By GREG MARKLEY
In 2007, Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee gained attention and votes thru a commercial with actor and gun enthusiast Chuck Norris. Huckabee did not get the GOP nomination, but his Norris ad will be remembered. In the 2022 election to the U.S. Senate, Alabama Republican Jessica Taylor has her own “Chuck Norris.” Her supporter from Michigan is a rock-star and Second Amendment devotee.
“The Nugent family endorses Jessica Taylor because she will bring back the real America that we all love,” said Ted Nugent. “Jessica is a freedom warrior unlike other candidates, and I think she’s the one worth your vote because she’ll never back down to the America-hating mob or spineless, soulless RINOs.” (A RINO is a Republican In Name Only.) Taylor said, “I am proud to receive the endorsement of a conservative firebrand like Ted Nugent.”
Taylor believes that as a conservative outsider and businesswoman she can blend her private sector identity with good public service to succeed in the Senate. Growing up in Calhoun County, she attended Jacksonville State University for a bachelor’s in political science and a masters’ in public administration. She has a law degree from Thomas Goode Jones Law School.
In the Governor’s Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives she honed her skills in grant-writing and management. She managed statewide initiatives including Alabama Communities for Education, to curtail wide high school dropout levels. Taylor oversaw Alabama’s Strengthening Communities Project, nationally recognized for best practices. She has contributed in many social or civic groups and served as a board president twice.
“Why am I running for the Senate? Why now?” asked Taylor. “That’s easy: I am disgusted with the way the mission in Afghanistan ended, I am always interested in cutting wasteful spending and a Senate seat does not open up often.” She attributed her self-esteem and leadership skills to the confidence she gained as a basketball player. Her team was in the Final Four in the state one year and almost in it the next year, despite being in a tougher Class.
Taylor ran for the GOP nomination in the 2nd Congressional District in 2020, after incumbent U.S. Rep. Martha Roby retired. Taylor had a 4-pronged platform: Pro-life, pro-military, pro-(secure) borders and pro-President Trump. “I want to go toe-to-toe with AOC (U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez), their socialist squad and (U.S. Sen.) Bernie Sanders,” she told diners at a Prattville restaurant. “They are absolutely brainwashing the younger generation.”
Many candidates in the Trump era echo the slogan “Drain the Swamp.” But how would it work? Would middle-managers in the federal government lose their jobs? How about temporary workers who don’t make much money? I asked Taylor about this when I interviewed her at her well-appointed home outside Birmingham. She noted: “I mean the bureaucrats, lobbyists and politicians.” That answer would cheer many on Main Street but not those three categories of people.
In her first campaign, Taylor was 7% in polls at one point; she hadn’t done much media and her grassroots team was growing but not where it should have been. By primary election day on March 3, 2020, Taylor captured third place (20%). Barry Moore (20.5%) and Jeff Coleman (38%) went to a runoff, where Moore was victorious. He easily won the general election to join the Congress.
In 2021, Taylor has hired experienced advisors and is doing better money-wise than before. But her three Republican opponents have solid campaign teams, too; and they are spending a lot of money. We do, though, have six months before the May 24 primary, so the final result is not preordained.
She founded Azimuth Grants in 2010. It is like a clearinghouse of ideas, innovations and training. Non-profits, local governments and schools benefit from the company. Projects have been undertaken in South Africa, the Philippines and other countries. Grant research, grant writing and grant making are Azimuth’s bread and butter. Despite Azimuth’s pull, Taylor always makes time for her three children, Sam, Fair and Jackson.
Taylor surely will have a hectic schedule, thru the primary and possibly beyond. If he was here, my late brother Larry would advise her to relax with slightly loud rock music, as he did in the 1960s and 1970s. Try tunes like Cat Scratch Fever, Death by Misadventure and Come and Take It. You will be endorsing Nugent’s music, as he endorsed you to join the U.S. Senate.
Next week, U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks will be profiled.
How to contact Jessica’s campaign: www.jessicataylor.com; (205) 304-1014; email@example.com.
Greg Markley first moved to Lee County in 1996. He has Masters’ in education and history. He taught politics as an adjunct in Georgia and Alabama. An award-winning writer in the Army and civilian life, he has contributed to the Observer for 12 years. firstname.lastname@example.org.