Having spent ten years serving on the Troy City Council, six of which were as the council’s president, newly-elected Alabama House Rep. Marcus Paramore said his decision to run for office was a matter of expanding his ability to encourage economic development across the state.
“That’s really why I wanted to run; we’ve done great things right here in this one little spot, so let’s do great things (from) a broader perspective,” Paramore told Alabama Daily News.
Running to represent Pike County and north and east Dale County in House District 89, Paramore secured the Republican nomination facing no challengers, and went on to win the general election in November of 2022 uncontested. Paramore decided to make the bid for office after the seat’s previous holder, Wes Allen, ran for Secretary of State.
Paramore’s experience includes the aforementioned ten years on the Troy City Council, including serving on additional commissions such as on the city’s Planning Commission, as well as working as the director of government relations with Troy University. Paramore has also worked for U.S. Rep. Terry Everett as a staffer, and was a key player in bringing in the Kimber Manufacturing facility to his community.
It’s that experience in incentivizing economic development, Paramore said, that he hopes to bring to the state Legislature.
“Serving on the Troy City Council, that I think prepared me for dealing with day-to-day issues that affect the lives of our constituents,” he said. “Voting on things that affect people’s pocket books and how they live their lives, I think that’s a unique perspective that I bring to the table.”
Being appointed to four Alabama House committees, Paramore will serve on the State Government, Education Policy, Financial Services, and Fiscal Responsibility.
Q&A with Rep. Marcus Paramore *questions are paraphrased
Q: What was your motivation in running for office?
“The main motivation was after serving ten years on Troy’s City Council – six of which I was the president of the council – Troy has experienced a lot of growth economic development wise, jobs, what we call quality of life economic development such as shopping, retail and restaurants.
I just saw a need to take that to a broader perspective; not just for Troy, all of Pike County, all of north Dale County and all of District 89, but also the region and the state. That’s really why I wanted to run; we’ve done great things right here in this one little spot, so let’s do great things (from) a broader perspective.”
Q: What are some of your legislative priorities?
“The things that I really want to look after are No. 1, economic development; providing quality jobs and opportunities for everybody, but especially our children and grandchildren. I don’t want to have a lot of brain drain from southeast Alabama. Our kids go to school, and then they go off to some bigger city to find a job; I want them to have a good quality job here in their own backyard.
Economic development is probably my number one priority. Number two would be making sure our schools have the resources to provide a quality education to our children and grandchildren. We also need quality health care; being in a rural part of the state, health care is very important, it’s very vital.
I personally think two of the biggest proponents in recruiting industry to your area are a good education system and good health care. Without those, you’re not going to convince too many corporations, companies or manufacturing plants to move to your area.
We have a university in our town, Troy University, and it’s hard to recruit students and athletes if you don’t have good quality health care.”
Q: What do you see as a road map to improving the state’s health care infrastructure?
“I think the road map for solving some of the funding issues for rural hospitals is an ever-changing road map. I know we have used some ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) funds before now to assist our rural hospitals; I would like for us to continue to use some of those funds to assist our rural hospitals.
I’m not necessarily in favor of Medicaid expansion, tax increases or anything like that, but I think we need to use some of the existing funds we have to make sure our rural hospitals are secure.”
Q: Where do you land on the issue of school choice, or taking funds earmarked for public education and allowing them to follow students to public charter schools, private schools or homeschooling?
“I want to take a hard look at it. I think the terminology of school choice is very popular, I think the majority of Alabamians probably support school choice, but really what are the details of any proposed legislation that’s out there, and how does it overall affect the quality of education everywhere? I want to see some numbers crunched, I want to see what is the actual policy and how it’s going to be implemented… I want to see all that before I form an opinion.”
Q: Are there any issues particular to your district that you’d like to address as a legislator?
“I want to make sure our farming and agricultural business communities are taken care of. Being a small business owner in the retail industry, I want to make sure the burdens and red tape that a lot of times we put on small businesses, we eliminate that stuff. Let’s make it easy for people to be entrepreneurial, start a business and go to work instead of making it difficult.
I want to keep studying things like business privilege tax, things of that nature. I know the Legislature reduced that in the past, but I want to continue to look at some of those things to make sure we’re not putting undue regulations or financial restraints on small businesses.”
Q: Alabama is currently sitting on a budget surplus of more than $2.7 billion. Have you thought of what you’d like to see done with the surplus?
“Let’s make sure we have money set aside for when things aren’t as good as they are right now. I’m a firm believer that it’s not a bad thing to save and make sure you have some for a rainy day.
As far as ARPA funds are concerned, I would like for us to spend as much of that money on infrastructure, rural hospitals, things of that nature to make sure things are going smoothly. It’s one thing to expand your community and bring industry in, but if you don’t have the funds to get your infrastructure in the right place, it’s kind of tough.”
Q: Do you see workforce development as playing an important role this upcoming session?
“Having worked for a four-year school, I think workforce development is a very key component to economic development; if you don’t have a trained workforce, you’re not going to recruit very much industry to come into your state, so I think it’s very vital.
I think the two-year system does a wonderful job with providing workforce development, (so) yes, I think that’s something that has to be a very vital component to economic development.”
Q: Are there any House committee assignments you’re excited about in particular?
“I’m really excited to be a part of the Financial Services Committee, banking is a very vital role of our economy, our banks have to be strong and solvent. Independent banks are very near and dear to me because they’re the lifeblood of a lot of small communities, so I’m excited about helping that industry continue to grow and prosper.
I’m excited about (the) Education Policy Committee because I think it helps mold the policy issues that face public education in our state, and I’m looking forward to rolling up my sleeves, getting in there and seeing what all those proposals that are put before us.”
Q: What personal and professional experience do you have you feel may help you as a legislator?
“Twenty years of being the director of governmental affairs for Troy University has given me a unique perspective on processes that may be different from others that are just entering the Legislature. I think I understand the process and can work within that process and make good things happen in my district.
Serving on the Troy City Council, that I think prepared me for dealing with day-to-day issues that affect the lives of our constituents. Voting on things that affect people’s pocket books and how they live their lives, I think that’s a unique perspective that I bring to the table.”