GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. — (Full Video at the Bottom) Yesterday (June 24th), Representative Will Ainsworth (R – Guntersville) announced his campaign to be Alabama’s next Lieutenant Governor at Guntersville City Hall! The Guntersville First Baptist Church “Pickers” provided entertainment for the event.
Senator Clay Scofield (R – Guntersville) served as the Master of Ceremonies for the event. Marshall County District Judge Hon. Mitch Floyd lead the event in prayer. Ainsworth’s three children: Hayes, Hunter, and Abby lead the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance. Several other state elected officials were in attendance, including Senator Steve Livingston (R – Scottsboro), House Majority Leader Nathaniel Ledbetter (R – Rainsville), and Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill.
Julieann McCulley, Principal of Cherokee Elementary School and former principal of Guntersville Elementary School first addressed the crowd. McCulley said of Ainsworth, “Will has been a great supporter, advocate for education in Guntersville. His vision was to put technology in all the hands of the children in Guntersville. So far, we’re kicking off a one-to-one initiative in the high school down to fifth grade, and a two-to-one in elementary schools.”
“He’s been behind us all the way since he started in his current position. As an educator, I support Will, and I hope the best for him and support him for Lieutenant Governor of Alabama,” said McCulley.
Mike Alred, CEO of Citizens Bank and Trust, would say of Ainsworth: “He’s done a great job in his two-and-half years in the state legislature, and he’ll do a great job as our Lieutenant Governor.”
“One of Will’s qualities is that he questions everything; he doesn’t let anything go unchallenged. Believe me as a church leader, I know that. As a banker, I know that. He doesn’t let anything go unchallenged.”
“I think probably, Senator Scofield could tell you that Wills’ maybe not the most popular guy in Montgomery,” Alred continued. “Because he’s challenged a lot of guys in Montgomery who are very comfortable in their roles in Montgomery, but they are probably not doing the best things for the citizens of Alabama. And thats what Will’s going to bring into this higher office.”
Senator Clay Scofield then introduced Ainsworth: “As Mike said, myself and Will have been in Montgomery working side-by-side, and sometimes, yes, we have gone against leadership. We’ve gone against leadership, not because it’s popular, not because it’s easy; but because it’s the right thing to do for our districts here at home.”
“Will is not a member of the establishment, and I’m very proud to say that. I have seen and watched Will work diligently at making our district here all the better. I’ve seen him work very tirelessly, very tiring days, and coming home to Kendall and the kids at night. A lot of time we’re exhausted. Will makes that drive home; home for his family. Will puts his family first, and puts his faith even above that,” said Scofield.
After thanking the many people who came out to show their support, Ainsworth said, “And one thing I’m excited about… after a lot of prayer, and a lot of council, it’s time for a new day in Alabama, and I’m excited to announce my candidacy for Lieutenant Governor of Alabama!”
Ainsworth explained that he grew up in Boaz; experiencing the American dream through watching his father build a business, and developing the foundation for his faith through his mother, Sharon.
“(My father) lived the American dream, and I got to watch him do that. Starting a business with one employee, and growing it to thousands employees, one of the largest in the state,” said Ainsworth. “I learned from him about faith, I learned from him about family, I learned about hard work….. and these are all building blocks for success that I learned from my father.”
“Ya’ll know my mom, Sharon. She has such a passion for the gospel, she has a passion for life. She’s devoted her life to Marshall County, to telling people about life, about adoption, and how abortion is wrong, and life begins at conception,” Ainsworth said of his mother.
“One of the great things I can say about my parents, is they led me to Christ at the age of 7, and it changed my life forever,” he added.
Ainsworth also mentioned his siblings and their families: “I’m fortunate to have a great brother and sister, and they have great spouses. I couldn’t ask for a better business partner, in my brother Austin. And he’s got a great wife, and they have wonderful kids. I’m so proud of my sister Shannon and her husband Trent, and just everything they stand for. I’m very proud of my family.”
Ainsworth introduced his wife, Kendall who he met at Auburn: “She’s great. She loves kids. She has a passion for kids. She worked in a pre-K program. She volunteered in our children’s ministry at church. And right now, she goes and volunteers to read to kids at school, who are struggling to get a grade level. All that is wonderful; she’s so talented there.”
“She’s a great mom, she’s a rock in our family, and she prays everyday for our future. I couldn’t ask for a better wife,” added Ainsworth.
Ainsworth then reminisced moving back home from Auburn and starting The Dream Ranch, The Tennessee Valley Hunting and Fishing Expo, and becoming involved with commercial cattle.
