In the Republican primary this May, five candidates ran for District 13 of the Alabama State House, with former Walker County Chamber of Commerce Chairman Matt Woods ultimately securing the nomination.
Woods, the son and grandson of South Walker County coal miners, won the nomination by more than half the vote, defeating a number of impressive candidates including Walker County Commissioner and County Republican Party Chairman Keith Davis. Previously, Woods served on the Board of Trustees for the Alabama Community College System for four years.
“I think my involvement in the community and my 35+ years in the business have had a positive impact on the race,” Woods said in response to questions asked by APR last week. “We also had a solid grassroots campaign and the best group of volunteers I could have hoped for. I’m a political misfit, small business owner, conservative Christian, and family man. All things that I believe served me well in the campaign. Being in a shop where I can talk to people from all walks of life gives me a good grasp of what the real issues are that people are facing here. I think that helped me connect with voters during the campaign.”
District 13 has been occupied by State Rep. Connie Rowe, R-Jasper, since 2014. Rowe announced last year that she would not seek another term and later accepted an appointment in the Alabama lieutenant governor’s office. Woods said when he heard about the vacancy, he started considering running for the seat.
“I’ve always enjoyed being part of groups or organizations that work to improve the quality of life for other people,” Woods said. “When I heard that our former representative, Connie Rowe, was stepping down, I started thinking that maybe I could make a difference in this position. My wife and I took a few weeks to consider what that would involve and how it would affect our family and my time at work. I have never been involved in politics or run for office, but after prayer and discussion with my family and close friends, I decided to run and have never looked back.”
Woods’ legislative priorities include developing the economy and workforce and supporting reforms of the state’s adoption process to be “an effective voice for families.”
“With record inflation, families in Alabama are making difficult financial decisions,” Woods said. “We have a record budget surplus and need to take a fiscally conservative approach to allocating this taxpayer money. I would like to see Alabama take significant steps to improve the adoption process so that families can afford to adopt and don’t have to wait years to complete adoptions.”
Other issues Woods hopes to address are continued support for broadband rollout and mental health reform.
“There are so many needs in Walker County and across the state,” Woods said. “I will look for reasonable solutions that meet those needs.”
The Alabama Legislature is expected to begin regular 2023 session next March.