PHOTO: John Baker at Doug Jones' rally late last year in Fyffe. (Tyler Pruett | Southern Torch)
By Tyler Pruett, Managing Editor
FORT PAYNE, Ala. — Yesterday was the final day for both the local Democratic and Republican Parties to file qualifying paperwork to run for office in 2018.
While Nick Welden and Michael Edmondson will be running in the Republican Primary, a latecomer has entered the race on the Democratic ticket.
John Baker, a DeKalb County attorney, filed paperwork to run yesterday. Baker represented DeKalb County in the Alabama State Senate.
We gave Baker a ring shortly after, and he took a break from tractor work on his farm to give a quick interview:
"Sheriff is an interesting career.... it's something that I feel like I'm as well qualified as anybody. I've been a lawyer for 50 years. I've tried lots and lots of criminal cases. I've probably been in court on criminal matters more than most deputies. So I feel like that I'm qualified in every way," said Baker.
"I would anticipate keeping all deputies and current sheriff staff; subject to interviewing them all, as long as they are honest. Regardless of how they vote or their campaign activities I plan on keeping all the staff intact. It's a pretty good staff there; although I may change the rules a little bit," said Baker.
"One thing I think I have to offer: I'm retired, and I'm not wealthy, but I don't have to have income. My home is paid for. I've decided if I'm elected, I don't have to have a salary. DeKalb County can have a free sheriff," he explained.
"I think it will be fun, the job will fun, campaigning will be fun, and I look forward to it!" Baker said.
When asked about pistol permits, Baker explained he doesn't anticipate changing the current policies: "That's a matter of state law. As far as the Sheriff, he has the discretion to investigate, and if there is someone that's off concern, then the sheriff has the opportunity, if the facts and circumstances are right, to deny the permit."
"I'm not out to make it more difficult or anything," Baker said. "I don't have any complaints with the current process. If someone wants to change the law, they can go to the legislature."
"I feel like running for Sheriff is something I can contribute to the county," concluded Baker.