The District 96 race offers an anomaly in Alabama politics, where two Democrats are vying for the seat in the June 5 runoff while Republicans are only offering up one candidate, Matt Simpson, for the seat.
It’s the only office on the ballot in Baldwin County with two Democratic candidates. Simpson will face either Maurice Horsey or Web Whiting in the November general election. Randy Davis previously held the seat but is not seeking re-election. All three are seeking public office for the first time.
House District 96 is the only House district covering portions of both Baldwin and Mobile counties. Baldwin areas include Bromley, Spanish Fort, Daphne and Montrose and in Mobile includes portions of Creola, Satsuma, Saraland and Chickasaw.
Horsey is retired from management positions in the YMCA and has lived in Daphne since 2015. He said he believes special interests have too much sway in Alabama politics.
“Plainly, we haven’t gotten what we need from our leadership in Montgomery,” Horsey said. “Too much time has been spent on special interests and too little or no time on our interests.”
For Whiting, a bartender from Spanish Fort who is working toward a degree in secondary education, health care and taking care of workers are top concerns.
“I think my two largest priorities when elected will be to guarantee health justice and the rights of our workers, the single greatest strides we can take to begin creating a gentler, fairer and more compassionate society,” he said. “I want to bring back unions stronger and better than ever to fight economic inequality here in Alabama.”
Simpson, a 13-year veteran prosecutor, said maintaining law and order will be priorities he’ll work toward if elected.
“The opportunity to go to Montgomery and serve in a capacity to affect legislation and have input into the creation of laws instead of just enforcement of them would be a dream come true,” Simpson said. “I work every day in the courtroom to be a voice for the people, and I believe strongly in servant leadership.”
Growth is the big issue for both counties, all three candidates said, and Horsey said he’d like to see citizens working together to handle the problems growth brings.
“I envision a community where residents and visitors alike can enjoy the area’s natural resources and a high quality of life that is sustained through proactive growth management planning,” Horsey said.
Whiting said growth is fine as long as it doesn’t displace people or divide communities.
“There’s a real fear and a real possibility that here on the Gulf Coast growth is not going to go proportionately to the people who already live here, and especially to the people who need assistance,” Whiting said. “We need to make sure people are not kicked out of their lifelong communities as Baldwin continues to grow.”
The infrastructure to handle the growth, Simpson said, is one of his top three priorities.
“The three areas that I would focus on would be infrastructure, public safety and mental health,” Simpson said. “We must make the investment into our roads and bridges to keep our economy flourishing.”