2024 Election

Meet the Republican Congressional District 6 Candidates

Three men are vying for the Republican nomination to represent Alabama’s 6th Congressional District – incumbent Rep. Gary Palmer and challengers Kenneth McFeeters and Gerrick Wilkins. Here’s a bit about them.

Kenneth McFeeters

Kenneth McFeeters, 63, who is also known as “Abe” McFeeters was born in Montreal, Canada, and grew up in Birmingham. He became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1981.

McFeeters founded and has worked with PAC Insurance for 42 years. The company has three offices in the Birmingham area.

McFeeters has been active in and a past president of the Mid Alabama Republican Club, a position that he refers to as his “political home for the last 18 years.”

According to his website, he has been a leader in procuring legislation for the insurance industry.

In January, he used artificial intelligence to fake a Zoom call with Donald Trump to attack his opponent Palmer, who called the action, “a desperate attempt by a candidate who has nothing to offer in this race.”

If elected, he has vowed to serve no more than 10 years in the House, which is a direct poke at Palmer, who is running for reelection despite his campaign promise to limit his tenure to five terms.

He is an author of “Hannah and the Cajun Navy,” a youth-centered novel about a young girl and her father being trapped and rescued from a Louisiana flood.

McFeeters contends that not enough research with positive results has been done on the mRNA vaccine offered for children 2-12 to fight COVID-19. During the height of the pandemic, he was among the voices calling for the controversial use of Ivermectin, a horse de-wormer, to fight COVID.

He describes himself as “a most unique candidate.”

 Gary Palmer

U.S. House Rep. Gary Palmer, 69, was born in Haleyville and grew up in Hackleburg.

U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer (Campaign website)

He was elected to Alabama’s 6th Congressional District seat in 2014 and is seeking his sixth term in the Republican Primary on March 5. He is opposed by Gerrick Wilkins of Vestavia Hills and Kenneth McFeeters of Hoover.

Palmer was a walk-on member of the University of Alabama’s football team under coach Bear Bryant and he received his bachelor’s degree in operations management from the school.

His work in the private sector for the next 12 years included nine years with major engineering construction companies.

In 1992, he founded the Alabama Family Alliance, which later became the Alabama Policy Institute, a conservative think tank where he served as president for 24 years.

In Alabama, he served on various state commissions under four governors.

His election to the House in 2014 was his first run for public office.

Palmer now serves on the House Oversight and Accountability and the Energy and Commerce committees, and he is on the House subcommittees on energy, environment and climate change, and oversight and investigations.

He has served as chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee since 2019.

Palmer has been a member of the Birmingham Rotary Club since 1993 and is a Paul Harris Fellow. He holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Mobile, a Christ-centered school.

Palmer and his wife, Ann, live in Hoover and attend Briarwood Presbyterian Church. They have three children: Claire, Kathleen and Rob.

Gerrick Wilkins

Gerrick Wilkins (Campaign website)

Gerrick Wilkins, a Republican candidate for Congressional District 6, moved to Alabama in 2004 and to Vestavia’s Hills’ Liberty Park in 2014.

This is his first run for public office.

Wilkins, 43, was born in Durango, Colorado, and grew up in New Mexico. He attended Pensacola Christian College, where he met his wife of 24 years, Carol. He received a bachelor’s degree from Liberty University and a master’s in business from Samford University.

He has been a businessman in the automotive industry for 24 years and has managed large-scale dealerships and helped community-based dealerships grow. He says the experience helped him to see the problems of small businesses with federal “over regulations and excessive tax policies.”

He served as finance director for Sonic Automotive for five years, then sales manager at Precision Honda and Nisan for two years, general manager of Serra Kia in Gardendale for seven years, executive vice president and chief operating officer for Heritage Auto Finance in Birmingham for eight years and general manager of Greenway Automotive for seven years, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Some jobs were held concurrently. Recently he served as a broker for the sale of dealerships, closing 34 franchise dealership sales valued at more than $500 million.

He said he is running for Congress because citizens need to say, “We don’t want career politicians anymore. We want citizen lawmakers.”

Describing himself as a “solid fiscal conservative,” he says faith plays a pivotal role in his life.

He is affiliated with Meadowbrook Baptist Church, Gideon’s International, Mission Increase of Central Alabama, Samford University’s Brock School of Business and the National Rifle Association.