Small business owner Bruce Whitlock is making his first foray into politics by challenging incumbent Alabama Sen. Paul Bussman, R-Cullman, for the Republican nomination for the District 4 seat.
Whitlock, 60, owns Trimble landmark Whitlock General Store and Cafe and has worked as a bus driver for Cullman County Schools for 28 years. He said while this is his first run for public office, he’s always been interested in politics.
“I always wanted to find a way to give back to the community, and I’ve heard many people talk about how they wish there was someone in Montgomery that shared their values,” Whitlock said. “I feel like I relate to a lot of people and I can serve constituents how they want and deserve to be served.”
If elected Whitlock said he’d like to find ways to improve education for Alabama’s children and encourage bright people to become teachers, rather than force them to look to other states or professions for jobs.
As a former poultry and cattleman farmer, Whitlock said he’d like to look for ways to help small farmers, particularly given the significance of agriculture to District 4 which covers areas of Cullman, Lawrence, Winston and Marion counties.
“Farmers are having a tough time right now, and especially the small farms that are disappearing,” he said. “We need to look at the regulations for them and what we can do to make it easier for small farms.”
He added the state should look at what can be done with rules and regulations to help encourage small businesses. Whitlock said another area he’d like to focus on are ways to foster growth of Alabama-made goods.
“It’s cheaper to import products made in foreign countries than it is to make them right here in Alabama,” he said. “I think we need to look at that and find out why. Alabama used to have the number one port at one time and now we’re way down the list.”
As a conservative Republican, Whitlock said he believes government has its place but it should be kept as small as possible and out of citizens’ homes and lives. He said he is also a strong supporter of Second Amendment rights.
“People tell me I need to start dressing like a senator,” Whitlock joked. “I think the people I’ve met while out campaign find my straight forward approach refreshing.”
Whitlock is a member of Sardis Baptist Church and Trimble Volunteer Fire Department as an emergency medical technician (EMT) and search and recovery diver. He’s been active in coaching basketball and baseball at Good Hope schools along with being an avid outdoorsman, motorcyclist and horseback rider.
The primary is June 3, with the runoff July 15 and the general election Nov. 3.
Residence: Trimble community
Family: Married to wife Beatrice for 38 years with three children, Brandi, Branch (Jordan) and Brody.
Education: Graduated from Good Hope High School and attended Wallace State Community College
Career: Bus driver for Cullman County Schools for 28 years, owner of Whitlock General Store and Cafe for 20 years and former poultry and cattle farmer.
Tiffeny Owens can be reached by email at email@example.com or phone at 256-734-2131, ext. 135.