On Thursday, January 27th Danny McCullars became the latest candidate to join the Senate District 12 race. Mr. McCullars joins Wayne Willis, Wendy Draper, and Keith Kelley. Mr. McCullars is the only Democrat currently running. The deadline to qualify is January 28th so without a last minute entry these will the the candidates for this seat. The Calhoun County Journal had the opportunity to speak with Mr. McCullars and ask about his motivation in running and his stance on important issues.
When asked why he wanted to run, Mr. McCullars explained that the “average working folks” of District 12 have contributed greatly to Alabama’s economy and this country’s defense. “We are friends, neighbors and share values, but if we truly want a Republic we need a choice. Only one party being represented is not a choice. Giving all citizens a choice is what is driving me.”
When asked who he is and what he wants voters to know, Mr. McCullars shared that he was born in Anniston Memorial Hospital and is from the western side of the County. He attended Wellborn High school and graduated from Jacksonville State University with an accounting degree. He has worked as a CPA and continues to work in this field now. He has worked with nonprofits, governments, and trade associations.
He feels that his number one duty if elected Senator is to represent the values of the people. He did say he understands consensus has to be found, but representation of the voters is key. The second most important role is to look at oversight. State Senators approve the department heads of government agencies so the process is key.
When asked about the current candidates that he is running against, he was quick to note that he considers Keith Kelley and Wayne Willis as friends and that he has worked with both in the past. As the finance director for the City of Anniston he worked with Mr. Kelley on economic development and with Mr. Willis on the retirement plans for the police and fire departments of Anniston. He also mentioned that he had reached out to both men and looked forward to a campaign of “ideas and respect.”
As for his position on certain key issues, McCullars brought up tax reform. As a CPA he has seen that Alabama tax law and regulations are unfriendly to businesses and Alabama seems to maintain one of the most regressive tax systems in the country. He also wanted to state that things can be better.
On spending he is concerned that the current legislature had to convene in special session to figure out how to spend federal money to enhance broadband internet. Programs throughout state agencies should be looked at more often to identify if everything makes good common sense. Again, he stressed, this comes down to oversight.
On expanding access to health, Mr. McCullars seemed very passionate. He asked why we aren’t providing healthcare for all citizens of Alabama and felt this should be a priority and asked why it wasn’t currently. He also pointed out that lately, most of us have been to the doctor and we often feel pushed through and “it isn’t a valuable time experience. The medical profession has become a commodity driven industry. ”
The Calhoun County Journal reached out to all the candidates to get their reaction to Mr. McCullars entering the race. Mayor Wayne Willis stated that he is sincerely glad to see someone from the opposite side enter the race, and he welcomes debate. He has known Mr. McCullars for many years and respects his opinion. He believes they are both consistent with their opposing party’s stances and while that may put them on opposite sides, he believes that there is room for open debate. He also wanted to state that he believes that is what voters need to hear.
Keith Kelley stated. “I have known Danny and worked with him in the past and look forward to discussing our views during the campaign”.
Mr. McCullars is excited about beginning this process and all the events that are to come. He also wanted to stress that sometimes, politicians forget who they are representing. “We can only try to make our State better for everyone. Government is often common sense, but common sense eludes the government often.”