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Senate election set for this Tuesday

The special primary election for Alabama's senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions earlier this year is set for next Tuesday, August 15. Polls will be open all day from 7 a.m.-7 p.m., across Alabama.

Sessions was appointed Attorney General of the United States earlier this year by President Donald Trump, although Trump has been critical of Sessions in recent days.

A light voter turnout is expected for Tuesday's primary. In an effort to inform voters, the Franklin Free Press offers the following candidate profiles on the eight Democratic and 10 Republican candidates in the order they appear on the ballot:

Democratic Candidates:

--Will Boyd: Boyd, a Lauderdale County resident, pastors St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church of Florence. He is a pro-gun, anti-abortion Democrat. Boyd has unsuccessfully run against Mo Brooks for United States Congress as well as running for the U.S. Senate seat in Illinois vacated by Barack Obama when he became President. He is chairman of the Lauderdale County Democratic Executive Committee.

--Vann Caldwell: Caldwell is a Talladega native who attended the University of Alabama. He worked as a law enforcement officer at the University of Alabama for six years before starting his own security company. He serves as a constable in Talladega County. His three main goals are economic growth with balance to protect the environment, education and military/homeland security. Caldwell's website is www.vanncaldwell.com.

--Jason E. Fisher: The 45-year-old Fisher lives in Orange Beach. He is vice-president and senior consultant at Ruffalo Noel Levitz, a direct marketing firm specializing in nonprofit development. He pledges to fight for high quality healthcare at affordable prices for all Alabamians and to hold pharmaceutical companies accountable to offer prescription drugs at reasonable prices “to ensure the public good is never sacrificed in exchanged for larger corporate profits.” Fisher is the single father of a special-needs daughter. His wife passed away in 2012. Fisher's website is https://fisherforsenate.com.

--Michael Hansen: The 35-year-old Hansen describes himself as a “progressive Democrat.” He was born and raised in Memphis. He is executive director of a nonprofit health advocacy program in Birmigham. He advocates a universal health care program that takes the responsibility of health care off the backs of employers. As a gay man, Hansen says he's seen many members of the LGBT community, along with other segments of our society, suffer from mental health issues. He pledges to work to fix America's mental health epidemic. Hansen is pro-choice on abortion and pledges to oppose any legislation that interferes with a woman's right to choose. His website is www.hansenforalabama.com.

--Doug Jones: A Fairfield native, Jones is a graduate of Cumberland School of Law in Birmingham. He served as staff counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee for Sen. Howell Heflin after law school. Jones served from 1997-2001 as United States Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama. He pledges to make education a priority and to make a quality education available for all Alabamians, regardless of socioeconomic level. Jones supports an increase in the minimum wage. He supports women's rights to contraception and their right to choose on the abortion issue. On the issue of health care, Jones believes that no American should be denied health care due to a pre-existing condition. Jones' website is www.dougjonesforsenate.com.

--Robert Kennedy, Jr: Kennedy grew up in Prichard and attended the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. He spent nine years in active duty in the Navy, including deployments in Japan and Singapore. After his tour, he attended Duke University's Fuqua School of Business, where he earned his Masters of Business Administration. As a veteran, Kennedy pledges to bring honor and integrity to the U.S. Senate. He supports the Affordable Care Act , although he hopes to work to correct some flaws in the ACA, including escalating insurance costs for Alabamians. He advocates a success criteria for government funding of programs, meaning such programs are subject to review and those that meet their goals and objectives will continue to receive funding. Kennedy's website is www.teamkennedy2017.org.

--Brian McGee: McGee, a veteran and an educator from Lee County, will appear on Democratic primary ballots although he dropped out of the race last month. McGee endorsed Jones at the time he withdrew from the race.

--Charles Nana: The oldest of 14 children, Nana earned his undergraduate mechanical engineering degree from Howard University and his masters in biomedical engineering from Catholic University. He promises a “fresh new wind” of leadership in Alabama. His platform includes ensuring all Alabamians can work for a liveable wage, working for care and opportunity for the poor and veterans and judicial reform, including restricting judges from overriding jury sentence recommendations in death penalty cases. Nana's website is www.nanaforsenate.com.


Republican Candidates:

--James Paul Beretta: Beretta grew up in Lincoln, Rhode Island. He attended medical school at NOVA South Eastern Medical School and has been a doctor the last 30 years in Pelham. Beretta says his first order of business as senator would be to work to repeal the Affordable Care Act and open up interstate buying of insurance to develop competition. He also wants to see Medicaid restructured. Beretta wants to work for a restructured tax system that eases the burden on small business. He also vows to remove Core education and raise the standard of living for active military with pay raises. Beretta's website is www.jamesberetta2017.com.

