“We need to make a change,” said John Martin, a Dothan Republican running against Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby in then upcoming election. “I bring to the table a great deal of life experience and a great deal of leadership experience.”
Martin, the oldest Republican facing off against Shelby, has been affiliated with the United States Army for the last 40 years – he spent 23 years as an Army Ranger and Apache pilot before retiring to work on contracts in Iraq, Fort Rucker and Fort Benning. The conservative candidate has travelled the world and worked closely with officials at the Pentagon in this capacity.
Currently, Martin is working as Senior Aviation Analyst at Fort Rucker.
“I’ve been studying this for awhile,” Martin said. “I’ve kind of has my finger on the pulse from that angle.”
When asked what drew him into this race, Martin cites Shelby’s record – Shelby won his Senate seat as a Democrat in 1986 and switched to the Republican Party in 1994.
“I believe the pulse of the state is anti-Shelby,” Martin said, questioning the long-time Senator’s effectiveness. “The voter nowadays is a bit more knowledgeable, they want somebody with some fresh ideas.”
Chief among Martin’s concerns for Alabama, and the country at large, is illegal immigration.
“We’ve got a lot of people coming into this country illegally and this administration has turned a blind eye to it,” Martin said. “We need to enforce the law.”
Martin echoed and endorsed the sentiment popularized by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, that steps should be taken to stop the immigration of Muslims unless they are skilled professionals willing to assimilate to American culture.
“We’re allowing too many Muslims into the country,” Martin said. “Islam and Sharia Law don’t mix with American values. They are not going to change, what happened 800 years ago is happening right now.”
Martin also took exception to the national debt, which he blames on Congress’s inaction, and the overreach of the federal government, specifically the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the U.S. Department of Education.
“We need to get government out of our daily lives,” Martin said.
While conceding that his campaign coffers can’t match Shelby’s, Martin said he is using a different strategy.
While Shelby is “bombarding” voters with television and radio ads, Martin is using targeted internet ads, a move he admitted worked well for President Barack Obama during the 2008 election.
“I’m really positive about it,” Martin said. “I think there’s a good chance, I wouldn’t be in this race if I didn’t.”
This part is part of our ongoing “Get to know” series spotlighting the various candidates in the 2016 Senate race. Click here to get to know the other candidates we’ve highlighted thus far.