Tim Sprayberry, chairman of the county party, said local committees are allowed to open qualifying earlier or later than the state party, though the committees cannot alter the closing date. Statewide qualifying for Republicans is scheduled to begin on Jan. 13 and end at 5 p.m. Feb. 7.
Sprayberry said the earlier qualifying date doesn’t give Cleburne County candidates any advantage. Potential candidates have been able to announce their intent to run and raise campaign contributions since June 2013. Qualifying just certifies the candidates’ plans to run, he said.
Three Republicans have qualified for local elections so far. Cleburne County Revenue Commissioner Joyce Fuller and District 3 County Commissioner Benji Langley both qualified for re-election. Chief Sheriff’s Deputy Dennis Green, a political newcomer, qualified to run for sheriff.
Cleburne County Sheriff Joe Jacks said he would be retiring at the end of his current term.
Fuller, of Heflin, will be running for her second six-year term as revenue commissioner. She was elected in 2008 and took office in March 2009, a little ahead of the scheduled term set to begin in October, Fuller said. Her predecessor left the position early and she was appointed by then-Gov. Bob Riley, Fuller said.
Since taking office, Fuller has become certified as a tax administrator. She said the process takes four years and requires 120 hours of classroom instruction from Auburn University. She passed her certification test in March 2013, Fuller said.
Fuller said she wants people to know she is eager to continue as revenue commissioner.
“This job is very important to the functioning of the county,” Fuller said.
Green, a Heflin resident, said he is running for sheriff because he feels he can help make positive changes in the county. His two greatest concerns are illegal drugs and child abuse, he said.
Green said he’s worked in the Sheriff’s Office for 23 years and has seen how illegal drugs have driven up crime. He said he’s worked several murder investigations in which drugs were a factor. During interrogations, Green said, he has heard countless people say they stole property to get money for drugs.
“I’ve never heard anybody say they did it to buy food,” Green said. “Get rid of the drugs and it will reduce theft and things.”
He said he would start by appointing a second deputy to investigate drug crimes and introduce more drug education programs for local students.
Green also said he will work closely with the Department of Human Resources to ensure abused children are placed in safe houses where they won’t experience abuse again.
Commissioner Langley of Ranburne is serving his first term. There are several projects underway in the Ranburne area, including road improvements on County Road 10, that Langley would like to see through, he said.
“Once you get ’em started you don’t want to just up and leave ’em,” Langley said.
Working as commissioner is a job Langley enjoys because he wants to improve the county, he said.
“It’s really a job you learn by doing,” Langley said, adding he now has three years’ experience under his belt.
Staff writer Laura Camper: 256-235-3545. On Twitter @LCamper_Star.