Montgomery County Board of Education vice president Heather Sellers, announcing her run for the Alabama House of Representatives, said Thursday she would focus on reducing crime, reforming education and creating jobs.
Sellers, who touted her years as a Republican activist, joins an increasing number of local officials vying to replace former state Rep. Jay Love, who resigned Aug. 1.
“I am not new to Republican conservative causes,” Sellers said to family, supporters and reporters at the Goodwin Community Center on Perry Hill Road.
Sellers expressed concerns about the murder rate this year in Montgomery.
“This is a wonderful district that is concerned with the crime rate,” she said. Sellers said there are too many repeat offenders, with some being arrested dozens of times, and said the repercussions are “not strong enough.” She said she wants to lead the reform of the criminal justice system.
When asked about specifics on how to address criminal justice reform and education reform, the candidate pointed to an article in the Thursday Montgomery Advertiser about a program intended to target truancy in Montgomery Public Schools. She said it is important to address truancy and keep children off of the street. Sellers said, as a school board member, she has been very supportive of the initiative targeting truancy that is operated out of the office of Montgomery County District Attorney Ellen Brooks. She also said school districts should teach character education.
Sellers said she was interested in running soon after Love announced his resignation, but said she wanted to hear from voters before deciding whether to enter the race. When asked whether she sent fundraising letters to lobbyists during that time, she said she sent letters to “everyone” including friends, people who supported her previous campaign efforts, and lobbyists. Sellers said she also called more than 1,000 voters during those three weeks.
Sellers and her husband Rick have long been involved in conservative politics. They have both served as elected members of the Alabama Republican Executive Committee with her serving three terms. They have two children who attend Montgomery public schools.
Sellers, who works in marketing and advertising, is serving a six-year term on the school board that ends in November 2014. She said she believes her time on the board has taught her some things that other lawmakers do not know.
Then-Gov. Bob Riley appointed Sellers to serve on the state’s Textbook Committee.
Sellers joins former Montgomery County Board of Education president Charlotte Meadows and Montgomery County Commissioner Dimitri Polizos in the race for the vacated District 74 seat. All three are Republicans. Love, R-Montgomery, resigned to pursue business and education advocacy opportunities.
Current state Rep. Joe Hubbard, D-Montgomery, has said he is considering the race. Officials in the secretary of state’s office have said Hubbard, since he does not live in the current district, would not meet residency requirements. But Hubbard believes, with the way the law redrawing the district lines for the 2014 elections was written, that he meets residency requirements because the lines drawn for the 2014 election would apply. Hubbard lives in the District 74 redrawn for the 2014 election, but not the current district. District 74 encompasses most of north-central Montgomery between I-85 and Northern Boulevard.
The primary in the special election for the seat will be Oct. 8.
When asked how she would separate herself in a growing field of candidates, Sellers pointed to her history of work as a conservative and said she is “one of the hardest workers out there.”
– posted by Sebastian Kitchen