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Political candidates are required to send monthly contribution reports, and when they fail to do so, they often end up in front of the Alabama Ethics Commission, facing penalties.

That was the case Wednesday for the Democratic candidate for Houston County Coroner.

Kimberly Renee Rawls said she doesn't have a political bone in her body. She explained that when she decided to run for coroner, it was about the people.

"I'm not a politician," Rawls told the Commission. "I care for people. I want to be a coroner. I had to go into this teaching people first what a coroner was."

So, when she decided to run for coroner, Rawls said she went to the Democratic office on how to get started. She said she was unable to make monthly reports from March through August because she didn't have any direction on how to go about the process. Once she figured it out on her own, she said she needed an online code she was unable to get.

Facing a $1,767.19 penalty for not reporting, Rawls said she never took contributions for her campaign and funded it all from her personal checking account.

"I don't want people saying, 'You wouldn't be here if it wasn't for me,'" Rawls testified. "So, I decided I would just use my own money so I wouldn't hear the backlash of, 'Oh she thinks she's all that, I put her there,' and so I just did it on my own."

Rawls told the Commission she blames the Houston County Democratic Party for not helping her get started.

"I hate to say this in front of everyone. When I walked into the Democratic office, and I saw the setup, I wanted to be a Republican," said Rawls. "And it shouldn't be like that. You know, I felt like I had a lack of resources. I had no one to teach me. I had no one to mentor me. Where, if I went the other route, I would've had that."

Rawls said she now has a clear understanding of the process, and it has been a learning experience. She hopes others learn from this mistake.

"I feel like the Democratic office in my area needs to be educated so that we can educate young runners," asserted Rawls. "You know, I feel like this is almost intimidation, or it makes me feel like I don't want to run because nobody took the time to educate me, or no one takes the time to educate the young candidates to make them want to run. That's why we have just the older politicians."

The Commission voted to set aside funds and six offenses in a unanimous vote.

1819 News reached out to the Houston County Democratic Party and has not received a response.

To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email erica.thomas@1819news.com.

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