BY HANNAH LESTER
LEE COUNTY —
Robert Ham is running for reelection for District 4 for his fourth term.
“I’ve been involved in politics really since I got out of college in 1979 in a small way,” he said. “Just finding a candidate that I liked, one I knew, and then support them through putting out signs, having a barbecue in my backyard and inviting my neighbors, and family and friends.”
When Oline Price ran for tax assessor, Ham served as her treasurer. When she ran for revenue commissioner, he served on that campaign as well. Ham also helped Sheriff Jay Jones with his first campaign.
“Those are two that I’m really proud of,” he said. “I think I picked winners both times.”
In 2010, Ham ran for his first commission term. The former commissioner did not want to run again and encouraged Ham to do so, he said.
Ham was reelected twice more, and if elected May 24, this will be his fourth term.
“I’m really proud of the relationship that I’ve helped build between the city of Opelika and the county commission,” he said.
Ham also said he worked to build the relationship between the county and the school board.
His work with parks and recreation is also on his list of accomplishments.
“The Beauregard recreation park, that’s something I’m extremely proud of,” he said. “That was many years of working on that when people told me, ‘You can’t. There’s no land available.’ And I went down there and started knocking on doors.”
Ham worked with a landowner to secure land for the park. He also worked to help the Beulah park get on its feet.
“Unfortunately, Beulah is the community that is pretty much forgotten,” he said. “… I got the funding to build a senior center there. Their senior center was awful and people just seemed to accept it.”
He helped to secure funding and land for the Beulah parks as well, he said.
“Phase 1 has been completed,” he said. “We’ve had the ribbon cutting, and the children are out there playing on that property. That was, to me, a huge accomplishment, and now the people in Beulah feel like they’re equal.”
For his next term, Ham said he wants to see Phase 2 of the recreation parks.
“I think there’s some things we can do in the Beauregard area for senior citizens,” he said.
Ham said it has been difficult seeing citizens disinterested in the commission or things happening in the county.
“I get pretty discouraged sometimes when I go to a county commission meeting, something that’s important coming up on our agenda and the only people that are there are people who are there who work for the county or maybe a couple of other people, and people are not there keeping up with what’s going on with their community.
“And that’s a little challenging to me. Because I want that input, I want that feedback from people, good and bad. It’s part of the job that you have to take the negative, and if it’s something people don’t want, I want to hear about it. Doesn’t matter if I want it or not, that’s beside the point. What I need to hear is what they want and let me act on that and give them what they want, not what I want.”
Speaking of negativity, Ham said he has not talked to his other two competitors, Greg Boddie and Tony Langley, but has heard their negative feedback.
“I have been getting a lot of negative about me from [Boddie and Langley],” Ham said. “I have not responded to any of it and I want to leave it that way. They can do all the negative they’d like, but I’m not going to respond to that …
“As long as I’m in politics, I will never go to the muddy, dirty side. I leave that up to others. I don’t think the public wants that, I don’t think they like that, I think that says poorly of your character.”
The election will be held on May 24. Ham said anyone who wishes to contact him can text or call him on his cellphone, 334-319-0691.