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Merrill moving to engineering firm, doesn’t rule out return to public office

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Next week when he leaves public office, Secretary of State John Merrill will begin work for a large, private engineering firm. But he’s not ruling out a return to public office in the future.

Starting Monday, Merrill will be the director of public policy and strategic markets for Jackson, Mississippi based Waggoner Engineering.

The civil engineering firm has offices in six states and Washington, D.C. Merrill will be based in the Birmingham location.

“I will be helping them identify new possibilities for expanded growth and development while we help communities around our state grow and develop and mature the way that they want to in a planned and organized fashion,” Merrill told Alabama Daily News this week. “And I’m excited about this opportunity.”

In elected office, Merrill has prided himself on visiting each year all 67 Alabama counties. In his chief election officer role, Merrill said today he’ll be in Dallas County with District Attorney Michael Jackson to discuss an alleged election integrity issue there.

Prior to his two terms as secretary of state, Merrill served one term in the Alabama House of Representatives.

In spring 2021, Merrill admitted, after media reports, that he’d had a relationship with a woman outside his marriage. At the time, he was days away from announcing a second for the U.S. Senate in 2022, but instead pledged not to seek any office that year, citing poor choices he’d made.

Asked this week if he may later seek another public office down the road, Merrill said that question applies to the rest of his life.

“And I hope that’s gonna be a long time,” Merrill, 59, said. “I don’t know whether or not elective office is something I will pursue again or not. I have been very fortunate to have achieved the goals that I have set so far in elected service. 

“And I feel as though, and people seem to validate, my service in those positions in the Legislature and the Secretary of State has distinguished me in a positive way, as far as accomplishments are concerned. And with that being said, are there other things that I think I could do and be effective? Definitely.”

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