Alabama Legislature

House District 16 Special Election Candidates

The Alabama House District 16 Candidates, Republican Primary

Brad Cox

Age: 33

Brad Cox, Republican candidate for House District 16. (Courtesy of Brad Cox)

Residence: Fayette

Occupation: Banker at Alabama ONE Credit Union. Before, Cox was a high school teacher.

Education: B.S., Agricultural Education, Auburn University, 2012; M.A., Agricultural Education, Auburn University, 2013.

Party: Republican

Previous political experience/campaign: Fayette County Commissioner, District 1, 2021-present.

Fundraising: Cox has raised $47,544 and spent $38,185 as of September 15. Cox is the candidate with the most contributions from PACs, totalling $33,000 from 13 PACs. His largest contributors are Alabama Voice of Teachers for Education (AVOTE), a PAC affiliated with the Alabama Education Association, and the Alabama Credit Union Legislative Action Council. Each donated $5,000.

Cox said that it’s time for young, conservative Republicans to “step up to the plate and throw their hat in the ring.” He said that he’s passionate about public service, and he feels that his set of personal and professional experience will complement the position.

Citing his prior experience as a high school teacher, Cox said he wants to expand tech training for young Alabamians. By training young folks for high paying, tech jobs, he hopes to keep young talent in his district and in Fayette County, which reported population losses in the 2010 and 2020 censuses.

“As I’ve knocked on doors, met with stakeholders in the communities, it’s a lot of gray hair, and in a lot of ways, that’s good, but I think we’ve got to expand and grow our industry and job opportunities for people in this district,” Cox said.

He also said that infrastructure has been at the forefront as a county commissioner, which he said feeds into another priority for his campaign: business development.

“A lot of the time, rural Alabama kind of gets left out of the equation with funding and infrastructure projects. In my eyes, if we want to recruit business and industry to this area, we’ve got to have infrastructure,” he said.

Greg Fanin

Greg Fanin, Republican candidate for House District 16. (Courtesy of Fanin)

Age: 54

Residence: Berry

Occupation: Retired munitions and ordnance specialist with the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force.

Education: B.S., Public Administration, Samford University, 1994; Associate’s degree in munitions and ordnance from the Community College of the Air Force, 1998.

Party: Republican

Previous political experience/campaign: First-time candidate for political office.

Fundraising: Fanin has raised $27,371, with $23,000 coming from Fanin. As of September 8, he spent $24,938.

As a retired veteran, Fanin said he has the capacity to put his focus entirely on serving the district. He wants to see an industrial park, an area meant to attract investment and create employment, and for continued infrastructure projects on U.S. Highway 43 and State Route 13, two of the major roads running through Fayette.

“We’ve got to have folks. We’ve got to have those roads widened. We got to or it’s going to be unsafe,” he said.

Besides infrastructure, Fanin sees workforce development as his district’s greatest need. He said there is a coal mine coming to Fayette county that has the potential to bring in a significant amount of jobs, and building infrastructure will support workforce development.

“We’ve got the jobs opening up every day,” he said. “We need infrastructure because our little towns and our communities are going to be booming.”

He said that to get these things done, the district needs someone who can dedicate their full-time to working in Montgomery, which he said he is able to do. He said that other candidates have at least one job, and asked, “when do you have time to do anything?”

Floyd Rodgers Jr.

Floyd Rogers Jr., Republican candidate for House District 16. (Courtesy)

Age: 40

Residence: Fayette

Occupations: Coordinator, Alabama Communities of Excellence for the city of Fayette, a program from the Alabama League of Municipalities, an association of cities and towns; minister; business owner.

Education: Technical certificate in quality assurance supervision from Southwest Tennessee Community College, 2010; Church leadership certificate in biblical ministry from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, 2021.

Party: Republican

Previous political experience/campaigns: Candidate, Fayette City Council Ward 2, 2020.

Fundraising: As of Sept. 15, Rodgers had not submitted campaign finance reports.

Rodgers said that he often feels like the elephant in the room. People often tell him they don’t see many Black Republicans, and among his peers, he’s often the only conservative in the room. But he sees that as an opportunity to “connect with everyone, on every level.”

He said from conversations he’s had with voters, people are tired of the division in the community and are “fed up with the political propaganda in the mainstream media.”

