PHOTO: Centre native Andrew Jones, a small business owner and farmer, has announced his campaign for District 10 in the Alabama State Senate. The seat is currently occupied by Senator Phil Williams (R - Gadsden) who announced he won't be seeking re-election. Rep. Mack Butler (R - Rainbow City) announced a run for the seat in September. (Contributed Photo)
By Staff Reports
CENTRE, Ala. — Andrew Jones, Centre native and owner of Deep South Coffee Factory, has announced his candidacy for State Senate in District 10. Jones, who is also a 4th-generation Cherokee County farmer, will run as a Republican. In addition to serving on both the Cherokee County and State Republican Executive Committees, Jones is active in the Alabama Farmers Federation Young Farmers group and is also a member of Centre First Baptist Church, where he serves as pianist.
“As a small business owner and farmer, I’ve seen how government regulation and misguided policies often break the back of our small businesses and family farmers. Ladder-climbers and career politicians in Montgomery have lost track of what is important- developing our local economy, repairing our crumbling roads and bridges, and providing our children with a first-rate education,” said Jones. “We have so much potential here, and we need a State Senator that can be trusted to represent our Northeast Alabama values while not shying away from tackling the difficult decisions our state faces. This means keeping taxes low, supporting faith-based initiatives, and fighting for our families. Above all, I will work to move our area forward, make sure our needs are addressed, and ensure that we get our fair share of dollars from Montgomery.”
Jones holds a Master’s of Public Policy from the College of William and Mary in Virginia, but says that the best education he ever got was growing up on his family’s farm. “Everyone in the legislature would benefit from some time spent on a family farm to see how much hard work it takes just to make ends meet,” said Jones.
“Too many politicians tout their Montgomery ‘experience,’ yet use their position as simply just another stepping stone to a higher office,” Jones continued. “This has resulted in a legislature that kicks the can down the road and fails to address the challenges facing all of us in Etowah, Dekalb, and Cherokee Counties. Our legislators can’t just say “no” all the time. They need to tell us what they are for. A prime example of this was how a handful of legislators blocked critical infrastructure reform without offering any other solution.”
Infrastructure is a key component of Jones’ platform. “There was a situation in Cherokee county where a small bridge collapsed just an hour or two after a school bus had crossed over it. That is totally unacceptable. Unfortunately, we are in a bare-minimum maintenance situation with our infrastructure. There will be no funding for new infrastructure unless we get legislation passed. There are many projects which I want to see completed, including extending I-759 in Gadsden and completing the Highway 411 4-lane project between Etowah and Cherokee counties. Many people travel that road for work, and the bottleneck there is dangerous.”
Supporting farmers and small business, recruiting new industry, and providing workforce development are also important to Jones. “Getting rid of outdated regulations and making it easier for folks to start a small business will help our local economy. Alabama is one of the least-supportive states for small business creation in the nation. Additionally, we must aggressively recruit new industry. We are competing with surrounding states, and we need to do everything we can to get those jobs. We have the best workers in the nation, but we must train our workforce and equip our people for the jobs of tomorrow. We must be prepared for the next economic downturn.”
“When it comes to education, the most important thing we can do is expand access to pre-K,” said Jones. “We need to get that done, even if it means rearranging some of our priorities. Most families are not able to get their children into pre-K because very few spaces are available. Studies have shown that if you can get a child reading at the appropriate level by 3rd grade, then she is more likely to graduate high school. In addition, I believe that we should give our local school boards as much say in our children’s education as possible. We must also make sure that our students at smaller schools have the same opportunities as everyone else.”
The public can visit www.ANDREWandYOU.com or www.facebook.com/ANDREWforSENATE to find out more. The State Senate District 10 seat is currently held by Phil Williams, R- Rainbow City who is not seeking reelection. The Primary Election will be held on June 5th, 2018 and the General Election will be held on November 6th, 2018.