Jefferson County Commission

Bolin Points to Judicial Experience in Race for JeffCo Commission

Former Alabama Supreme Court justice Bolin is running for the Jefferson County Commission District 5 seat in the July 18, 2023 special election. (Source: Campaign website)

Mike Bolin could only play so many rounds of golf.

The former Alabama Supreme Court justice says he was miserable after retiring Jan. 15 of this year. He found that he’s more like his Fairfield steelworker father than he realized.

“He used to work every day,” said Bolin, who’s running for the unexpired District 5 seat on the Jefferson County Commission. “Back in those days, you didn’t get paid if you didn’t work. I’ve always wanted to be my father’s son. I didn’t realize how much I was in certain ways.”

Bolin, of Vestavia Hills, plays golf every weekend with three buddies who have been his friends for 40 to 50 years. The rounds are relaxed: The foursome doesn’t keep score and if – when – someone knocks a ball into the water, somebody else is tossing him another ball to hit again.

“We gig each other and we have a great time,” the former justice said. “That’s my avocation. But I couldn’t just get up every day and want to go to the golf course.”

So after 16 years as probate judge of Jefferson County and 18 years on the Alabama Supreme Court, the 74-year-old decided to toss his hat into the ring to fill the unexpired term of Steve Ammons, who stepped down to become CEO of the Birmingham Business Alliance. If he wins the Tuesday election, he would serve until 2026.

“If I lose this race Tuesday, I’m not mad at anybody,” he said. “I’ll support the winner. But if I am elected, I’ll work my butter cup off to make my county a better place so that when my daughter moves back from Nashville, she’ll be right here close to where I am.”

Bolin said he would enjoy working with his four fellow commissioners.

“I just got off an 18-year gig where I worked with eight other people,” he said with a laugh. “You can think you’re the smartest person in the world and have the best idea or whatever. But if you didn’t get four other people to agree with you, it didn’t really matter what you thought.

“I really look forward to … working with the leadership picked by the same citizenry I love just from different districts,” Bolin continued. “Even though we’re elected by districts, we’ve got to have the same goal and we serve the same people and that is the citizens of all the county.”

The candidate said he’s always believed in public safety. That would be a focus of his term on the commission. “Whether I’m on the Public Safety Committee for the commission or not,” he said, “I want to go around to not only just the police chiefs but some of the police officers that are out there and ask them, ‘What do you see as our answer (to crime).’”