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New member profile: Rep. Brock Colvin

Where he once roamed the halls as an Alabama State Senate intern, District 26 Rep. Brock Colvin is now the youngest member of the State Legislature.

Now 27, Colvin believes his age will allow him to connect with the topics and concerns of a younger generation, bringing his perspective and firsthand experience to the Legislature.

“In Montgomery, I’m pretty much the youngest person in every room that I walk in,” Colvin told Alabama Daily News. “My age is no secret, and I take pride in that. I ran to get my generation involved. People tell us all the time that we are the future. I know it’s cheesy to hear, but if we don’t get involved right now, we may not have a future.”

House District 26 represents southern Marshall County. Rep. Kerry Rich formerly held the seat but did not seek reelection in 2022. Colvin won the GOP primary in May and went on to win the General Election with 88% of the vote — behind him was the support of the young Republican party.

“Brock knows the issues, he knows what impacts the state and he knows how to bring younger, little bit more forward-thinking solutions to the Legislature for young people and Alabama,” Dalton Dismukes, Alabama Young Republicans Federation state chair, said. “Whether you’re Republican or Democrat, he, along with all the other young legislators, are going to impact young Alabamians in a way that people under the age of 40 haven’t really had.”

Colvin campaigned for fiscal responsibility, standing with farmers, improving education, expanding rural broadband and standing firm in his traditional Alabama values.

“Growing up and having that pride of where I am from and hearing people say, “I can’t wait to leave Marshall County” or “I can’t wait to leave Alabama,” offended me because I love Alabama,” Colvin said. “Instead of running away from the problem, we can run to the problem and address the issues of this generation.”

Colvin has been assigned to the Ways and Means Education, Commerce and Small Business and Insurance committees.

“I grew up in a family where my dad was a restaurant owner right here in Albertville for the majority of my life and my mom was an educator,” Colvin said. “I’ve seen the day-in and day-out struggles of a small business and my mom not physically but figuratively beat into me how important education is. I am excited to bring my perspective.”

Education is expected to be a focus in the Legislature’s session that begins March 7,  specifically with expanded school choice discussions.

“In terms of the issues facing education, it’s not just making sure everybody gets a four-year degree — we’ve got to get over the stigma that going to tech or trade school is a bad thing,” Colvin said.

Along with education, Colvin hopes to ensure taxpayers money is being used wisely whether it is in the classroom or for workforce development.

“I’m going to make sure, especially on the education budget committee, that our taxpayers’ money is being spent wisely. There’s nothing more frustrating than looking at what’s happening in DC, being a taxpayer, and seeing how they’re wasting our money,” Colvin said. “That’s going to be my approach, asking are our tax dollars being spent efficiently and I believe some reforms need to be made to Alabama’s tax system.”

Q&A with Rep Brock. Colvin

Q: After graduating from the University of Alabama in 2019, why did you decide to move back to Albertville and call District 26 home? 

A: “Growing up in Albertville and Marshall County, I just had so much pride in my community and the people there. There was no question that after graduating, I would move back home.

“… At a young age, I had an interest in serving, and I said if I’m going to serve any community in public service, I’d like to serve my home.”

Q: When did you develop an interest in public office and state government? Why did you choose this seat as your first run for elected office?

A: “I was at Sneed State Community College and was a Presidential Scholar, and we took a trip to D.C. As a kid growing up, I obviously took history classes and civics classes, but it never really hit home with me. Then I went to DC, and seeing it in person opened my eyes to the possibilities. That was right in the middle of the 2016 election, which we all remember well, and I started paying attention to both sides listening and learning the issues and gained a really big interest in politics itself.

When I went to the University of Alabama, I took an internship in Montgomery in the Alabama State Senate —I took a semester off from school. Seeing it up close —the process of how the budgets were made, meeting all the members and the associations, and this networking— kind of really made me realize that I believe my abilities and my interests were on the state level in the state legislature, so I just fell in love with it.”

Q: You are arguably the most connected with this generation’s most pressing issues —like education, broadband expansion, and workforce opportunities. How will you bring this perspective to other members of the house?

A: “I’m only 27, but how we won the election, how we carried ourselves, and just the community I come from, there’s already a lot of respect there.

I’m excited to work with all my members, but you’re exactly right. I come from a traditional conservative viewpoint; however, I recognize the interest and concerns of my generation.