“I’m very good at building relationships, and I’m very good at pulling the great minds of our community together to solve problems that we face,” he said.

Rodgers said that he started reading scriptures and studying the Bible during the time he served in prison on a distribution and possession of illegal substance charge. That’s why he makes it a point to travel to the Tuscaloosa County Juvenile Detention Center and the Fayette County Jail to read scriptures.

“I’ve been there before. I’ve been to the place where I was homeless, you know, so I was homeless and helpless and hopeless. You know, so I know how it feels not to have hope,” Rodgers said.

Faith and family is one of his campaign’s priorities, and he said that children have been exposed to “way too much right now.”

“Our youth are getting exposed to things that they shouldn’t be exposed to, dealing with gender and they shouldn’t have to be exposed to things like that,” he said.

Many students, school staff, and LGBTQ rights advocates who opposed these curriculum restrictions say they could lead to incomplete lessons, to some students being afraid to talk about themselves or their families in class and to an increase mental health disparities for LGBTQ youth, according to Chalkbeat.

“I was exposed to some things at a young age, and I know how important that is to make sure they’re exposed to the right things. And also, I know how critical it is when you’re exposed to the wrong things,” he said.


Brian Brinyark

Brian Brinyark (LinkedIn)

Residence: Native of Tuscaloosa

Occupation: Lawyer with Brinyark & Frederick, P.C., in Northport, which focuses on divorce law; municipal court judge for the cities of Tuscaloosa, Brent and Centerville, and for the town of Woodstock.

Education: Bachelor’s from University of Alabama, 1990; Alabama School of Law, 1993.

Party: Republican

Fundraising: As of September 8, Brinyark raised $36,950 and spent $16,257. Brinyark has accepted $14,000 from six PACs, with EDPAC as the largest donor at $5,000.

Mike Simpson

Mike Simpson (Facebook)

Residence: Native of Hueytown

Occupation: Pastor of Smithville Baptist Church; has a law practice in Hueytown; former Bessemer police officer; worked with the Alabama Board of Pardon and Paroles while attending law school.

Party: Republican

Fundraising: Simpson has raised $7,500 and spent $5,638 as of Sept. 8. One PAC, BIZPAC, donated $1,000 to his campaign.




The Candidate, Democratic Primary

John Underwood

John Underwood, Democratic candidate for House District 16. (Courtesy)

Age: 60

Residence: Fayette

Occupation: Part-time police officer at Bevill State Community College, former law enforcement since 1995.

Education: Associates degree in general education, Brewer State Junior College (now Bevill State Community College), 1982.

Party: Democratic

Previous political experience/campaign: Fayette County Commissioner for District 6, 2000-present.

Fundraising: As of Aug. 31, Underwood’s campaign raised $1,995.00, of which he donated $1034.68 for the qualifying fee, and spent $300, not including the qualifying fee.

Underwood, the only Democrat running in for the seat, said that communication will be key for success in the district. He said South, the former district representative, did “a great job” in communicating with both Republicans and Democrats. He hopes to continue that work.

Serving as a county commissioner for the last 23 years, he said he’s got the experience to work with both sides of the aisle.

“Between my jobs with law enforcement and the county commission, I think I can do that job. In fact, I know how to do that job,” he said.

Underwood said that economic development and creating stable jobs are his main priorities, and he wants to keep residents and revenue in the district. Underwood said local leaders must establish incentives for people to stay in the district, including adequate housing.

“if you can’t find a place to stay, I mean, you’re still gonna have to move,” he said. “So you’ve got to have stable housing. You’ve got to be able to afford where you’re living,” he said.

Underwood sees jobs and housing as his campaign priority, but he also believes district residents deserve more access to affordable broadband.

“If you don’t have a stable job, it’s going to be kind of hard to keep getting any kind of broadband or anything else,” he said.

Attempts to set up an interview with Bryan Brinyark and multiple attempts to reach Mike Simpson were unsuccessful. Greg Lowery, who was previously a candidate, was disqualified because the state party’s by-laws prohibit a candidate from running on a Republican ticket within six years of seeking office with another party. Lowery in 2018 ran for Fayette County Probate Judge as a Democrat.

BirminghamWatch contributed to this report.

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