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6 things with Talladega County probate judge candidate Randy Jinks (with video)

Randy Jinks

Randy Jinks won the 2018 race for probate judge of Talladega County. 

Randy Jinks is one of four candidates seeking the Republican nomination for Talladega County Probate Judge.

A native of Bon Air, Jinks moved to Winterboro in 1965 and graduated from Winterboro High School in 1974.

He worked for Bob Riley’s successful gubernatorial campaign in 2002 and has been managing the Riley cattle farm in Clay County recently. He has also worked as the marketing and advertising liaison for the Alabama State Parks Department and has served on the executive committee for the Talladega County Republican Party.

A state law prohibiting judges from running for a new term past the age of 70 has forced the retirement of current Probate Judge Billy Atkinson, opening the seat. In the June 5 Republican primary, Jinks will face county Commissioner Jackie Swinford, Talladega City Board of Education member Chuck Roberts and Talladega Municipal Court Judge Mark Nelson. The winner will face Democrat Vann Caldwell in the Nov. 6 general election.

Jinks sat down with The Daily Home Editorial Board earlier this week. These are six takeaways from that conversation.

1. How did you first get involved in politics?

I’ve been involved in politics since I was 10 years old. Actually, I was involved in the Wallace campaign when I was 6, and I made signs for Lurleen Wallace when she ran. I ran for District 3 County Commission in 1986, when commissioners ran county wide. I won the runoff with Hubert Hubbard.

In 1986, there was a Republican Party in Alabama, but it wasn’t well established yet. I switched parties and ran for a second term on the commission and lost to Jimmy Roberts by 200 votes. I beat him in five out of seven precincts, but he won the race.

2. What did you learn from your previous political experience?

That was a different time for the County Commission. The county was in really poor financial condition, and I was running against courthouse corruption. I said if you misused funds, there should be consequences. There were a lot of jobs that were just politically created that weren’t really necessary. My platform was to shore up the finances and eliminate positions, but I was kept in the dark. We didn’t eliminate those positions then, but we did in the next election cycle …

Bob Riley is the most honest politician I have ever known; he ran for office because he cared about the offices he ran for. If he hadn’t been a congressman first, I don’t think he would have run for governor … He means what he says, and if he makes a promise, he uses every minute of every day to keep it.

3. Why are you running for probate judge?

At the beginning of this year, I was really more concerned with Clemson and Georgia. But earlier this year, after all the hoopla in the Revenue office, I started thinking about it. I thought and prayed and I ended up qualifying with about an hour left before the deadline. I felt the time was right, the man upstairs wanted me to do this. I’ve spent my money prudently, campaigned at the grassroots, gone around knocking on doors. Also, I’m the only candidate from the south end of the county, and that may give me an edge.

4. What are you hearing on the trail?

Politics used to be a pastime. People are frustrated now, and I’m seeing a lot of voter apathy. It’s a difficult political climate. Most people are not talking about issues, they’re saying they know my family, they remember me from before.

5. What will be the first things you do if elected?

I would ask Billy if I could hang out for a month or so to learn the job. There would be no changes to the staff. Billy’s done a good job, and if I’m going to provide that level of service, I need to get to know the staff. No one running now has ever been probate judge before, so there’s going to be a learning curve. I want to get to know everyone as much as possible, learn their personalities and let people know we will bend over backwards to help them. My door will always be open, you can ask me anything … Public service is a sacred duty …

6. What will you do differently if elected?

There is a state law that says the probate judge gets a nickel for every registered voter published in the voter list. It applies to every probate judge in the state (and originated) back when votes had to be tabulated by hand. I would like to be able to give that money back to a foundation, a trust, a scholarship fund, something like that.