Real estate agent Keith Kelley is running in the Republican party primary for the Alabama State Senate, tapping into his 26 years in the property business and decades of volunteerism in political arenas, civic matters and organizations geared toward small business owners.
Kelley, 58, of Weaver, said he feels prepared to do the job because his previous assistance to politicians on the state level has given him an understanding of state laws and how the Alabama Legislature operates.
“Some people call me when it is time to vote,” Kelley said, “and ask me who they should vote for.”
An August press release from 3rd District Congressman Mike Rogers, R-Saks, announced an endorsement of Kelley, who would replace retiring state Sen. Del Marsh, R-Anniston, if elected.
“Kelley is an outsider who knows how to get things done,” Rogers was quoted as saying.
Kelley’s civic service reflects the issues he most cares about, including mental health, child abuse and protection for the elderly. Also, he said, he wants to continue helping veterans and those affected by downturns in the real estate market. He supports education, small business owners and farmers. If elected, he believes his many contacts throughout the state will help improve the quality of life for Alabamians.
One previous contribution he feels he made occurred after the 2010 oil spill along Alabama’s Gulf Coast. The spill destroyed many jobs, especially in the field of real estate.
“When I heard how some of the people in the Gulf Coast area were suffering,” he said, “I threw some clothes in my truck and headed down to help. Some of them had lost their jobs and could not pay for their medical needs.”
During that time, Kelley realized how vital the Gulf Coast is to Alabama, and he learned how tourism dollars support education throughout the state and affect many lives. During the oil spill, he worked with then-Gov. Bob Riley and helped with the negotiations between then-President Barack Obama’s appointed negotiator and the state’s head of Homeland Security.
Kelley’s advocacy for private property rights led him to serve as president of the Alabama Association of Realtors in 2010. Also, he was appointed to and served on the Alabama Small Business Commission by then-Gov. Robert Bentley. Kelley currently serves as the chairman of the Advisory Trustees of the University of Alabama’s Center for Real Estate.
“Serving as a trustee was important because we were dealing with several factors,” said Kelley, whose two consecutive terms recently ended due to term limitations. “One aspect was awarding certain grants, and it was important that Calhoun, Talladega, St. Clair and Clay counties received their portions of the funds for their programs. Many of their programs help prevent child abuse in high-risk areas.”
Highlights of Kelley’s professional life include his friendship with longtime Anniston Realtor TomHarris, from whom he bought his business, which is his third. At different times, he owned two hardware companies. Another highlight is the completion of renovations on his office at 123 South Quintard. His father, two sons and his wife, Phyllis, worked to transform an empty building into a comfortable facility. Kelley feels grateful to have flown on two Honor Flights for veterans.
On the issues facing Alabamians at this time, Kelley said he is pro-life, supports Second Amendment rights, wants to ensure that those who cross the border come legally, supports equal pay for women in the workplace and hopes to make the process of adoption less expensive for parents. Considering the nation’s current political climate, he is willing, on a state level, to work across the aisle.
“As for working across the aisle,” Kelley said, “for people who have never been elected before, they must learn to do that. An elected person is working for all the people in their area. Also, the elected person must remember their values and that resolving issues takes compromise.”
Kelley said, if he is elected, he hopes to bring people together, instill pride in Alabamians and encourage others to work hard. He believes these efforts will go a long way toward improving everyone’s quality of life.
The Kelleys have two sons, Michael, who is the owner of a landscaping company, and Jeremy, who owns his own maintenance company and is in construction work. The Kelleys have several grandchildren and feel as if a few more are their own.