By Jean Cole
A 32-year-old former soldier will join the race for Limestone County Sheriff.
Eric Redd of the Owens community is the fifth Republican to announce plans to try to unseat incumbent Sheriff Mike Blakely, a Democrat who has been sheriff for 31 years. Other candidates are Randall McCrary, a Lauderdale County sheriff’s deputy and automotive technology instructor; Brad Pullum, a real estate appraiser and former lawman; John Romine Sr., a former supervisor at Limestone prison; and Eric Smith, an Alabama state trooper.
Redd, who does instrument and controls design engineering, was born in Hollywood, Fla., but raised in Limestone County. He decided to run for sheriff because he believes the sheriff should serve the people and be answerable to the people.
"I've seen people running for office who do so because they've gone as far as they can, and running for office or sheriff is a natural progression to their career," Redd said. "It was intended in the beginning of this country that being elected to office was considered a service to your country, and when you completed your service, you went back to your life as an ordinary citizen. This idea has been corrupted, and now we have professional politicians staying in office for 30-plus years."
Redd, who believes in term limits, said he would run as a "constitutional sheriff," focusing on the 1st, 2nd and 4th Amendments.
"These amendments have been under assault by those who have sworn to protect those rights," Redd said. "If elected, I will uphold the Constitution above any laws. I will enforce state laws and would not use the law, busts or arrests to increase my campaign arsenal."
He said he would like to focus on violent crimes, such as meth, heroin and cocaine, and also push for stiffer penalties on sex offenders and child molesters.
"I find it sad that people who commit horrible and unspeakable acts to women and children sometimes do less time than people who have been convicted of minor drug offenses," Redd said.
He said upholding citizens' constitutional rights, civil liberties and bringing to justice those who violate another citizen's rights and civil liberties is the task the people entrust to our law enforcers.
"I will not shrink away from any government, corporation or man that threatens, suppresses or comes to confiscate or steal any property, land, guns, money, rights or liberty from the citizens of Limestone County," Redd said.
He added that it is not the job of law-enforcement officers to write tickets, which he considers "taxation through citation."
Redd attended Athens City Schools, earning his diploma from Athens High in 2000, and later attended Barstow Community College. He joined the Army the day after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the United States. He was a gunner on the M1A2 Abrams main battle tank, serving from 2001 to 2005 before receiving an honorable discharge. During his service, he earned the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal and Combat Lifesaver.
He and his wife Miranda have been married 11 years and have three children, Gavin, 8; Wyatt, 5; and Lily'Ana, 6 months.
The primary election, which would allow each party to select its frontrunner, is nearly a year away on June 3, 2014. The general election, which will decide which candidate becomes sheriff, will be Nov. 4, 2014.