Commission Chair candidates

Cullman County Commission Chairman candidates, from left, are Philip Widner, Jeff “Clem” Clemons, Wiley Kitchens, and Kenneth Walker (incumbent).

The campaign season leading up to the party primary election next March is mostly filled with unopposed incumbents — but the scarcity of locally-contested races doesn’t mean the time will pass quietly.

Two local races will see challenges to sitting incumbents, including a four-way race for the chairman’s seat on the Cullman County Commission, as well as a two-person contest for the West Point seat on the Cullman County School Board.

In the county’s top office, sitting county commission chairman Kenneth Walker will seek to defend his seat against three GOP contenders. The District 1 seat in the Cullman County School Board race also has a single challenger to incumbent board member Gene Sullins. Most of the candidates in both races have either sought or won local elected office in the past, and all of them have a background in public service.

Here’s a quick introduction to the candidates — all Republicans — who’ve qualified to appear on the March primary ballot for local races. In both instances, we include the incumbent as the first candidate in his respective race, followed by an alphabetical listing of the challengers.

Cullman County Commission Chairman

Kenneth Walker (incumbent)

Cullman County’s budget has been in the black for the past six years. I’ve really appreciated the opportunity to serve our citizens for back-to-back terms as commission chairman — and I’d be honored by the opportunity to continue serving the people of Cullman County for a third term.

Jeff “Clem” Clemons

I want to be a transparent and conservative steward of taxpayer money, and I’ll work with my fellow commissioners to improve our roads, make life better for our citizens, for our county employees, and to keep water rates as low as possible. I am not running “against” anyone — just for the citizens of our county.

Wiley Kitchens

I want to make a difference on the county commission, and I want our commission to be unified. I will take on the challenge of drug and alcohol abuse and addiction to help free people, both addicts and the ones they hurt, who suffer at the hands of an increasingly significant problem in our county.

Philip Widner

Our country has started moving forward under new leadership, and it’s time for our county to do the same. I have over 25 years’ experience in governmental management and engineering, with a strong desire to lead our county to a better future.

Cullman County School Board District 1 (West Point)

Cullman County School Board District 1

Cullman County School Board District 1 (West Point) candidates, are Wayne Willingham, left, and Gene Sullins (incumbent).

Gene Sullins (incumbent)

There are a lot of things that we’ve started that I’m a part of, and I would love to stay on as your board member to see these things through and finished. All schools are in great need, and we are working on ways to help generate more funds so that we can take care of our schools’ needs.

Wayne Willingham

I want to try and help the community and help our schools, because we have a lot of needs — but we don’t seem to stay focused on one thing at a time. I also have grandkids in the school system, and I’m concerned about the direction that education is heading in other places…and I don’t want our schools to move away from a solid, history-based curriculum that focuses on our values.

As the election calendar moves forward, The Times will be inviting each candidate to sit down for a one-on-one discussion to outline his plans and goals — so stay tuned for in-depth interviews that dive into in the issues in the weeks to come. Alabama’s 2020 primary election for both the Democratic and Republican parties will be held on March 3.

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