District 5 State Representative Dan Williams has been involved in public service all his adult life, whether it has been in his current position, serving on Athens City Council, as the Mayor of Athens, on the Athens City School Board of Education, or as part of the National Guard.
Dan graduated from Athens High School and Auburn University. He served for 26 years in the 1343rd Engineering Battalion based in Athens, and finished his military service in the Guard with the rank of First Sergeant.
He served on the Athens City Board of Education from 1979 until 1984, was on the Athens City Council from 1984 until 1992, and then was Mayor of Athens until 2010 when he was elected to the House. He also spent 25 years working for the State of Alabama in Human Resources. He is married to Kay, has four children and seven grandchildren.
Just as for the rest of us, technology has made a huge difference in the way he does his work. Through social media he is able to stay far more closely and quickly in touch with his constituents, and has found that they really appreciate it. He makes a point of referring them to sites where they can get the full description of a pending bill, and inform them the moment a vote comes through. “I give them everything we do,” he said. He also told me, “People like to know what we’re doing, and they enjoy the discourse and debate.”
Representative Williams has core values that are important to most of us in District 5. He is a strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment, and does not want to see the right to bear arms for Alabamians or Americans, for that matter, repressed. He is strongly and without apology pro-life. He is concerned about our borders and the need to strengthen them. He is very aware that in a number of areas the government is in a continual state of overreach, and, like Ronald Reagan, wants to get big government off the backs of the people. He is a lover of the Constitution, and he believes that the “best form of government is local government.” One of the things any legislator at any level has to balance is state’s rights and federal responsibilities, and that becomes even more of a challenge when revenues (or the lack of them), enter the picture.
“The next 4 years are going to be difficult because the revenue is flat, and most of the remaining available money is earmarked for education,” he said. He continued, “The General Fund (of the State of Alabama) is in the red.” He knows that there are only a few options to remedy that situation that make fiscal sense, and the first is “to cut taxes and regulations that are strangling businesses.” He gave an example of how business growth is being thwarted. “Take barbers, for instance,” he said. “Mostly they cut hair, and they have come under the same regulations as cosmetologists, even though they don’t give nearly the same amount of services. It’s hurting them to have the same regulations, and it’s not necessary.”
There is such a thing as “the Sunset Committee,” he told me, “and they have the authority to get rid of boards.” The Sunset Committee is one way to increase revenue by getting rid of the boards that are no longer needed. “We need to make the state a friendly place for businesses,” he said.
“We also need to prioritize services offered to residents of Alabama,” he said. “We need to be more efficient with the servics we do offer, and we may have to reduce some services.” We talked about the fact that it is way too easy to get to a place where people look to government to take care of them, and whether or not the General Fund is flush, people still need to change the way they think.
Representative Williams also wants people to know he is a supporter of education. “I want to give people hope that their kids can get a good education,” he said. I asked him if he was in support of vouchers as a way to improve public education, and he said he is. He also voted for the Accountability Act of 2013, which is explained as follows by the Alabama Policy Institute:
“The Accountability Act brings Alabama in line with 12 other states that provide educational tax credits and tax credit scholarships.The new law allows parents of students in the worst-performing schools to receive a tax credit to offset the cost of sending a student to a nonfailing public or nonpublic school. The law also sets up an opportunity for low-income students to apply for a tax credit scholarship, funded by individual or corporate taxpayers and administered by a scholarship-granting organization.”
If this is the type of approach to running government and experience in leadership that you are wanting in Montgomery, then Representative Dan Williams would appreciate your vote on November 4th.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner