Clay, Coosa, Talladega counties vote for next state representative to replace late Rep. Ronald Johnson

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SYLACAUGA, Ala. (WIAT) — It was back to the polls today for those in Coosa, Clay and Talladega counties as area residents voted for their new state representative – a seat filled by representative Ronald Johnson until his death last year. 

The candidates: Democrat Fred Crum and Republican Ben Robbins. Both live in Sylacauga and are advocating for improving the educational system.

The late State Representative for Alabama District 33 Ronald Johnson.

Crum, a local leader for the Talladega/Sylacauga chapter of the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity, and Robbins, a local attorney.

“{We need to} hire more teachers,” Crum said. “We need to increase their pay, and during this time – these teachers are putting their lives on the line, they need hazard pay.”

One of Crum’s campaign signs outside of Pinecrest Elementary School.

Robbins also campaigned on education, but from a different angle.

The Republican told voters he would be a representative for rural communities and their needs in the district.

One of Ben Robbins’s campaign signs on the side of US Highway 280

“We have large portions of our rural district that don’t have reliable internet,” Robbins said. I want to focus on expanding the internet into our rural communities. Because without reliable internet, our rural communities are going to fall behind in terms of education and job growth.”

Similarly, Crum is specifically focused on building up the infrastructure of the education system and increasing the quality of virtual learning during uncertain times.

Sylacauga High School’s front entrance.

“One of the most important things is getting cut all the time,” Crum said.

Aside from education, Robbins hopes to pull all three counties from their current economic declines. 

“That means more jobs and industrial growth for our community,” Robbins said. “The way to do that, I think we need to focus on infrastructure and we need to focus on our roads and bridges.”

Candidate for District 33 State Representative Robbins stopping by the polls at J. Craig Smith Community Center.

Robbins also plans to advocate for schools to teach more trades.

“We need to make sure that we’re teaching trades and skills in schools again so that children who aren’t going to college will have a career as soon as they graduate.”

Crum says if he’s elected, he will also be fighting for affordable health care for Alabamians.

Polls close Tuesday at 7 p.m., so if you’re eligible, be sure to cast your vote!

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