Ralph Carmichael said as a retired pastor and traveling missionary, he brings a “unique skillset” to the District 104 Alabama House of Representatives race in west Mobile. Carmichael said his work has carried him around the world to listen to people and help them work together to solve problems.
As the founder of faith-based educational entity West Bay Academy, he said he has traveled to six different countries on three continents, engaging some of the poorest communities in the world to find solutions for basic human needs.
“I went to South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya and Haiti and I worked with all faiths, across the board,” he said. “You begin to understand a lot of problems can’t be handled by the government, they are best handled by the faith-based community.
“But I’ve been around politics since the days of Joseph Langan and John LeFlore. Moving forward as a Reagan republican, I’ve gotten to be a part of the Mobile County Republican Executive Committee as a member, I’m a charter member of Southwest Alabama Minority Republican Party and also a member of the state GOP executive committee. I’ve been actively supporting other candidates all along working diligently on their successful campaigns but when this opportunity came along, I realized now it was the season for me to move forward and run for office.”
Carmichael said he appreciated the service of Jim Barton, who left the seat earlier this month to become a partner in a Montgomery-based lobbying firm, but if he was elected, he would pledge to adopt term limits and not leave before a term was complete. He also said he would donate a portion of his salary toward education, setting aside as much as $50,000 during his second term toward programs aimed at “elevating standards and producing much better students.”
“I’ve always said the secret to success is the Bible in one hand and a degree in the other,” he said. “We’ve got to get a handle on education and focus more of an effort in public schools in Mobile and somehow release ourselves from Washington D.C. micromanaging how we educate our children. It’s a quality of life issue when people who are trained and educated are able to get a better-paying job and consequently have a positive impact on the community and be law-abiding citizens.”
Carmichael is among a group of five republicans who will square off in a special primary election Tuesday, Oct. 15. If necessary, a special primary runoff election will be held Tuesday, Dec. 3. If not, the general election will be Dec. 10.
“The other candidates are very fine individuals but I would like to say what sets me apart is my background and overall experience, being able to move seamlessly between the faith community, the business community and politics,” he said. “I believe the system works but I’m all about getting things done and bringing people together for a common cause as a facilitator. I just want to get things done and I’m not interested in who takes the credit.”