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County chair hopefuls state goals

Editor’s note: This is the second story in a series of stories from Monday night’s forum.

The Republican Party of Covington County held a candidate forum Monday night at city hall, giving several candidates the opportunity to speak to citizens about why they are running.

The first article in this series ran in Tuesday’s paper with comments from Beth Kellum, running for her third term on the Alabama Court of Appeals and Jeff Coleman, Barry Moore and Jessica Taylor all running for the Second Congressional District on the Alabama House of Representatives.

After they spoke, the candidates for Covington County Commission Chairman spoke.

Kyle Adams:

Kyle Adams of Red Level is currently the commissioner from District 4, but is seeking the chairmanship.

Adams was born and reared in Covington County and currently resides in the Loango community in Northwest Covington County.

A 2004 graduate of Red Level High School, and a 2007 graduate of Lurleen B. Wallace Community College, Adams holds an associate’s degree from LBW and values the opportunities of local learning institutions and the opportunities afforded to residents as a result.

Since the age of 17, Adams has been a member of the Alabama Army National Guard. In 2005, Adams’ deployed with the 1/117TH Field Artillery to Iraq, where he served a fifteen-month tour. Currently, Adams is stationed at 62nd Troop Command in Montgomery, Alabama where he holds the rank of staff sergeant.

In keeping with his theme of service, Adams began his career in law enforcement in 2007. Over the course of his tenure in law enforcement, Adams has worked for the Covington County Sheriff’s Department and is currently employed with River Falls Police Department.

While Adams has enjoyed a vibrant career, his greatest earthly accomplishment is his family. Adams has been married to Tori Adams, counselor at Red Level Elementary School, for 14 years. Together, they have three children: Parker (13), Cody (9), and Annabeth (3).

“I was 16 years old sitting in history class and I heard a quote by John F. Kennedy, ‘Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country,’” Adams said. “That is the slogan that I have used my whole life.”

Adams is very involved in the community. Over the course of his adult life, he has served as the booster club president for the local high school’s football team and currently serves as president for Red Level’s youth football program. In addition, Adams serves as president of the Covington County Babe Ruth League, member of the Covington County Emergency 911 Board, and Vice President of the Fraternal Order of Police – South Alabama Lodge 19.

Adams is an active member of Mill Creek Baptist church in the Sanford Community, where he serves as a deacon.

Some of the largest challenges that Adams said he will deal with in this position will be stretching tax dollars for the growth that the county is experiencing and the expected continued growth coming to Covington County.

“We must keep up with the growth of the area with budget restraints in mind to make all attempts to keep up with the maintenance and repairing existing interior roadways for the current citizens within the community,” Adams said.

Adams has a passion for helping youth and has worked to increase funding for recreational opportunities in our county and will continue to do so. Adams would also like to make sure that access to the waterways becomes available to all residents of the county.

“We have recently regained control of the Point A camp ground,” Adams said. “And I would like to see it through that our residents have free access to the waterways of this county.”

The other candidate who spoke running in the race was current commission chairman Greg White. Bill Godwin is also running for the position, but he was not available to speak on Monday.

Greg White:

White was appointed by former Governor Fob James in 1995 to Chair the Covington County Commission, and was four times elected by the voters of Covington County to serve in this capacity.

Greg grew up in Covington County. He and his wife, Jan, have lived in Covington County since moving back here in 1980. Their daughter Kelley and her husband Chase Nolen, along with their two daughters, make Covington County their home as well.

In 2010, Gov. Bob Riley appointed Greg as one of six Alabama Commissioners to represent our state on the Southern Rail Commission. He subsequently served three Governors in this capacity, and he was elected by his fellow commissioners to serve on the three-state compact’s Executive Committee, where he served six years, as Secretary/Treasurer, Vice Chairman and two years as Chairman.

White was a founding board member of Sav-A-Life, Crossover Ministry, and the Andalusia City Schools Foundation. He continues to be involved in each of these, and in numerous other religious and civic efforts across Covington County. He and Jan are active members at Southside Baptist Church in Andalusia, where he has participated in several mission trips to Haiti.

“I have been the privilege of serving four terms,” White said. “So, I know first hand the opportunities that this office provides for improving our county.”

White stressed the importance of working well with local leadership.

“When candidates run for a county commission seat, you will hear them refer to things such as roads and bridges, maybe taxes if they are not real careful. You’ll hear them talk about the budget of the county and all of those things are important. Certainly they are part of the commission’s responsibilities, but what I am excited about tonight and where my record proves that I have a unique ability is working well with local leadership to make Covington County a better place to live and raise our families.”

One thing that White wants to bring back is a unified council of governments and make it a priority.

“This is a quarterly meeting of all of our local elected officials from the smallest communities throughout the county,” White said. “We can get together to share common interests and common concerns so we can all become part of the same team as we work together to move our county forward. I worked with others to make these meetings a reality many years ago and I will make it a priority again.”

White wants to work closely with school leadership to make sure tax dollars are stretched as much as they can.

“I have had the privilege of working with our schools in the past years to accomplish almost 50 projects for our schools from playgrounds to parking lots to sites for new buildings,” White said. “Why not do that? That is the way to make our tax payers’ dollars go further.  We have done this before and I will continue to make that a priority.”

He said his most important goal is to work with leadership from across the county to achieve success in economic development.

“You have heard that mentioned from almost every speaker tonight,” White said. “We have to revive our communities and the commissions job in that is to make sure that job creation is a priority. We have had some successes in the past. We recently witnessed Dyncorp bring almost 100 jobs to our county. MFG in Opp has been operating for almost 15 years providing jobs to several dozen citizens in that community. Just a few months ago, we saw Shaw Industries announce a quarter of a million dollars of an investment in Covington County securing 1,100 jobs for the foreseeable future. To do these things and more, we have to work together. To succeed we have to make economic development a priority. We have to provide support for our existing local businesses and listen to our business owners, local chamber of commerce. We have done this before, and I will make it a priority again.”

The primary is March 3, 2020.