Ainsworth also laid out what motivates him: “We’ve got one life to make a difference. We’ve got one life to impact people for the Kingdom; through our actions and our words. And we want to make a difference while we’re here. That’s why we went into youth ministry, and that’s why we decided, after praying about it, to go into public service.”
“As a business owner, I understand the regulations and the red tape that hinders what we do. And I’m going to fight for Alabama jobs when I’m Lieutenant Governor,” added Ainsworth.
He then mention the importance of family to himself and to our state: “Families are the most important institution, and if we have strong families, and policies that promote strong families, we’ll have a strong Alabama.”
Then, Ainsworth discussed his vision for what our state needs to turn the corner after recent ethics scandals:
“The first is Ethics. We’ve got a major ethics problem in Montgomery right now. My ethics are guided by my faith. And I have fought against Montgomery everyday since I’ve been down there. I signed impeachment articles with the governor, I introduced term limits legislation, I introduced recall legislation to hold elected officials accountable,” Ainsworth explained.
“I’ve never let a lobbyist buy me a meal, or even spend a dime on me since I’ve been elected,” he added.
Ainsworth then discussed legislation that he had sponsored, which is in the spirit of reform and eliminating the the, “revolving door.”
“Our Secretary of State John Merrill is here, he came to me and we have a problem with double-voting in Alabama, where people were voting twice. My first bill eliminated double voting,” stated Ainsworth.
“My second bill, made the ethics laws in Alabama stronger, and closed what’s called a ‘revolving door.’ We have to turn our state around. Just this week we had two more scandals: A colleague of mine, that got indicted on a federal charge. We also had a state school board member that was involved in a scandal,” he said.
The “school board member” Ainsworth is referring to is Mary Scott Hunter, who is also vying for the Republican nomination for Lieutenant Governor. In the last week, Hunter was named in a, “scheme to malign Dr. (Craig) Pouncey and prevent his selection as state Superintendent.”
“I’m letting Montgomery know, I’ve got a message for the political elite: Yesterday is over, it’s time for a new day in Alabama. Let’s focus on ethical leadership!” he said.
Ainsworth also highlighted his vision when it comes to improving education in our state:
“As Lieutenant Governor, First, is technology. I want us to lead the nation in not only technology, but also uses of technology.” He then recalled a recent article in which an Alabama Prison Commissioner wanted to get “iPads for prisoners and Wifi,” while many of our schools don’t have such luxuries.
“That is broken system. We need vision and leadership to fix that,” said Ainsworth. “Our kids have to be a priority, and as Lieutenant Governor, I’ll fight for funding in our schools.” As Lieutenant Governor, he also seeks to expand Alabama’s Pre-K program.
Ainsworth also noted that Alabamians must be gotten “job-ready,” to improve our workforce: “Everybody has God-given ability, and when you align your god-given ability with your passions, you’re going to be successful in life.” He also discussed the public-private partnerships in Marshall County he has helped cultivate while in public service.
Next Ainsworth addressed developing our economy and recruiting industry: “I want to go sell Alabama. We have low taxes, a tremendous workforce, and the best people in America. I want to go tell our story. There is no where quiet like Alabama. All you have to do is walk out the backdoor to realize the beauty we have with the mountains and the lakes. It’s amazing. We live in a tremendous state. The rest of the country needs to know about Alabama. There is a lot of success stories here, and I want to tell it.”
“We’ve got to get rid of regulations, red tape. Shrink the size of government. Make sure your taxes stay low, and get government out of the way. I’ll always fight for Alabama jobs,” he explained.
And finally, Ainsworth discussed where he stands on conservative issues: “I’m a rock-solid conservative. I’ve always been a conservative my entire life. Since I’ve been in Montgomery, I’ve helped lead the charge to kill a billion dollars in taxes. That’s a billion dollars with a ‘B.’ I’m pro-life, and I believe life begins at conception. I’m pro-family, I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. I’m pro-gun, obviously, I make my living in the hunting and fishing industry; there’s nobody that’s going to be a stronger supporter of your second amendment rights than me.”
“I’ve taken on corruption in Montgomery. I’m a constitutional conservative. And, one of the things that I really want to make sure we do as a state, and I think it’s been unfortunate, is the lack of respect for our law enforcement and military. We’ve got to support and respect our military. Mike Ponder is here, he served in the Special Forces, I want to thank him for his service and support,” said Ainsworth, as the crowd gave Ponder a round of applause.
“We’ve got to make our government smarter, smaller, and above all, honest. And if we do, I’m absolutely convinced that Alabama’s brightest days are ahead of us,” he explained.
“I’m running in order to give the citizens of our state a government thats as honest, hardworking, and as Godly as the people it serves. It’s time for a new day in Alabama, Thank you!” concluded Ainsworth.