Candidates vie for state representative slot

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 4, 2006

The Selma Times-Journal

Incumbent Yusuf Salaam, a Democrat, faces independent candidate Adney Taylor and Freedom Party candidate Cliff E. Albright in the race for State Representative District 67.

Yusuf Salaam

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The incumbent State Rep. Yusuf Salaam is completing his first term as representative for District 67.

Salaam says the key to politics in Montgomery as opposed to local politics is one word &045; knowledge.

Salaam said that legislators cannot make the law if they have no conceptual knowledge of the legal process.

In addition, because of the many people a state representative deals with, Salaam said it’s important to have superb debating skills.

A state representative also must have a well-rounded knowledge of politics and government. &8220;Otherwise, you’ll be sitting as a state representative for three or four terms without having a major impact on legislative deliberations.

&8220;As an incumbent, I have to be able to influence and shape the wheels of 107 other legislative persons to do what you want them to do,&8221; he said.

He said that in the past four years, there has not been another legislative &8220;rookie&8221; who has been more skilled in the State House.

He said that legislators must be able to relate to their colleagues and gain influence on individuals such as the Speaker of the House, or groups such as the AEA.

Salaam said the real work of a legislator doesn’t take place on the House floor, but in committee work.

It’s the committee system that really makes or breaks a bill, so it’s important for a representative to get some standing, so that they are in a seniority position on an important committee. A bill must get out of the committee in order to be voted on the House floor.

Salaam said that if a member of the House is not respected, they won’t be able to get their bills heard by the committees.

Other work takes place back home in the district, by talking with constituents and working with local officials, he said.

Earlier this year, Salaam helped facilitate work on Highway 22 in Valley Grande by traveling with Mayor Tom Lee to Montgomery to discuss the issue at the Department of Transportation.

Adney Taylor

Adney Taylor said he’s running independent because he wants &8220;people to look at each candidate &045; what their vision is for the future.&8221;

Taylor said the primary reason he’s running is &8220;for our children and grandchildren.&8221;

He worked as a school teacher, then an administrator before retiring about four years ago. Twenty-five of those years were spent in Dallas County schools.

Decreasing classroom size is one of the most important things we can do to help our children receive a proper education, he said. &8220;One of the first things I would do is restore funding to get smaller class sizes,&8221; he said.

Taylor, who is a member of Elkdale Baptist Church, also said he would work to promote family values.

As to the role of state representative, Taylor said his years as a school principal taught him to work with a lot of different &8220;constituent groups,&8221; including students, parents, teachers and community members. That experience will help him as a state representative. &8220;Definitely, I am qualified to handle the job,&8221; he said.

He currently owns Taylor Sports and said he can relate to small business owners. &8220;That’s the backbone of most small communities,&8221; he said.

In other issues, Taylor said he’d like to see the state take a tough stand against illegal immigration. &8220;The states must deal with it since the federal government will not,&8221; he said. While he admitted that Alabama doesn’t have the problem that states in the Southwest are seeing, he said, &8220;if you don’t stop a problem before it gets out of control, then it’s too late.&8221;

The country has a process of entering the country legally. &8220;I have no problem with people who have done that,&8221; he said. &8220;But it’s not right to have 12 million illegal immigrants and not doing anything about it.&8221;

As an independent candidate, Taylor said that if elected he would look at each issue on its own. &8220;I’d see what best reflects my values.&8221;

One action he believes would help average residents is to reduce the sales tax on food.

Taylor said he only plans to serve for four years and has no political agenda to run for any other office.

He said he believes that if people &8220;vote their beliefs and values, they’ll make the right choice.&8221;

Cliff E. Albright

Attempts to contact Freedom Party candidate Cliff E. Albright were unsuccessful.