Democratic candidate for District 6 visits Clanton

Published 11:47 am Friday, September 26, 2014

Mark Lester, Democratic candidate for Alabama’s 6th Congressional District in the U.S. Congress, visited Chilton County last week to campaign in the southernmost county in the district.

Lester is running for the seat currently occupied by Spencer Bachus, who will not seek re-election.



Lester is running against Republican Gary Palmer, who defeated Paul DeMarco in the Primary Election.

The former Democratic candidate, Avery Vise, withdrew from the race in August, and Lester said he was approached about running.

“I said, ‘Yeah, I think people really need a choice,’” Lester said. “Off we went.”

Lester is a native of Little Rock, Ark., where his parents were active in politics.

He started a career practicing law and eventually started his own small law firm.

Lester later decided he wanted to become a college professor, and his first job as a professor was at Birmingham-Southern College.

“I’ve just loved teaching,” said Lester, who has led courses at the University of Alabama Law School and has taught almost 3,000 students. “It’s kept me young.”

Lester said he’s running because Congress is “just not working.”

“It’s stuck in partisan gridlock, and it’s not doing anything to solve the real problems that normal Americans struggle with each and every day,” Lester said in a provided speech. “It’s infested with political insiders, who care only about representing the special interests that got them elected, not their constituents. I want to help change that.”

Lester said he has taken no money from outside special interests and has released his last five annual tax returns to prove it.

Lester pointed to renovations at the Chilton County Airport as an example of a project that the federal government can help communities with, if government is operating effectively and funded adequately.

“Industry needs things like the airport,” Lester said. “It makes an important economic impact. We want not just a job for people, but quality jobs for people.”

Another significant part of Lester’s platform are women’s issues.

“The sad reality is that for every dollar a man makes, a woman makes only 81 cents,” Lester said in a press release. “It‚Äôs 69 cents if you‚Äôre a woman working in Alabama. That is totally unacceptable in a society that believes men and women are equal, and I want to change that by passing the Pay Check Fairness Act, which my opponent opposes.”

Lester said he would also like to see the Violence Against Women Act strengthened.

“Over the last two decades, this act has worked to save innocent women from violent attacks, and it can do even more if properly supported,” he said.

Lester and his wife, Jeanne, have been married for 36 years and have two sons, Ted and Jay. They live in Homewood.

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