Charles Nana, a man born in West Africa with degrees in Mechanical Engineering, Biomedical Engineering and Analytical Finance and Strategic Management, is vying for the Democratic bid to challenge Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby in the upcoming election.
For the last 25 years, Nana has worked in the private sector – being called in to repair businesses on the brink of destruction.
“If someone had told me three or four years ago that I would be running for Senate, I would have told them they were crazy,” Nana said. “I want to bring those skill sets from the private sector to the state.”
For Nana, the call to enter the political arena was the children of Alabama.
“When I see the dreams of children disappear in Alabama, where we can do more, it just makes me sad,” Nana said. “I think the current direction of Alabama is disastrous, I want to turn it around completely.”
First and foremost, Nana believes that Alabama must invest in education, thereby bringing more skilled workers to the workforce which, in turn, will bring more jobs to the state.
“Alabama has been on the wrong side of economic issues for a long time,” Nana said. “Every time the state needs more money, they take it out of the education fund. And those Republicans who make these decisions don’t care, they have kids that go to private schools.”
While education, jobs and economics are at the top of Nana’s platform, he also harbors a disdain for the policies of state and national Republicans.
“There is so much hate and fear-mongering,” Nana said. “We are a state in severe and permanent crisis, but we can do better.”
Along with calling for a rewrite of Alabama’s “racist, sexist” constitution, which he calls “filled with the evils of the 19th Century,” Nana endorses an increase in the minimum wage.
“All Mr. Shelby cares about is having his name on a high-rise; all Mr. Shelby cares about is having a $500 dinner with his friends in New York,” Nana said. “And you have children in Wilcox County that are sharing text books.”
“We’re morally bankrupt as a state and as a country,” Nana continued. “Alabama is dead last in almost every metric under the sun, but we can change, we can do better.”
Nana went on to say that, while Republicans often have their strongest support from Christians, Democrats are the “party of faith.”
“Democrats don’t like to fight, but we need to take the moral fight to them,” Nana said. “They like to say they’re pro-life, but they love war. As a Christian, to me, all life is sacred.”
Though Nana takes confidence in the surge of young voters that will be venturing to the polls this year, the candidate noted that his greatest challenge will be in competing with Shelby and other candidates in the funding battle.
“My biggest challenge is a lack of funds,” Nana said. “But once I talk, people understand that ‘yes, we can do this.’ That’s all I’m trying to do, just give me 10 minutes to talk. Everyone who has give me a chance has been pleased.”
The Alabama primary is March 1, the winner from the Democratic Party will go on to challenge Richard Shelby in the General Election on Nov. 8.
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.