New Member Profile: Rep. Wes Allen for House District 89

New Member Profile: Rep. Wes Allen for House District 89

By CAROLINE BECK, Alabama Daily News

Rep. Wes Allen is the new House member for District 89, which covers all of Pike County and parts of Dale County.

Allen hails from Troy and has served as the Pike County Probate Judge since 2009. Originally appointed by Gov. Bob Riley in 2009, Allen would go on to win a term in his own right in 2012.

When Allen’s predecessor, Rep. Alan Boothe announced he would retire after 20 years in the Alabama Legislature, it generated great interest from candidates on both sides of the aisle. Allen’s was a rare case for Alabama in which both his primary and general election contests were competitive.

Allen would go on to win each handily, earning an opportunity to represent his hometown in the Alabama House of Representatives.  But he won’t be the only Allen in the State House building.

Wes Allen’s father, Gerald Allen, is a State Senator from Tuscaloosa and previously served as a State Representative for District 62. It will be the first time in Alabama’s history that a father and son are serving in the Alabama Legislature simultaneously.

Allen also has a colorful college history. He played wide receiver for the University of Alabama under head coaches Gene Stallings and Mike DuBose, and position coach Dabo Swinney. He was recently tagged in an old photo showing how he and his teammates went on to success after college.

Even though this is Allen’s first term in the Legislature,  he believes that his time as being a probate judge for around 10 years has allowed him to understand the people in his district better and afforded him unique experience to help him serve constituents.

District Map

Eight Questions with Rep. Wes Allen

Caroline Beck: So tell me what first made you want to get into politics? Was there any one moment that made you decide to start running?

Wes Allen: I don’t think there was any one moment. I started paying attention to the political process right after high school and was simply interested in it. I had an opportunity in 2009 to serve as probate judge when Gov. Riley appointed me in Pike County and then of course, ran for my own term in 2012, and was able to get elected for my own term. Then from there I was just able to see from my work, day in and day out, from the good people in Pike County Court House and to interact daily with the taxpayers and the hardworking people of Pike County. So I have seen the impact that local officials can have on their community and that’s what helped me in my decision to run for your state house.

CB: What is one thing that your constituents would be surprised to know about you?

WA: I think people would be surprised to know that I was a walk on football player for Alabama. I was able to play for two head coaches, Coach Gene Stalings and Coach Mike DuBose and my position coach at the time was Dabo Swinney and I learned a lot from those guys and Dabo just had a tremendous impact and was a high energy guy and I’m not surprised at all by his success at Clemson. So I was able to walk on the football team and accomplish a dream I had as a very small child and was very fortunate to be in that position and still cary friendships to this day. It taught me a lot about hard work and perseverance.

CB: What is your favorite thing to do in your down time?

WA: Anytime that I have to relax I really like to go to whatever my children are involved in. I like to attend all of the sports, cheerleading, or dance events that they are involved in. I’ve got a son whose a junior in high school and a daughter that’s in ninth grade, so they are very active young people so downtime is with them and my wife Kay.

CB: What is something about your district that many people living outside of it don’t know about it? What is your favorite thing about your district?

WA: I think a lot of people probably don’t know that we have a Lockheed Martin plant in our county that makes missles that help protect our country. Also, a new addition to our county will be a firearms manufacture Kimber that will be producing firearms in our district. But our district is very dynamic and I am proud of it and very proud to represent District 89.  My favorite aspect about where I live is the people and getting to interact with them and to serve them in this capacity is a privilege.

CB: I know your father is also serving in the senate, can you tell me about your relationship with him and has he taught you anything specific or unique about how to be a good legislator?

WA: Dad first ran for the State House in ’94 and he served four terms in the House and then ran for the Senate in 2010.  So very early on just seeing his work ethic and seeing how hard he works has been something that has been passed on to me. There is no one who out-works him. I think what he has also passed on to me is that if you want to do this job and do it well, you have to be a good listener. Those are the two most important things he’s passed on to me.

CB: Are there any hinderences or complications for you because your father is also in the legislature?

WA: No, I don’t think so. He represents a different part of the state than I do. He represents the Tuscaloosa area, and I’m in the southeastern part of the state. So no I don’t think there are any complications in working so closely to him. Really it’s an honor to be the first father and son to serve simultaneously in the state legislature in the state’s history. I think that is really neat and I know he’s excited about it too.

CB: What are the top issues that you are the most passionate about tackling in your first term?

WA: One of the things that I’ve noticed as probate judge is that sometimes well-intentioned laws get passed and then some authority is passed along to unelected bureaucrats who then are able to create rules that make it harder for people to go out reach the American dream. One of the things that I’m going to pay attention to is the red tape and bureaucracy in this state so that we can help small businesses succeed instead of strangling them.

CB: Are there any bills that you have your eye on in the future or that have already been discussed so far that you are involved in?

WA: Right now there isn’t a bill but I’ve been placed on the Judiciary Committee and the Constitutions, Campaigns and Elections Committee, and the Urban and Rural Development Committee, which I am very honored to be a part of. I am looking forward to getting to work on them and I think my experience in the probate office will bring a unique perspective as a local elective official who was the chief elective official for all those years. I think that experience will serve this district well and we’re looking forward to rolling up our sleeves on that rural and urban development committee as well.