By William C. Singleton III
Republican State Rep. Paul DeMarco says he’s ready to represent the Over the Mountain community and much of central Alabama in Washington, D.C.
A state legislator since 2005, DeMarco, 46, recently announced his plans to run for Alabama’s Sixth Congressional District, joining two other Republicans who hope to win the seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Spencer Bachus.
“I’ve lived in this area my whole life. My family’s here,” DeMarco said. “I’ve been educated here. I share the dedication to make this a good place to live. I understand some of the difficulties small businesses have with some of the issues going on in Washington, D.C. I understand that economic development issues are important to job creation. So I take those issues and the work I’ve done at the state level and will represent our district at the national level.”
Chad Mathis, an Indian Springs orthopedic surgeon, and Gary Palmer, the Alabama Policy Institute’s chief development officer, have also thrown their hats into the race.
The official qualifying date isn’t until April. The Republican primary is scheduled for June 3.
The Sixth Congressional District includes parts of Jefferson, Shelby, Bibb, Chilton, Coosa, St. Clair and Tuscaloosa counties and surrounds Birmingham.
Political analysts expect several Republican hopefuls to flood the race with the veteran Bachus announcing he is not seeking another term.
Efforts to reach Bachus at press time were unsuccessful, but in a Washington Times article, he said it’s time to move on.
“It is an honor that I never dreamed could have been possible for me, and the words ‘thank you’ are far from adequate,” said Bachus, who was first elected to Congress in 1992. “But as Ecclesiastes 3 says, ‘To everything there is a season,’ and I feel in my heart that now is the time for me to announce this decision and allow others to have the opportunity to serve.”
DeMarco was first chosen as state representative for District 46–which includes portions of Jefferson and Shelby counties, including the Over the Mountain communities–in a 2005 special election when Mark Gaines vacated the seat for an appointment as Jefferson County Probate Judge.
DeMarco was reelected in 2006 and 2010. He is chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and the Joint Oversight Committee for Alabama Homeland Security. He also serves as co-chairman of the Jefferson County House Delegation.
DeMarco said he believes his “conservative, reform-minded principles are now needed in Congress.”
“I have supported common sense and practical ways to make local and state government work best for the people of Alabama,” he said.
For example, DeMarco said he sponsored legislation to create a county-manager form of government in Jefferson County. The idea behind the legislation was to hire a professional to run the daily operations of government rather than rely on elected officials who may not have the time or expertise to oversee the operation of county government.
“We had structural problems in how we operated and that (the county-manager form of government) is an important part of the reforms we’ve had here in Jefferson County to move forward,” DeMarco said.
DeMarco also sponsored legislation to make county government more transparent by requiring that the state auditor keep a searchable public database of state property valued at more than $499.
“Those same reform-minded principles are now needed in Congress because we have structural problems the way government operates in Washington, D.C.,” he said.
DeMarco said he plans to spend his time talking to the people of the district about their concerns.
“The good ideas do not come from the State Capitol or the United States Capitol, but the folks back home,” he said.
DeMarco is a partner in the law firm of Parsons, Lee and Juliano, P.C. He graduated from Auburn University in 1990 and received his law degree from the University of Alabama in 1993.
He and his wife, Jacqueline, live in Homewood.