Chapman becomes official candidate for state office

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 29, 2002

Shelby County’s public officials turned out en masse last week to support Beth Chapman’s run for Alabama state auditor.

The auditor position is one of only seven Constitutional offices in the state.

&uot;For years, I have worked for many outstanding Republicans,&uot; Chapman told a packed house at Pelham City Hall last Friday. &uot;I have worked hard. I’ve put up signs, written speeches, raised money and planned strategies.

&uot;But at the ripe old age of almost 40 …

I’ve decided it’s my time. It’s time to step up to bat and stop standing on the sidelines working so hard and cheering for someone else to do something I can do myself &045; serve the people of Alabama.&uot;

With Chapman’s Friday announcement, she officially became a candidate for state auditor by crossing the $25,000 fund-raising threshold prescribed by the Fair Campaign Practices Act.

&uot;I am thrilled that the support I have encountered is reflected in having $25,000 in the bank this early in the auditor’s race, a traditionally low-budgeted race. It is humbling,&uot; Chapman said.

Neither of Chapman’s three Republican opponents or six Democrat opponents have announced reaching the $25,000 fund-raising threshold. Only three of them have qualified through the Secretary of State’s office.

Chapman bases her campaign on honesty and integrity in government, with a focus on stopping government waste.

&uot;Government waste is no new issue to our state. It’s just that today’s politicians do it better than they’ve done it in the past. They’ve found bigger and better ways,&uot; Chapman told the crowd of supporters, referring to a recent auditor’s report indicating there are 2,003 items missing at a value of $4 million.

&uot;Among those are 17 shotguns, 18 cars and trucks including a Corvette and a couple of Crown Victorias. Even my 11-year-old son knows there is something wrong with that. He asked, ‘Mom, how do you lose a truck?’ We must have accountability in government.&uot;

In addition, Chapman pledged to appoint qualified members to the board of registrars and to work to stop voter fraud in Alabama. The state auditor appoints one member of each county’s board of registrars.

In an unprecedented show of support, Chapman was joined at her official announcement by numerous Shelby County public officials.

State Sen. Jabo Waggoner said Chapman has served her time &uot;in the trenches,&uot; referring to her work other political officials including Gov. Fob James and Lt. Gov. Steve Windom.

&uot;She is certainly a lady of integrity, and she has prepared herself to do what she’s fixing to do,&uot; she said.

Rep. Mike Hill

offered Chapman support as well.

&uot;It’s exciting to know we have someone from Shelby County stepping out to one of the major positions in the state of Alabama,&uot; he said.

Also present at the Pelham announcement in support of Chapman was Rep. Mary Sue McClurkin.

Shelby County Commissioner Larry Dillard spoke of Chapman’s &uot;tremendous organizational and leadership skills.&uot;

&uot;She will do what’s morally right,&uot; he said. &uot;She’ll do the best job we’ve ever had done at state auditor.&uot;

Shelby County’s Republican commissioners including Joel Bearden, Ted Crockett, Lindsey Allison, Dan Acker, Jimmy Bice and Billy Thompson have endorsed Chapman as well.

Mayors Bobby Hayes of Pelham, George Roy of Calera, Sonny Penhale of Helena and Gene Weingarten of Indian Springs are among the Shelby County mayors who have endorsed Chapman.

Former State Sen. and county attorney Frank &uot;Butch&uot; Ellis spoke fondly of Chapman at her announcement.

&uot;Beth is unique. She can get elected,&uot; he said. &uot;She will get elected, and she’ll make us all proud.&uot;

Shelby County Probate Judge Patricia Fuhrmeister offered her support to Chapman as well.

&uot;Beth is such a hard worker and wants to see everything she does turn out right. She is a stickler for making sure that nothing she does hints at impropriety.

&uot;Whatever she does, she’s going to do tirelessly. I can’t think of a person I would rather support as a candidate,&uot; she said.

Although not able to attend Chapman’s Pelham announcement, Sheriff James Jones and Shelby County District Attorney Robby Owens have also endorsed her candidacy for state auditor.

Chapman told those gathered Friday that she believed there were moral absolutes in life.

&uot;Some people call them Christian values, moral values, family values or conservative values. I call them all of the above. Too many people use the term Christian Conservative. I believe those words are redundant.

&uot;Family values are not something I just talk about or something that I have. They are who I am. If you elect me as your next state auditor, those values will represent you in Montgomery,&uot; she said.

Chapman is a lifelong Republican activist and chairman of the Shelby County Republican Party.

She served as a cabinet member of Gov. James for the first two years of his last administration and has since owned and operated Beth Chapman & Associates LLC, a public relations, nonprofit and political consulting firm.

She has worked with such notable figures as Charlton Heston raising money for his conservative ARENA political action committee and former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani in his short-lived Senate bid against Hillary Clinton.

In addition, she worked alongside George Wallace Jr. in his successful first bid as a Republican for the Public Service Commission and Justice Lyn Stuart in her first statewide campaign, which won her a seat on the Alabama Supreme Court. She has also served as press secretary for Lt. Gov. Windom.

Chapman works with the Court Appointed Special Advocates in Shelby County and has worked with other nonprofit organizations including Owens House, Shelby County’s child advocacy center; the Developing Alabama Youth program; the Crisis Center of the Jefferson County; and various other children’s advocacy groups.

She is a member of the Alabama Republican Party Executive Committee and was appointed by Congressman Spencer Bachus twice to the Republican Women in Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C.

Chapman lives in North Shelby County with her husband, James, and their two sons, Taylor and Thatcher