County commission district 4 race heats up

Published 4:03 am Monday, May 5, 2008

By By Lisa Tindell
Campaigning activity is heating up across the county with six county seats up for election in June.
The Escambia County Probate office is responsible for overseeing the election process for the county. Maxine Butts, a member of the staff of the probate office, said qualifying for candidacy has ended with the primary election just weeks away.
The general election has been set for Nov. 4 and will determine who will be sitting in the seats up for election this year.
Offices up for election will be Escambia County tax assessor, tax collection, commissioner for districts 2 and 4, board of education representatives for districts 1 and 5.
The office of Escambia County Tax Assessor is currently occupied by Jim Hildreth. Escambia County’s tax collector is Joy Wiggins. Neither candidate up for re-election has any competition for the office. In the Escambia County Commission district 2 race, incumbent Todd Williamson is being challenged by Raymond Wiggins.
Democrat Brandon Smith and republicans James Junior Hall and Kevin McKinley are challenging district 4 County Commissioner William H. Brown for his seat.
Escambia County School Board seats for district 1 and 5 are up for election. In the district 1 race, Byron Palmer is challenging incumbent Michael Goolsby. Willie J. Grissett is running unopposed for the District 5 position.
County Commission District 4 Candidates
James Junior Hall
Hall was born and raised in the Atmore area. He is an active member of Atmore First Assembly of God Church. He is also a member of the Cattleman Association and serves as the Canoe Civic Club president.
Hall served as commissioner from 2000-04. Before he was elected, he attended county commissioner meetings to stay up-to-date with the counties needs. He has completed the basic education requirements for county commissioner members as required by state law so he can serve the district better.
According to his campaign statement, Hall is fully qualified to affectively uphold the duties of Escambia County commissioner district 4. Hall would like to serve district 4 with honor and integrity as he did during his last term.
Kevin McKinley
McKinley is a lifelong resident of the district. He was born and raised in Canoe to Helen and Henry McKinley and his grandfather was Fred McKinley, who moved to the area during the Depression.
McKinley is a member of the Naval Reserve, where he is in Naval law enforcement. However he is inactive due to his private practice in town. He took the bar exam in Feb. of 2007 and found out he passed the exam in April of 2007.
McKinley is engaged to Sondra Reed, who grew up in the Atmore area. He attends Canoe First Baptist Church, where he teaches Sunday school. He has written three books about local history and also writes a weekly column in The Tri-City Ledger about regional history.
McKinley is an attorney in Atmore and is running for the republican seat for District 4. He is most concerned with giving the every day resident a voice in county government. He said he will oppose any tax increase of any kind unless there is a clear justification and accountability placed on where the money is going.
McKinley said he would be happy to answer any questions regarding his position for District 4 by phone at 294-2051 or email at
Brandon Smith
Smith, 37, is an Atmore native. He’s the son of David Smith of Atmore and Judy Palmer of Brewton. He has worked with his father at Atmore Auto Parts Inc. since he was 13 years old. He is married to Sharon Smith and the couple has a daughter, Madelyn. He is also an active member of Robinsonville Baptist Church, where he’s a deacon, Trustee, Sunday school director and on the building and grounds committee.
Smith said because of his family values, Christian background and because he is a business owner, he understands the needs of the community members in district 4.
Smith said his father taught him many years ago that every customer should be treated fairly and with respect and that he would take that work ethic into the job if he is elected as county commissioner.
Smith said he will not support any tax. He said leaders must find a way to conduct business without further hardships on taxpayers. And if elected, Smith said he will be accessible to the people that make up district 4.
William H. Brown
Brown is a member of Sardis Baptist Church in Wawbeek and has worked at Swift Companies of Atmore in sales and management for more than 25 years. He graduated from Escambia County High School and also attended East Mississippi Junior College and Livingston University. He’s married to June (Taylor) Brown and they have five children including, Shannon Teal, Pam Hall, Chris Shannon, Lindsey Brown and the youngest, Ryan, who is currently completely his tour of duty with the Marine Corp. in Iraq.
According to Brown, if he is re-elected, he will continue his open-door policy for individuals in district 4. He also said he will also ensure District 4 will continue to receive a fair share of funds due.
Advance managing editor Adrienne McKenzie contributed to this article.

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