For months the spotlight has been on the race for president. But voters on November 8 will also find a robust ballot of offices and issues closer to home.
To be decided are: an Alabama Senate seat, seats in Congress, presidency of the Alabama Public Service Commission, members of state and local boards of education, and county offices. Also: a slate of amendments and control of the state’s judicial system, from justices on the state’s Supreme Court, to district attorneys, to judges on the bench.
BirminghamWatch – in partnership with Weld, WBHM, Starnes Publishing, B Metro, Trussville Tribune and the Birmingham Public Library – gives information on all of that in this Alabama Voter Guide. You’ll find sample ballots for Jefferson and Shelby counties, biographical information about candidates, and background on the amendments. There are also resources to help you navigate Election Day, from verifying your polling place and registration to researching the issues and candidates more deeply.
There’s a lot to decide in one 12-hour window at the polls between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Tuesday, November 8.
Here are the Voter Guide bios unintentionally omitted, or requiring revision from print editions of Weld:
Jefferson County District Court, Place 10
Teresa Hester (R)
Date of birth: June 22, 1962; age 54
Residence: Oak Grove
Political experience: First run for elected office.
Professional experience: Private law practice, 2009-present; teacher, Concord Elementary School, 1985-2009; teacher, Centreville Elementary School, 1984-1985.
Civic experience: Member, Hueytown Chamber of Commerce, 2014-present; member and past board member, Bessemer Junior Service League, 2012-present; volunteer, Jefferson County Volunteer Lawyer Program, 2010-present; co-director, Jefferson County New Lawyer Mentoring Program, 2010-2011; Concord Elementary School Teacher of the Year, 2009; member, National Education Association, 1984-2009; member, Alabama Education Association, 1983-2009; member, Kappa Delta Pi Education Sorority; Jefferson County Schools Mentor Teacher, 1999-2000; member, Sunday School teacher and church pianist, Pine Grove United Methodist Church.
Education: Birmingham School of Law, law degree and class valedictorian, 2009. UAB, master’s degree, educational leadership, 2001. University of Montevallo, bachelor’s degree, early childhood and elementary education, 1984.
Top contributors: Iron Workers Local 92, Birmingham, $2,000; Rock Creek Pharmacy Inc., Concord, $2,000; William A. Darden, Adger, $1,500; V.E. Freeman, Bessemer, $1,000; Dana Hooper, Hueytown, $1,000.
Qualifications: She is a solo law practitioner, focusing on domestic relations, probate and criminal law. She represents the interests of children as guardian ad litem.
Campaign: teresahester.com; Facebook: Elect Teresa Hester, Jefferson County District Judge, Place 10.
Jefferson County District Court, Place 5
The duties: The Place 5 seat of the District Court is a civil court and handles civil cases when the matter in controversy does not exceed $10,000.
Lee Cleveland (R)
Date of Birth: 1960
Political experience: Elected to Jefferson County Republican Executive Committee, Legislative District 52, 1992-2001; Jefferson County Republican Executive Committee, Legislative District 15, 2001-2008.
Professional experience: Private practice, Cleveland & Cleveland, P.C. law firm, 1988-present; professor, Birmingham School of Law.
Civic experience: Served on committees of Birmingham Area Chamber of Commerce, including chairing its Childcare Task Force and leading in the production of “Balancing Benefits: Increased Productivity through Childcare Options,” published by the chamber in 1994. Active in South Highland Presbyterian Church.
Education: University of Alabama School of Law, juris doctorate, 1985; University of South Carolina, Columbia, bachelor’s degree, mechanical engineering, 1983.
Top Contributors: Cleveland filed no contributors with the Alabama Secretary of State’s Office.
Qualifications: Cleveland has tried civil District Court and Circuit Court cases in most counties in central and north Alabama for more than 30 years. He has appeared in more than 30 appeals, including appearing before the U.S. Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, the Alabama Supreme Court, and the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals. He is a professor at Birmingham School of Law.
Shera Craig Grant (D)
Date of birth: Sept. 21, 1977; age 39
Political experience: Appointed District Court judge, Place 5, Jan. 8, 2016.
Professional experience: District Court judge, Place 5, January 2016-present; deputy public defender, Jefferson County, 2013-2016; managing attorney, The Grant Firm LLC, 2011-2013; prosecutor, promoted to chief assistant district attorney, DeKalb County, Georgia, 2004-2010; adjunct professor, Alabama State University, 2008-2010; adjunct professor, Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, Georgia, 2007-2009; assistant city solicitor, Atlanta, 2002-2004; assistant solicitor general, Fulton County, Georgia, 2003.
Civic experience: Founder of Leadership Academy, a youth development program for high school students. Awarded Al.com’s Young Professionals Project of the Year for creation of the Leadership Academy. Also named “Women Who Shape the State” award recipient. Board of directors for Growing Kings, Inc., mentoring organization, 2016-present; Vestavia Hills Board of Education member, 2015-2016; Leadership Vestavia Hills board of directors member, 2014-present; Help the Hills Committee member, 2014-present; Rape Crisis facilitator, 2007-2010; Create Your Dreams volunteer facilitator, 2007-2010; The Women’s Network member.
Education: Paul M. Hebert Law Center, Louisiana State University, juris doctorate, 2002; Paul M. Hebert Law Center, Louisiana State University, bachelor’s degree, civil law, 2002; Alabama State University, bachelor’s degree, computer information systems, 1999.
Top contributors: Daryl Grant, $17,500 (loan to campaign); Bender & Agboola, LLC, $6,500; Iron Workers Local Union 92, $2,500; Alain Jean, $2,000; Maston Evans, $2,000, Fred Jones Unlimited, $2,000; Newsome Law LLC, $1,000.
Qualifications: Grant is currently serving as District Court judge, Place 5, and has served several years as a private practice attorney, a prosecutor and chief assistant district attorney, a college professor, and assistant city solicitor and assistant solicitor general.
The most complete listing of information for all candidates, amendments and races, is found at alabamavoterguide.org