Candidate of change

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Alabama District 24 Senate Candidate Elijah Rollins III wants to bring change to the Black Belt.

Rollins was in Greensboro at the Magnolia Restaurant Wednesday to discuss his motivation for seeking the seat from incumbent Bobby Singleton. The idea to run, Rollins said, came when he was approached my multiple citizens who wanted to move their region forward.

“People came to me and said ‘Elijah, we just want to be heard,” Rollins said. “They said ‘we don’t want you to do anything to favor one side over another. All we want is a chance to be heard.”

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While some asked Rollins to run, others asked him “why?” The answer, he said, was simple.

“People ask me why I am running against such a powerful, powerful incumbent,” Rollins said. “Everybody pretty much came to me in Perry County to run. Several people, black and white, rich and poor asked me to run.”

This year’s race is not without its issues and Rollins is well aware of that. Absentee ballots are one of the hottest topics in this particular election.

Absentee ballots, Rollins said, are something he has little experience with, but knows tougher laws are needed.

“I don’t really have a skilled knowledge of the absentee ballot voting process, but I think the only time you need to vote absentee is when you have a critical illness or really can’t get there on time,” Rollins said. “The laws need to be changed. If there is a problem, the laws need to be changed because as long as you are able to work within the law it is going to be a problem.”

Some possible solutions to voter fraud, Rollins said, are two-day voting for elections and photo identification for all voters.

Rollins trip to Greensboro all began with a concerned citizen. When Greensboro resident Beverly Bonds saw Rollins’ views she wanted to learn more. She also felt it may be beneficial to others to hear some of his ideas. After further conversations with Rollins, Bonds decided to invite him to speak to concerned voters of Hale County.

“A few weeks ago, something just came to my mind and I said ‘I am Beverly Bonds and I am a citizen of Hale County and I want to find out more about this candidate because I care about our government,” Bonds said. “I liked what I heard, so I invited him here as a citizen.”

In their discussions, Bonds said, she realized Rollins was committed to moving the Black Belt forward.

“I’ve had several great conversations with Elijah,” Bonds said. “I really like what he stands for. He is sick and tired of corrupt government and corrupt elections. His views on what government should be lined up with mine.”

Rollins, who is a native of Marion, said his philosophy is simple – do the right thing.

“I think once you are honest and you put everything out there on the table, you are fine,” Rollins said. “I am not going to do anything that’s wrong. I try to treat everybody right and I don’t look at color.”

This philosophy, Rollins said, is sincere. As a member of the Alabama State Senate, he said, he hopes to earn everyone’s trust.

“One thing I think people can look at with me and see is that I don’t have a special interest,” Rollins said. “I am not doing anything for the notoriety. If I can’t help you, I am not going to do anything to hurt you.”

Creating a better situation for the Black Belt, Rollins said, will take a joint effort.

“Everybody knows what is wrong,” Rollins said. “What we have to do is ask what are we going to do about it? We have to drop our defensive guard and get together.”