With economic development, if we want to come back to Alabama and raise a family, we want to make sure it’s a safe community, we want to make sure we have job opportunities, and we want to make sure there are things to do.

We can come back and serve our communities and try to make it better so that when our kids are graduating and trying to find out where they want to go and what jobs they want to have, the top of their list is coming back home to Marshall County or staying in Alabama. So, I’m really excited about sharing my viewpoint.”

Q: On your campaign website, you highlighted those same issues. What do you think the fix is to the matters that Alabama faces in education and broadband access, specifically when you mentioned vocational and technical training expansion?

A: “Broadband is huge, especially in rural communities like Marshall County. The pandemic proved that if you don’t have sufficient internet access at home, it’s hard to get by these days — it truly is as necessary a utility as heating, water and electricity. So, we’ve got to start thinking of it in that mindset.

“… I grew up in a household where my mom was a teacher. She always checked out report cards and made sure we were truly giving our best effort to make the best grades possible and truly learning to get as much out of our education as possible. I’ve been around education my entire life, and I see the importance of it; however, the job and workforce demand aren’t really those four-year degrees or higher. Right now, the jobs may require a two-year degree or certificate or going to tech or trade school. A lot of people realize now that if you did go to tech school or trade school, get that certificate and become a mechanic or a lineman or plumber, mechanic, you get out of tech school, you get a job and it’s not too long before you’re making six figures and you have no college debt.

I think that is how we have to change, and then that’s how we will affect and change our workforce crisis and education — the two go hand-in-hand.”

Q: School choice expansion will likely come up in this year’s session. “School choice” is a broad term, but what might you support as someone who graduated from a public school in Alabama?

A: “Exactly, a lot of people campaigned on school choice, but when you get down to it, what exactly is school choice? Here in Marshall County, we have great public schools. I went from a public school in Albertville to Snead State Community College and then the University of Alabama, so I’m a product of public education.

We can’t just say public education is a bad thing. But I do believe in competition. So I’m a fan of charter schools. I’m a fan of private schools — I have two really good private schools here in my district as well. So I see the need for them, and I like competition.

My thinking of school choices is that I want to avoid a ZIP Code determining where somebody can go to school because, unfortunately, there are some bad public schools across the state.

“… So in those areas, it will be more important than it may be in my district.

But we have got to fine-tune and look at why schools are failing. So my answer is when we’re funding public schools are we making sure our tax dollars are getting to the classrooms? Are we listening to our teachers who fight the battle day in and day out and know the issues better than us sitting in a committee in Montgomery? So the main thing is going to be listening. I want to ensure that they’re getting the best possible education and opportunity right here in Alabama, whether a kid goes to public school, a charter school, a private school, or tech school, or whatever it is.”

Q: During your campaign, you talked about fiscal responsibility. With an education background in finance, what changes do you want to see made in the state?

A: “I get so frustrated looking at the federal government; every year, they raise their debt, print off more money, and send it out. And when you have irresponsible spending like that, we may be heading into a recession in 2023. Inflation has gotten out of hand, interest rates are on the rise. So there are consequences if you don’t spend taxpayers’ money wisely.

I want to make sure that our money is being spent wisely, whether it’s education, economic development, workforce development, broadband, mental illness, health care, or transportation. Now, we’re not just throwing money at a problem and hoping it solves itself. We are asking, do we have good policies and solutions to the issues besides just throwing money around? That’s going to be my approach, asking are our tax dollars being spent efficiently. I believe some reforms need to be made to Alabama’s tax system, but that might be a conversation for another day because I could talk about that for hours.”

Q: You’ve been assigned to the Ways and Means Education and Commerce and Small Business committees. Both are areas you have experience in and are familiar with, as your mother is an educator and your father owns a family business. What are your goals for yourself on those committees?

A: “… My dad was the owner of a small business. He ended up selling it in 2014 and is now in the car business. A lot of times, when the state is recruiting industries to the state, they forget about the small businesses. Well, small businesses account for a large percentage of our workforce, so they are extremely important.

I was talking to somebody the other day about the economic incentives we’re having to renew and look at this year in the session. I want to ensure there is something in there for small businesses and our existing industries in Alabama. I have so many small businesses in my district that make up a vast majority of the workforce and the economy. I’m going to focus and make sure we do not forget them. It’s great, don’t get me wrong, when we land a Toyota Mazda, or we get an Amazon plant or whatnot, but we can’t forget about our small business owners.”

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