Jacksonville resident Katie Exum has announced she will run for the state representative seat for Alabama House District 40.
Rep. K. L. Brown holds the seat but does not plan to run after his current term is over.
“I waited for four years for Mr. Brown to decide if he will run again,” Exum said. “When he recently announced his retirement from the legislature, I decided to move forward with the decision. My family and I are excited about the future of our community and the new district.”
Exum is the fourth candidate to announce for District 40, which now includes Jacksonville, White Plains, the Oxford Exchange to the Friendship Community and all of Cleburne County.
The other three who have announced a run for the seat are Republicans Julie Borrelli and Jakob Williamson and Democrat Pamela Howard.
Exum, a former schoolteacher, owns Alabama Trails magazine. She holds two degrees, one being in education from Troy State University, and she holds certification as a paralegal from Jacksonville State University. She expects to graduate in May with a law degree from the Birmingham School of Law.
She is active in the American Agriculture Law Association, Rotary International, The Exchange Club of Jacksonville, the Christian Legal Society, the Federalist Society, the Veterans Help Desk and the Calhoun and Cleburne County Chambers of Commerce. Also, she is a member of the YMCA, the Junior League of Anniston and Girl Scouts of America.
She is married to Eufaula native Scott Exum, an electrical engineer with a public utility company, and they have a 10-year-old daughter.
Exum’s platform includes a long list of goals for making her district and the state better. These include growing small businesses, getting the funds for a Workforce Development Center, increasing economic development by recruiting manufacturing and industrial businesses and creating a free Legal Help Desk for local veterans.
Exum has studied how two specific programs, the Opportunity Zone and Enterprise Zone programs, can help her district. They make available special funds and grants, which allow developers to invest in capital improvement projects, receive tax breaks and gain a financial return on their investment.
“These two programs allow small-town squares and downtown districts to re-energize,” Exum said.
Exum hopes to create more opportunities for family-owned farms to prepare for the next generation. She would like to see more farm-to-school programs, which would give schools easier access to healthy foods. She wants to assist rural areas in expanding broadband services and ensure that law enforcement and first responders are fully funded. Also, she hopes to help local schools become Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence.
Exum has many connections with law enforcement and veterans. Her late father was an Air Force veteran and a sheriff’s deputy. Scott’s father and two of his uncles are retired from the U.S. Marines.
“I understand the needs of our veterans and will work to help them and their families,” Exum said. “Supporting our military is such an honor for me and my family.”