By Rebekah Martin
“There is a disconnect between what the citizens of House District 79 want and what’s being proposed and passed in Montgomery,” said Dr. Shirley Scott-Harris, the Democratic candidate in the Nov. 4 election that will determine who will represent the district. Scott-Harris is running against incumbent and House Speaker Mike Hubbard.
Scott-Harris holds a number of degrees, including an M.B.A. from Cardinal Stritch University and a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from Auburn University. Scott-Harris said she believes that her interpersonal skills combined with her 17 years of experience in corporate America qualify her for the job of bridging the gap between the citizens of Lee County and the state legislation.
“When people cast their vote for me, they’re voting for a candidate that will be honest, accessible and courageous,” she said, adding that she believes elected officials ought to remember what they were elected for.
“Our issues are being ignored,” Scott-Harris said. “Sometimes people get elected to an office and then forget who put them there.”
Scott-Harris said working to repeal the Alabama Accountability Act will be her main goal if elected. The controversial “school choice” law passed in 2013 was designed to give students who are assigned to “failing” schools the choice to relocate to a non-failing school or private school that is willing to accept them. Scott-Harris says all the act is accomplishing is taking money from public schools that are already suffering and giving it to private or higher income public schools.
Running on the statement that she is a “champion of public education,” Scott-Harris said she has a deep love and respect for the state she has called her home for the better part of two decades.
“I’m running for this office because I do love Alabama,” Scott-Harris said. “And contrary to popular belief, we are in fact at the bottom of numerous measures, and it’s important to elect people who truly believe in and are passionate about the betterment of our great state.”
Scott-Harris has become accustomed to being the minority representation both in the world of business and in politics. Seeing the lack of a candidate who truly has a finger on the pulse of the people, she decided she could be that candidate. “I’ve spent many years in the business world,” Scott-Harris said. “Many times, just like in corporate America, women and minorities are underrepresented when it comes to politics, and I aim to change that.”
Scott-Harris officially retired from Auburn University on May 1 of this year. During her time at Auburn, she served as the director of the Alabama Power Academic Excellence Program in the College of Engineering. She also was an instructor in the Special Topics: Success Strategies in Engineering Class for freshman students, and was an adjunct instructor in the College of Education, teaching an Adolescent Development class to undergraduate students, according to her biography on www.democracy.com.
Scott-Harris said she is a proponent of change, if that change means giving the people a transparent, honest candidate who will represent their wishes in Montgomery.
“It’s important that legislators be concerned about matters that effect people in their districts,” Scott-Harris said. “I’ve had the opportunity to talk to high-income citizens, middle-income citizens, lower-income citizens and no-income citizens. Every individual is important.”
Scott-Harris also mentioned that frequently meeting with her constituents will be a priority if she is elected. “I will not push an agenda that does not reflect what the people of Auburn, Opelika and Lee County want,” she said. “Voters can count on that.”
Scott-Harris said being bipartisan and working with those of other parties is a must. “My goal is to promote the common good – using the best ideas from both parties,” Scott-Harris said. “We are all in this together.”
The last day to register to vote for the general election on Nov. 4 is Oct. 20.