile corruption cases in Birmingham, in the Alabama community college system and now in the Alabama state house, there is understandably a lot of distrust of elected officials among voters. What do elected officials have to do to earn that trust back?

The first thing you’ve got to do as far as the corruption part of it is, the people need to know who they’re sending down there. As far as my constituents, I think they know me well enough to know that I don’t go down there for personal gain. I have not gone down there for personal gain; I did not have the coroner’s office for personal gain. The only living I’ve ever had in my lifetime is Martin Funeral Home. It’s going to be up to the voters of the state of Alabama who they send down there, and they need to know who they’re sending before they send them. Outside of that, the ethics commission should be more involved and have more authority.