By CAROLINE BECK, Alabama Daily News
Rep. Chip Brown, R-Mobile, is the new Republican representative from House District 105. Brown has been involved in politics almost his entire life and even worked in the Legislature on staff, but this is his first elected position.
Brown said he’s a long-time member of the Alabama Republican party. He served on local and state Republican Executive Committees and on the staff for the former Speaker of the Alabama House Jimmy Clark.
Brown’s district covers the southern most portions of Mobile County, including Dauphin Island. He resides on Hollinger’s Island with his wife, Aimee and their son.
Brown is a member of the Economic Development and Tourism committee, Insurance committee, the Mobile County Legislation Committee and the Urban and Rural Development Committee.
Brown has also spent a significant amount of his professional life working for the military and began his career by signing up for the Alabama Army National Guard after the 9/11 attacks.
Brown says that his time in the military has taught him how to work with a diverse group of people, a skill he says he’ll take to Montgomery.
His House seat was previously held by now-state Sen. David Sessions, R-Mobile.
8 Questions with Rep. Chip Brown
What made you get into politics? Was there one moment that made you decide to run?
Chip Brown: Growing up, my parents instilled a belief in service and the need to stay aware of current events. I have been politically involved since I was in high school. I have volunteered on numerous campaigns and served on the local and state Republican Executive Committees as well as being selected three times to be a delegate to the Republican National Convention. During college I served as an intern for former Congressman Sonny Callahan and as the last intern for former Republican National Committee Chairman Lee Atwater. In the mid 90s, I served on the staff of former Speaker of the House Jimmy Clark. In my role working for Speaker Clark, I saw how important the Legislature is in the lives of the people of Alabama and how with good leadership and ideas we can move Alabama forward, I wanted to be a part of the process. When former representative and now current Sen. David Sessions announced he was running for the Senate, I had several friends and local business owners contact me to consider running in his place. I have had a desire to serve in the House since my time working for Speaker Clark, so I decided to run. I consider Sen. David Sessions a friend and mentor and the opportunity to work with him in the Legislature helped me decide to run.
What is one thing that your constituents would be surprised to know about you?
CB: My undergraduate degree is in History and I collect any type of book I can find relating to South Alabama history. I love the history of South Alabama and Mobile County, especially anything relating to Mardi Gras. Mobile is home to the nation’s oldest Mardi Gras celebration, and I enjoy reading about the history of this amazing celebration.
What is your favorite thing to do in your downtime?
CB: When I have downtime, I like to go out in our boat and fish with my family, spending time on Mobile Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. In addition, I like to kayak, sail and I enjoy hunting and spending time outside. I also enjoy traveling and seeing this amazing country we live in.
What is something about your district that many people living outside of it don’t know?
CB: I represent the southern part of Mobile County which includes most of the coastline of Mobile Bay including Dauphin Island and the rich farms of Irvington and Grand Bay. District 105 has a very diverse economic base. We are home to a large commercial seafood industry including shrimp, crabs, oysters and fish largely based in Bayou la Batre and Coden. South Mobile County also has the largest non-military ship building industry in Alabama. District 105 is forging new paths with oyster farming in our coastal waters. There is a large coastal research facility at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab. Dauphin Island is home to a large charter fishing fleet and white sandy beaches. On any day of the year the bay and coastal waters are full of recreational fishermen. The areas around Grand Bay are loaded with pecan orchards and some of the Alabama’s best crops including, watermelon. Our district is a growing economic force with the new Walmart Distribution Center that has over 1 million square feet under roof. The best days are ahead.
What is your favorite thing about your district?
CB: The thing I like most about my district is the diverse natural landscape with the bountiful agricultural areas, the beautiful and tranquil beaches and waterways. In addition, the people of this area are wonderful and always willing to work together to make their home the best it can be. It’s a sportsman’s paradise with the finest fishing and sandy beaches in Alabama.
What are the top issues that you are the most passionate about tackling in your first term?
CB: As a member of the Economic Development and Tourism Committee, I plan to focus much of my attention on issues involving economic development and bringing good paying jobs to Alabama. I serve on the Insurance Committee and coastal insurance coverage is a top concern of many of my constituents. I also plan to work on issues that focus on outdoors, including commercial and recreational fishing.
Are there any bills that you have your eye on or that have already discussed?
CB: I am involved with several pieces of legislation either as a sponsor or co- sponsor. However, they are still in the working phase and will be introduced in the upcoming session.
What is something you learned during your time in the military that you will take with you in the State House?
CB: I joined the Alabama Army National Guard the week after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and was fortunate enough to serve with some outstanding men and women both at home and during a 15-month deployment. After I left the National Guard, I spent two deployments in Afghanistan as an advisor for US Forces Afghanistan and the International Security Assistance Force, overseeing a nationwide satellite network. I was proud to serve my country. The biggest things I will take with me to Montgomery from my time in the military is how to work with a very diverse group of people while focusing on a specific task. The military taught me how to be patient and organize my efforts to be effective.
You can follow Rep. Brown at his Facebook page.