By Ray Melick

Lew Burdette stood on a deck, flanked by his family, in front of the lake on the Shelby County facility of the King’s Home where he has served as President of the facility that has served abused and neglected women and children for the past 19 years.

“Words can’t express how excited I am,’’ Burdette said. “But also humbled by the challenge before us to make this great state great.”

The 62-year-old Burdette officially began his campaign to be elected Governor of Alabama in 2022. He enters a field that includes incumbent Governor Kay Ivey, businessman Tim James, former Ambassador Lindy Blanchard, pastor Dean Odle, and now a late addition to the field, Springville mayor Dave Thomas.

His wife, Susie, took the stage first and talked about how being on the campus of King's Home reminded her of transformation.

“Under my husband’s leadership, it [King’s Home] is a different place than it was when we got here,” she said. “It was not reaching its full potential, then Lew went to work and gave King's Home what it needed. A leader and a fighter – and now it is thriving. It has reached new levels under his leadership and has made a difference in the lives of thousands of women and children.”

That was the dominant theme of Burdette’s first public campaign speech.

“I am a fighter,’’ Burdette said. “Fighting for my life at the bottom of a well [when he was kidnapped, stabbed, and shot as a 15-year-old], fighting for moms and kids here at King’s Home. Now let me fight for you, the citizens of Alabama.”

His message was that Alabama can do better, that after 40 years of various leaders the state still ranks near the bottom in “education, healthcare, prisons” he said. “It angers me to see 40 years of no change. We don’t have 40 more years to wait.”

Besides advocating for better education, health care, prison reform and sticking up for small businesses, he is advocating campaign finance reform, saying that Alabama is one of only a few states that doesn’t have limits on campaign contributions to people running for state office. He proposes a limit of $10,000 per contribution and pledged not to accept contributions over that amount.

“We need complete transparency with all campaign donations, not hiding behind some PAC [political action committee] we’ve never heard of,’’ Burdette said. “And that's what happens every election and it keeps lifetime politicians in office. It’s a rigged system and the deck is stacked against candidates like me running for political office. Being elected to public office was not meant to be a lifelong career.”

Instead, he proposed “$22 to,’’ Burdette said. “The state is at a crossroad, and I believe enough people giving $22 can change this state.”

Then he smiled and added, “Any supporter who can give $10,000, I’ll take that too. But not a penny more.”

Burdette said he’s been told he doesn’t have a chance.

“I’ve been told it will take a miracle to win this race,’’ he said. “But read my story and you’ll know why I know God can work a miracle.”

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