Lawrence District 1 Candidates Want Population Growth | News

A challenger for the Lawrence County Commission’s District 1 headquarters said he wanted to help the district overcome the loss of its only high school and aggressively recruit new businesses, while the incumbent said that he would continue to work on projects derailed by COVID and quality of life projects.

Retired Lawrence County Sheriff’s Deputy Amard Martin, 45, will make his political debut in the May 24 Democratic primary against incumbent Jesse Byrd, who is seeking his second term in the district covering the northern part of the county.

“The challenges of District 1 are ahead of us with the closure of RA Hubbard High,” said Martin, who now works for Walden Security. “We have a chance of losing more residents as some residents will leave the county closer to work for better schools for their children. This will put a strain on District 1 as it would be hard to justify investing money in a declining population.

Martin said jobs and improved infrastructure are key to keeping residents from leaving the district.

“I know we need someone who is going to fight to bring big business to our district,” he said.

Martin said generating more taxes and growth can help bring back a high school as well as helping seniors and improving roads.

“It will also increase the number of entrepreneurs who want to set up shop here,” he said.

Seeking his second term, Byrd, 61, cited employee salary increases, improved quality of life operations and the county’s continued growth among accomplishments during his first four years in office.

“I believe we have a good thing going on in the county which has the potential to help us grow and develop,” he said. “After our county employees went many years without a pay raise, we were able to give them pay raises, a bonus for the past two years. The Singing River Trail with its outdoor activities will also pass through the county. I want to help give people a reason to live in and visit Lawrence County.

The Singing River Trail is a vision for a long-distance trail in northern Alabama that connects communities, provides outdoor opportunities for residents, and drives economic development in the region. Activities on the trails range from hiking to mountain biking.

Byrd said most of his first-term goals were sidetracked by the pandemic, but he gained valuable experience.

“I’ve had the opportunity to see how county government works, and it’s time to put that experience to good use. I believe I would be the best choice to continue to help us grow and grow this county,” he said. “We are on a good path at the moment and I would like to continue with a margin of adjustment if necessary.”

Both candidates highlighted population growth in District 1 as a top priority.

According to the 2020 census, the district’s population fell from 6,159 in 2010 to 5,064 in 2020, a drop of 1,095 residents which forced the commission to expand the district.

The district lost the county’s largest employer, International Paper, in 2014, Hazlewood High School closed in 2009, and RA Hubbard will close at the end of this school year.

Town Creek, Courtland, Hillsboro and North Courtland are the four municipalities in the district.

The county’s population decreased by 1,266 people, from 34,339 in the 2010 census to 33,073 in the 2020 census data released in 2021. Electoral districts were redrawn in 2021 to ensure more equality in the five county districts. The District 1 area expanded southward and its population grew to 6,332.

There are no Republican challengers in the District 1 race.

Office is looking for: Lawrence County District 1 Commissioner; salary: $26,062.63; term: four years

Political experience: First term as District 1 Commissioner

Job: Retired supervisor of International Paper in Courtland; District Commissioner 1

Education: Graduated from Courtland High School; associate degree in math and engineering from Wallace State Community College in Hanceville

Family: Wife, Barbara Pride Byrd; two adult children

Online campaign: Jesse Byrd on Facebook

Office is looking for: Lawrence County District 1 Commissioner; salary: $26,062.63; term: four years

Job: Employed by Walden Security; retired from the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office

Education: Graduated from Courtland High School; BS in Criminal Justice from the University of Phoenix; Masters of Business Administration from Alabama A&M

Family: Married with three children

Online campaign site: @ElectAmardMartin on Facebook