This is the former Lee County District 5 Commissioner versus the current one; who will it be in the future? | Govt. and politics

LAUREN JOHNSON

Two Democrats are running for commissioner of Lee County District 5 in the 2022 primary election on May 24: incumbent Richard LaGrand Sr. and John Andrews Harris. No candidate is running for the Democratic primary seat.

Richard LaGrandfather (I)LaGrand, 67, has lived and worked in Lee County for more than three decades and was elected Lee County Commissioner for District 5 in 2018.

During his tenure, a tornado struck the community of Beauregard killing 23 people, and LaGrand worked with Samaritan’s Purse to establish search and rescue operations and was involved in the approval of numerous building permits to rebuild destroyed homes. .

He listed other highlights like funding for the development of Loachapoka Community Park, paving of several roads in Lee County, renovation of the Lee County Courthouse, expansion of the management agency of Lee County Emergencies and the establishment of Juneteenth as a paid holiday in Lee County.

LaGrand was the host of Hallelujah’s morning show 1520 AM for 35 years, was employed at the Auburn University Hotel and Conference Center for 34 years, and served five years as a stay-at-home parent for adoptive children at Lee County Youth Development Center.

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As a volunteer, he served as chair of East Alabama Services for the Elderly Council, works regularly with the Covington Recreation Center, worked closely with the County Youth Development Center de Lee and works with programs that help seniors, especially those with dementia or Alzheimer’s.

LaGrand said serving as commissioner has been an “incredible experience” and if re-elected he plans to improve transportation and broadband, support seniors and tackle litter and litter in the community.

He points out that the next commissioner-elect will make decisions on how to allocate $32 million in US bailout funds.

He said he would like some of the money to be spent on paving more roads, programs for seniors and affordable housing.

“I believe I’m the best candidate and I have a vision for the future,” LaGrand said.

Harris, 71, was born in Opelika and has worked as a civil servant and public official most of his life.

He served on the Opelika city council for eight years, worked in the child nutrition program in a school system for 34 years, and owned a grocery store in Opelika for 15 years.

Harris is currently the NAACP Political Action Chair for the State of Alabama and recently partnered with the Harvest Time Food Ministry to help establish food banks and food distribution centers in Opelika areas. and Roanoke. Harris also has a consulting business, JE Harris Inc.

He said he was elected alderman of Opelika in 1986 and was the first of two African Americans to hold that position. He served until 1994, when he was elected Commissioner of District 5 of Lee County.

Harris served as commissioner for 24 years without opposition from 1994 to 2018. He said he decided to run for the position after receiving calls from citizens asking him to run again.

“They said they didn’t have a voice to speak on behalf of the community on different concerns,” Harris said. “I was the kind of person who cared about the community, talked to people and formed a bond with them.”

If elected, Harris plans to focus on infrastructure, education, transportation, voting rights, labor and economic development. He wants to create more jobs in the region and have more opportunities to keep people in the community.

Harris said he will also ensure the Loachapoka area is not left behind or ignored.

“I want to thank the people of Lee County for their outpouring of support and for their appeal,” Harris said. “It means a lot to me.”

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