--Joseph F. Breault: Breault is by far the least visible candidate in the race. He has no website, has done no advertising and has not granted any media interviews. Breault serves as a chaplain at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery. He previously served as chaplain at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Salt Lake City, according to www.al.com.

--Randy Brinson: Brinson is a gastroenterologist in Montgomery. A lifelong Republican, Brinson served as head of the Christian Coalition of Alabama until this year. In 2006, Brinson formed a political consulting company, Optimum Impact. In 2008, he served as campaign adviser and consultant to Gov. Mike Huckabee's presidential campaign. In 2010, working with Alabama Agriculture Commissioner John McMillan, Brinson formed a new marketing company, Panamerican Marketing Group, LLC, to promote Alabama products overseas. Brinson pledges to work to eliminate what he calls “job-killing regulations” that must be eliminated to stimulate Alabama's economy.

--Mo Brooks: Brooks serves in the United States Congress representing Alabama's 5th Congressional District. He serves on the Armed Forces, Foreign Affairs and Science, Space and Technology Committees. He was a founding member of the Freedom Caucus, a group of fiscal and social conservative representatives. Brooks has earned an “A” lifetime rating from the National Rifle Association. He pledges to continue to vote against spending increases and to work to return America to a “sustainable fiscal path.” His website states Brooks has voted more than 50 times to repeal or defund Obamacare in whole or in part. Brooks' website is https://mobrooksforsenate.com.

--Dom Gentile: Hoover businessman Dom Gentile dropped out of the crowded GOP Senate race last month and endorsed Congressman Mo Brooks. Gentile's name will still appear on primary ballots.

--Mary Maxwell: The only woman in either race, Maxwell moved earlier this year from Australia to Montgomery. Maxwell has little to no connection to Alabama, but she does meet the requirements to run for senate, which include being an American citizen, being 30 years of age or older and having lived in Alabama at least one day. Maxwell has a PhD in Politics from the University of Adelaide. She pledges to maintain strict adherence to the U.S. Constitution if elected. She has an active anti-war stance, saying she's opposed to war in all circumstances. She was born and raised in Boston and moved to Australia after meeting her Australian husband in 1980. She lists her profession as researcher. Her website is www.maxwellforsenate.com.

--Roy S. Moore: Moore was raised in Attalla and graduated from Etowah High School in 1965. He attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where he graduated in 1969 with a Bachelor of Science in Arts and Engineering. After graduating from the University of Alabama School of Law in 1977, Moore worked in the Etowah County District Attorney's Office for five years. Moore has twice served as Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, having been removed from office both times. Moore advocates lower taxes, smaller government and less spending. He supports a flat tax or a fair tax, a tax on goods and services purchased rather than a tax on income. Moore supports the use of military to protect the country's borders. His website is www.roymoore.org.

--Bryan Peeples: An Auburn native, Peeples grew up in six different states. Peeples, 37, serves as a consultant to small and medium-sized restaurants and hotels. He advocates tax reform and will work for term limits, pledging to serve only two terms if elected as senator. On his website, Peeples posted a Contract of Service to the People of Alabama with nine provisions, including a pledge not to take any special interest monies, to be approachable to his constituents and to donate a portion of his salary as senator to charity. He also posted his plans for healthcare reform and health insurance reform. Peeples' website is www.bryanpeeples.com.

--Trip Pittman: Pittman serves in the Alabama Senate, representing the state's 32nd District. A long-time Baldwin County resident, Pittman founded his business, Pittman Tractor Company, in 1988. He is a graduate of the University of Alabama where he participated in the ROTC Program and was commissioned as an Army Second Lieutenant. Pittman was reelected to a third term in the Alabama Senate in 2018, receiving more than 81 percent of the vote. He describes himself as “Alabama's most effective conservative legislator.” With experience in Montgomery as Education Budget Chairman and General Fund Budget Chairman, Pittman worked to help balance Alabama's budget the past seven years and he hopes to take that same fiscal responsibility to Washington. On his website, Pittman says the greatest guarantee the government can offer is “the right to serve the Lord in how you worship, run your business and spread His word.” Pittman's website is www.tripforsenate.com.

--Luther Strange: A Birmingham native, Strange served as Alabama's Attorney General before being appointed to the United States Senate by Gov. Robert Bentley earlier this year. After the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Strange served as the court-appointed coordinating counsel for southeast states. He worked for the landmark settlement that paid damages to Alabama for environmental and economic damage. Strange attended Tulane University on a basketball scholarship and later graduated from Tulane Law School. He serves on the Senate Committee for the Armed Forces, the Senate Budget Committee and the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. Strange describes himself as a staunch supporter of President Trump, particularly on the issues of a border wall and the travel ban. Strange's website is www.strange.senate.gov.


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