A Shoals Face Back in 5th District Race

By Tom MagazzuEditor, Courier Journal | View on the Courier Journal site

Admittedly, this primary season has some very short ballots in northwest Alabama.  The democrat side is especially thin with no local races. There is one obscure state race, the presidential primary and associated delegate races, and the proposed statewide amendment that seeks an appointed state school board instead of an elected one.

There is no race on the Democratic ballot that will have any impact in the November election. 

Republican ballots are a little longer with several state judicial races and the hotly contested US Senate race along with Amendment One.  There are single seats up in each county for the County Commission and Board of Education.  Lauderdale also has a four-man race for County Schools Superintendent and the 5th Congressional District seat with incumbent Mo Brooks against Chris Lewis from Florence.  

Most of us know a lot about Brooks, but very little about Lewis.  If I recall correctly, Lewis is the first Shoals area candidate for this US House seat since Ronnie Flippo held it almost 30 years ago. 

Flippo was succeeded by Bud Cramer who had the similarly strong principles and core beliefs. They were measured, and approachable with the courtesy of an open ear.  The two democrats led with an unsurpassed degree of decorum from 1977-2009 – something that is in short supply anywhere we look in Washington.  

Sure, it is easy to understand the frustration.  Some of the foolishness that has surfaced in recent years is beyond comprehension.  You couldn’t have sold it as bad fiction when Flippo and Cramer served.  

However, decorum should continue to be a goal.  

I know neither candidate  personally.  Neither has spent any campaign  money with us.  However, I have heard both speak in relatively small groups.  

Brooks unapologetically supports the Trump agenda.  Many in this area appreciate that.   Lewis is solidly behind conservative issues as well.  Securing borders, responsible spending, a positive growth environment, religious freedom for all, the 2nd Amendment, defending life, local control of education, and better attention to mental health are all part of his platform. 

Lewis seems to have a great deal of patience.  He takes the hard questions in stride.  That may have been developed through his extensive and diverse military background.  He’s been in tight situations before.  

The Bradshaw High graduate earned his BS in Political Science from the United States Naval Academy in ‘93.  He earned his Wings of Gold as a Naval Flight Officer in 1995.  Lewis added a Master of Arts in 2002 and a degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College in 2007.

As a naval officer, Lewis and his family moved 13 times in 23 years, both domestically and internationally.  He served multiple tours in Afghanistan and Iraq and was deployed throughout the world.  During his distinguished and highly-decorated career Lewis has also occupied several high-profile positions, including one as Strategic Analyst for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s Strategic Commands in Lisbon, Portugal.   Lewis retired in 2016 as Commander from the US Navy, having served for 23 years.  

During that time, he was living through the foreign and domestic policy and the veterans affairs issues being dictated by Washington.  His perspective includes some aspects that the rest of us don’t realize.

Since he and his family have moved back to Florence and started a small farm, Lewis has helped to revive the fortunes of the Children’s Museum of the Shoals and serves as the current Board President.   

Lewis will be the first to tell you that he is not interested in being a career politician. It’s always refreshing to see an attitude of service before self.

And it is good to see a Shoals native in the running for that House seat again.