Calhoun County School Superintendent Joe Dyar filed paperwork Thursday announcing his candidacy for a seat on the Calhoun County Commission held by J.D. Hess.
Currently, Dyar is set to run against fellow Republicans Hess, a six-term incumbent, and businessman Terry Howell, according to Kim McCarson, secretary of the Calhoun County Republican Party. Sheila Gilbert, chairwoman of the Calhoun County Democratic Party, said Friday that no one in her party has filed paperwork to qualify for the seat yet.
Dyar, who’s served as superintendent since 2011, said he’s considered running for the seat for several years.
“I’d planned on waiting until I reached enough years to retire from the school system, but I feel without a doubt I’m called to do this,” he said Friday. “I’ve got an energy I want to bring with me to the commission.”
If elected, Dyar said, he’d step down from his current position.
“If I’m fortunate to be elected, I’m not going to attempt to do both,” he said. “I would focus on serving the people.”
Hess said Friday that he feels there is cohesion among the current commissioners and he hopes they’ll be able to continue forward together.
“The people are our boss as elected officials and every four years they make a selection they feel will serve them for the next four years,” Hess said.
Howell, who owns Howell Event and Party Services and co-owns 1st Class Parties and Events in Anniston, said he feels his business background could serve the county well.
“I’ve managed between five and 125 people throughout my careers and I know how to work a budget,” he said.
All three candidates said they’d like to improve conditions for the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office.
“We need to either remodel and extend our jail or we need to build a new one,” Hess said. “That’s going to be a challenge. But we’ve always met the challenges that we’ve faced in the past and working together we’ll accomplish them.”
Howell said he was appalled to learn about conditions at the jail.
“I went down to talk to the sheriff about the jail and he was gracious enough to give me a tour,” Howell said. “Working with the Sheriff’s Office would be near and dear to my heart and working to improve the jail would be part of that.”
Dyar, while he did not mention the jail, said he’d like to see more funding to hire more sheriff’s deputies and pay them enough to retain those currently employed.
“I want to make sure we put more deputies with resources on the road,” Dyar said. “Safety is one of the most important things in our county and in our schools.”
Qualifying for the 2018 elections ends Feb. 9, and some incumbents have yet to qualify for re-election in both the commission and board of education, but there will likely be a “mad dash” to register next week, Gilbert said.
Gilbert said both parties will likely see an uptick in registration in the last week.
“Candidates will be deciding can they do it or can they not, or do they choose to tag on with someone else,” Gilbert said.
Incumbent Commissioner Fred Wilson and Anniston City Councilman David Reddick, running against Wilson for the District 1 seat, are the only Democratic candidates in any local elections, Gilbert said.
“I’m hearing of some people who may qualify but are still deciding,” she said.
No Republicans have qualified to run in District 1.