Four candidates squaring off for District 67 rep.

Published 6:48 pm Saturday, January 28, 2017

Tuesday voters will go to the polls to elect Dallas County and parts of Perry County’s next state representative.

Four candidates will be on the ballot, two from Selma and two from Orrville. The names that will appear on the ballot are Raymond Butler, Prince Chestnut, Valenci’a Quest and Latrell Richardson.

We spoke to each one about why they are running for office, experience they have that qualifies them for the position and why they are the best choice for voters.

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Raymond Butler, a self-employed building contractor, has run for the Dallas County Commission, but he has never held political office. Butler said he decided to run for District 67 because he feels like he can represent the area well.

“I kind of like to serve others, and I like the Democratic process,” Butler said. “I don’t like this stuff like we’ve had on the national scene, and I think I can bring something from our area over to Montgomery. Maybe we’ve already had such, but I would like to have good representation over there, and I think I can bring that.”

Butler said he does not have any experience in politics, but his success as a self-employed contractor will help him if he were to be elected.

“I’m not a politician. I made my living otherwise. I’ve been kind of successful,” he said.

“I think I can help the state with some of the issues that they’ve got, like the General Fund. They’ve got to do something about it.”

Butler said he would be the best choice for the House seat because he will represent the people.

“I’m not retired, but I’m sort of semi-retired, and I’m able to speak my mind and I don’t have to hold back,” Butler said. “I’ll stand up for my party and the people I represent.”

He has lived in Orrville all his life except for two years when he served in the military. Butler said he is a Vietnam veteran.

Prince Chestnut is a Selma native. He is a lawyer and serves as municipal judge for the city of Selma. He said he was inspired to run because he wants to make a better future for his child.

“I have a nine-month old … and you look at the world a lot different when you have a child. You start thinking about the local community, and you want to have an environment and an education for your child to flourish,” he said. “The other factor is you don’t want to leave things up to chance and have ineffective representation.”

Chestnut said he is qualified for District 67 because he has experience in law, whether it is practicing law as a lawyer or writing policy for municipalities and counties he has worked for over the last 15 years.

“Being a legislator is synonymous with being a lawmaker. I’m a lawyer that actually has a focused practice that gives me a special skillset that uniquely qualifies me to be a legislator,” he said. “It has given me a very good insight into how policy is made.”

Chestnut said he is the best choice for the seat because of his experience.

“I’m focused on using that to bring something tangible to our community, and in fact, I’m able to work with people across racial lines, political lines, my entire career demonstrates that,” he said.

“I have a record that people can look at, and I have a character that people can also look at and judge and determine who is the best person to get something done in Montgomery.”

Valenci’a Quest, who lives in Beloit, graduated from the University of Detroit Mercy with a bachelor of arts degree in political science. Quest is originally from Michigan, and she said she is running to give people in District 67 hope.

“People need someone that is going to be working for the people and not working for just a select group,” she said.

Quest said she has not held political office before, but she has worked in the House of Representatives. She said she is the best choice for voters because

“I have looked out to see what the people have talked about. I don’t believe anyone else has done that,” she said. “I believe that my vision can be implemented. Some of the things people were working on that were never passed but proposed, I believe they can be tweaked and implemented.”

Latrell Richardson, a graduate from Southside High School and Wallace Community College Selma, has served as the maintenance director at Park Place Nursing and Rehabilitation Center for 11 years.

Richardson said he is running for office because the legislature needs change.

“I’m just an average guy that wants to go fight for the people,” Richardson said. “I feel like we need a person in office that really cares about the people and has the people’s best interest at heart. It’s not about using power to do anything. It is more about for the people, taking back our communities. There is nothing going good right now. Everything seems to be going backward instead of going forward.”

He does not have a political background, but he said that is what the legislature needs, someone that does not represent tradition.

“People always talk about we want change, but we’ve got to make the initiative to put people in there that really want change, not people that are going to go on with tradition,” he said.

“We need to move forward. My whole vision is to keep the progress moving forward.”

Richardson said he would be the best choice at the polls Tuesday because he cares about the people he would represent.

“I care about people I’ve never seen before,” he said. “I care about people that need help. I care about people that don’t need help, but as a whole, as a community, we need somebody to stand up for us and just be that voice for us that we need.”

Polls open at 7 a.m. Tuesday morning.