The race for the District 3 seat on the Baldwin County Commission is one of the most crowded on the ballot for the June 5 primaries with three Republicans and one Democrat vying for the seat. It is topped only by the five-man field in the Probate Judge race.
Republicans include incumbent Tucker Dorsey, Will McDaniel and Billie Jo Underwood. The only Democrat signed up is Heather Brown.
Dorsey, a real estate developer and business consultant, is seeking his third term McDaniel is a retired nurse, farmer and lifelong resident of District 3 who has run before but has yet to win. Rounding out the Republican ballot is newcomer Billie Jo Underwood, a CPA who lives in Summerdale.
Brown, a freelance writer, indie author and writing coach, is from Summerdale and has been a resident of Baldwin County for 29 years. This is her first run for office and since she has no Democratic opponent she will face the eventual Republican winner in the November general election.
Growth and its effects on county infrastructure is near the top of each candidates’ issues.
“Finding the proper balance of economic growth and opportunity while maintaining a great quality of life is key to the long-term success of the county,” Underwood said.
Dorsey, who was in office when the Baldwin Beach Express was extended to I-10, would like to see the efforts for better roads continue.
“We need to continue road capacity and traffic improvements, landing a tenant at the Megasite, building the Beach Express to I-65 and improving east-west transportation in the county,” Dorsey said. Restore Act funds were recently approved for right-of-way acquisition for the extension to I-65.
McDaniel says he’d like to see more improvements to a struggling sewage system strained even more by the county’s record growth.
“It is a shame that we continually have overflowing sewers due to poor planning,” McDaniel said. “Now that we realize the problem, I don’t understand why our elected officials aren’t tackling this problem aggressively until a solution is found.”
The environmental impact of growth needs to be addressed, Democrat Brown said.
“We may not be able to eliminate everything but we can make sure we are doing the best we can with new development as well as making sure existing developments are maintaining environmental safety,” Brown said.
Dorsey cited the many advances the county has made during his two terms including an aggressive road resurfacing program and helping find funding for Baldwin County schools, among others.
McDaniel said his status as a lifelong resident of District 3 puts him in a unique position to know the area, the people and what problems need to be addressed.
“Not only is it where I was born and raised, but it is where my wife and children have all called home,” McDaniel said. “It has been a lifelong dream of mine to be a commissioner.”
Underwood said her experience as an accountant will help in “developing strategic fiscal management and maintaining economic growth while preserving the quality of life we enjoy.”
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