By SHERRY DIGMON
A meet and greet for three Democrat candidates on upcoming ballots was held Saturday afternoon, May 14, on the Unity House grounds on North Main Street.
Attending were Patricia Salter Jamieson on the primary ballot for governor (May 24), and Shaun Golden, candidate for Escambia County sheriff, on the ballot in the general election November 8.
Dr. Will Boyd, candidate for U.S. Senate, was scheduled to attend but had to cancel due to a conflict.
“I don’t know what it’s going to take to get our people to understand what’s important,” event sponsor Sandra Gray said, obviously disappointed in the turnout, about 25 people.
Those in attendance heard comments from the candidates and had the opportunity to ask questions.
Shaun Golden was on the police force in Atmore for 10 years, now five years in Georgianna as assistant police chief. He has 23 years in law enforcement.
“There is a lack of police presence here,” Golden said.
As an example, Brewton has around 10 deputies [in various capacities] on a day shift – Atmore has one, he said.
“This has to change. The only time you see them [sheriff’s department] on this end of the county is when there’s a camera present … When there’s an event here, the sheriff’s department will have a tent set up and be part of the community. We are going to be involved in the community.”
Golden said officers need to be held accountable for their actions, and that some issues can be addressed in the hiring process through implementation of a citizens’ hiring board. He intends to hold his personnel to a high standard.
“No morals, no character, not honest – you can’t work for me,” Golden said.
He also vowed to address issues at the county jail and “fix that problem.”
“I’m not a career politician, I’m a career police officer,” Golden said. “We’re going to bring justice to the city of Atmore just like in Brewton.”
Patricia Salter Jamieson actually came home to attend the event. She’s a native of Atmore, and a member of the Escambia County High School Class of 1973. She now lives in Birmingham. She’s a nurse by profession and has held positions in healthcare administration as well. She is also an ordained minister, and she’s a mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother.
Beginning her remarks, she encouraged everyone to get exercise their right. “Vote – do not sit at home and not vote – even if you don’t vote for me, vote!” she said.
Her motto for her campaign is “Alabama United – We Can Do Better.”
Jamieson quoted Dr. Martin Luther King, “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish as fools.”
Noting that Alabama is often at the bottom or near bottom of national socio-economic and other lists, she said, “There’s room at the top for Alabama.”
Among the topics she discussed were
- Listening to the people – “When I have a seat at the table, you’ll have a seat at the table.”
- “People need livable wages.”
- In favor of an education lottery
- Need to expand Medicaid
- Focus on health, including mental health
- “People need better access to healthcare. We need to implement clinics in rural areas and expand nurse practitioners’ role.”
- In favor of decriminalizing marijuana and decreasing the prison population
- Parental involvement – “Men aren’t the only deadbeats. We’ve got some women who are deadbeats.”
“I am not a professional politician but I have been a public servant all my adult life … My assignment for this season is to serve the people of Alabama,” Jamieson said.
The event was sponsored by Urban Talk with Sandra Gray on WBZR Radio.