Candidates talk at 1st forum

Published 2:05 am Friday, December 4, 2015

Candidates seeking local offices participated in a forum Thursday sponsored by LBWCC’s Campus Civitan.

Each candidate was given five minutes to tell who they are and why they are running for the office of their choice.




Corey Bryan

Bryan, a local attorney, said he believes he has the experience to do a good job for the residents of Covington County.

Bryan said he’s worked hard all of his life from a boy working on a farm to walking on and earning his spot on the Crimson Tide football team to earning a scholarship to law school.

Bryan said he was in the courtroom on a case two weeks after passing the bar.

“I believe in hard work,” he said.

Additionally, Bryan said he’s “unapologetically a Christian.”

“Because of my faith I believe in justice for all,” he said. “I believe in a level playing field, no matter your economic level or racial background.”

He said he brings to the table the same values as current presiding circuit judge Ashley McKathan.

“I’m answering a call God has placed on my heart,” he said.



Probate Judge Ben Bowden said he left Italy from active duty in 1997 to join the Albritton law firm in Andalusia – the oldest firm in the state.

“I thought I was a big deal,” he said.

Then he got his first case – an animal cruelty case – a “cow murder”

A man had shot a cow on the air strip.

“I was slightly humiliated,” he said.

To make a long story short, Bowden won the case for the man.

He said it wasn’t until he received a call from the ATF that he realized the significance of the power a judge has.

Had he lost the case, the man’s livelihood would have been ruined.

“You have to be fair, but in an effective way,” he said. “You get that by experience.”

Bowden has served as probate judge since 2008, where he said he handles a full docket of adoption, real estate transactions and more.

He has also served as municipal judge in Lockhart.

“Court is about people,” he said.






Godwin said he was proud of the transparency his administration has brought to the county since he’s been the chairman.

“We have been conducting business in an open and transparent way,” he said. “We have been following the open meetings law and not discussing it out of view of the public, but in view. The news media is a big part, they keep elected officials honest.”

Godwin, who spoke for more than five minutes because he said after the forum he didn’t hear the bell, said that during his tenure the county has fixed its pay plan, where employees who do similar jobs are paid more comparably.

Additionally, he said the commission streams their meetings on Youtube.

He also said the county has been able to reduce its debt obligation by $7 million, thanks to restructuring the airport debt.

Additionally, Godwin spoke about the jail expansion, which he said the county didn’t borrow any money to build.



White, a local CPA and former chairman of the county commission, said he worked closely with school officials to help stretch taxpayer money.

He said the county helped build baseball and softball fields and conducted a lot of site prep work.

“It’s good to have a cooperative spirit,” he said. “It’s good to have project where you join with the city to enhance.”

White said he wants to make job creation No. 1.

“While I was chairman, we brought in Sitel, Vector, MFG Alabama, American Apparel and SaeHaeSung,” he said.

White said he cut the county’s employees from 200 to 185, while he was in office, thanks to attrition.

“I feel that I am uniquely qualified, because the Lord gifts us in ways and I’m gifted with a love to serve,” he said.

White said he balanced the budget, led with integrity and dealt with Hurricane Opal and several floods.



For Covington County Board of Education Place 3:



Powell emphasized that she is a lifelong resident of Covington County and a retired educator.

Additionally, she said she served several terms on the board of education and has accumulated more than 330 hours of training through the Association of School Boards.

She said she is running and has wanted to serve in the past because she wants to be a voice for the community, students and teachers.

During Powell’s tenure, the school system has built a new high school, expanded at some schools and upgraded many of the facilities, she said.



Barton, who is a local optometrist, said he is a product of the school system and wants to help the school system be as good as it can be.

He said he believes that technology and life preparedness skills are some of the things that 21st Century schools should work to attain.

“I know we have computer labs,” he said. “But I don’t think that’s enough. Students need to have more information at their fingertips. We turn off phones and computers at schools.

Barton said he’d like to see more Advanced Placement classes available, and job training programs to better prepare graduates for the workforce.

Additionally, he said, if elected he plans to use social media to help the public understand the decisions made by the school board.



Covington County BOE Place 4:



Bailey, a local pharmacist, is currently serving his third term on the board.

He has served as the district director for AASB.

Bailey said he serves on the board because he wants to give back to the community.

A Straughn graduate, he said he had a great experience going to school there.

Bailey shared his philosophy on education:

“Sometimes we lose focus on what’s important,” he said. “We need to put a quality teacher in the classroom and give them the tools they need and get out of the way.”

He said that’s been a priority of the board to provide teachers with necessities.



Glisson, who holds a degree in chemical engineering and mathematical education, has lived in various counties in Alabama and in Louisiana.

He is a Covington County native.

“Amy and I have been a part of other school systems,” he said. “Our kids have been a part of some really great systems. We are thankful to move back and raise our children in this community.”

Glisson likened the school board to a corporate board, saying that most company boards are investors in the company.

“Our children are our future,” he said.


District 3,

Covington County Commission


Tony Holmes was unable to attend the forum, but sent his regrets.



Powell is from the Red Oak and Enon communities and is a Realtor and farmer.

He said he has previously served on the commission and the school board.

“I have a strong desire to serve in this county again,” he said.

At his priorities is economic development.

He has also served as the president of the chamber of commerce in Florala.


District 4, Covington County Commission



Red Level native Kyle Adams said he has spent his adult life serving the public.

An Iraqi war veteran and staff sergeant in the 62nd Troop Command in Montgomery, Adams joined the National Guard before he graduated from Red Level High School.

He has served in law enforcement for the past nine years, he said, and he has been active in youth sports, serving on the rec board.

He wants to serve on the commission because he wants to see a positive change in how county government works.

“I want to help with job creation, improving rec facilities,” he said. “All children deserve equal access to team sports. I love Covington County.”

Adams said he wants to review the budget and give new ideas.



Lewis, who is a retired engineer, said he believes that his experiences make him the most qualified because he has worked in the areas of the county’s four main employers.

He’s a Pleasant Home graduate, as well.

“I understand the finances of the county,” he said. “I am concerned for the things of the county.”

He said that having fair wages is a must.

“A living wage is a must,” he said.



Lucas, who is retired from the county, said being a district 4 commissioner is something that has been a dream of his.

He has most recently worked as an over the road truck driver.

He resides in the northwest corner of the state and has five daughters and eight grandchildren.


Each participating candidate will be on the ballot in the March 1 Republican primary.