“When I got into it I had people saying ‘Chad you need to be a Republican,’” said Martin. “I have had the Libertarian party, the Republicans have tried to pull me in. To me it is really not about Republican or Democrat. It is about somebody getting in there and doing what is right for this state. If you are Republican and go into office, you are going to be controlled by the party, by all the special interests that puts all that money into these programs. It is the same thing with Democrats and I just think that a man has got to come in that doesn’t have any ties to either party.”
“Somebody has got to come in and not be married to any of them,” said Martin. “Just do what is right for the state of Alabama. And that is what I want to do.”
“And the other thing is, to run in politics at the state level, everything they do is about just throwing money,” said Martin. “Candidates want to beat me, not by coming out and meeting with the Rotary Club of Centre, Ala. They would rather spend about $12,000 on a minute long commercial. It is a lot easier. Trust me. What I am doing is hard. I am taking an old school approach and I am getting all over this state. I was over with Sheriff Shaver in town earlier met with him about an hour. He is a nice man.”
On Second Amendment rights, Martin said he is not only in favor of protecting the Second Amendment (the right to bear arms) but even takes it a step further.
“One of the things I want to do is if any of you in this room have to defend your property, your house, family, yourself, and use justified deadly force to protect your family,” said Martin. “I want to put something in place that when the investigatory process starts on something like this, I want to have a streamline approach to people who are protecting their homes and their families, when there is an obvious reason obvious cause that homeowners are protecting themselves, I want a streamline process in place for the investigatory process and the legal process. I don’t want a citizen being strung out for a year and a half with mental anguish over protecting themselves.”
Martin shared, for instance, a case in Miami, Fla. where a state trooper instructed a licensed pistol holder to shoot the trooper’s attacker. According to reports, the trooper was fighting with everything he could to keep the attacker from hitting him in the face and taking his (trooper’s) gun from the holster.
“This guy shot him and it took nine months to clear this guy through the legal process,” said Martin. “I thought to myself, ‘this guy has an officer that is about to lose his life saying ‘shoot him’ and now we put this guy through this kind of anguish. He doesn’t know if he is going to jail. I said ‘I don’t want this to happen in Alabama.’ That is my Second Amendment stance on that.”
Martin said he has also been asked about the lottery in Alabama.
“I am a Christian man that every single day I pray at end of day, ask for forgiveness, pray for people that are sick, people that are enemies,” said Martin. “Here is the thing about the lotto and this is the way I try to explain it. I don’t personally play the lotto. I live close to Georgia but also have Florida on the other side of me.”
“When you go to our state lines either in Alabama or Georgia you will see three or four stores built just to handle lottery needs of people coming out of Dothan, Alabama, and Southeast Alabama and I know it is like that all around the state,” said Martin. “Basically, people in Alabama are playing the lottery in Alabama and they are
gambling. We could put blinders on and imagine it is not happening, but it is happening to the tunes of millions of dollars per day.”
“I always go back to that teacher talking about buying classroom supplies,” said Martin. “I understand the religious side of the lottery. I am a Christian, but I also understand that we have got to get these teachers the things they need and if our money is already being spent on it why not keep that in state?”
“It is just a simple theory that I have,” said Martin. “I would like for the citizens of the state of Alabama to get the opportunity to vote on this.”
“If we do that one of the things that is a little different about me, usually lotteries are set aside for teachers and I want a big part of this to go to education, but I want part of this to go to law enforcement, and that will also include first responders and volunteer fire departments. People like you guys here in Centre, Alabama, know volunteer fire departments are a huge part of our community in rural areas. Those guys are not getting paid to do it. They usually have the oldest equipment and most outdated stuff so they can’t be forgotten.”
“I am proposing that cities and counties with populations of less than 50,000, they will get x amount, over $50,000 x amount,” said Martin. “I want this to be a discretionary fund for the leader of that department. As your sheriff here in Cherokee County. I want them to be able to take that money and buy what their department really needs whether it be bullet proof vests, repairs to their cars, anti terrorism software, There are things like that out there.”
“I want Alabama to be a leader again because tourism is something we are going to be facing for many, many years and just don’t want to imagine that it is not going to happen here in Alabama,” said Martin. “I want to be ahead of the game of that.”
Mental health is another area of concern, Martin said.
“One of the things I have learned over the last four weeks is we have some serious issues here in Alabama with mental health,” said Martin. “I was talking to your sheriff here and he is dealing with some issues here where there are a couple of people that are mentally challenged that are in danger of hurting themselves and other people in this community. They are not really a sheriff’s problem. They are a mental health concern for the state of Alabama and he can’t even get anybody from the state to call him back. It has become a dangerous situation. And that is just not acceptable.”
“Basically, I am a businessman,” said Martin. “When I get in and get a chance to run this state, I am going to run it just like my own business which is running things lean, tight. First of all I an just going to tell you we haven’t had a governor that has sat at the desk every day and worked every day for many years. They have a little bit too much time on their hands.”
Martin said he wants to be sure all businesses in Alabama, big or small, pay their fair share of taxes.
“If they are going to come to Alabama they are going to have to take a little bit of pride in being a tenant of our state,” said Martin. “They are going to have to pay some money because our core is what is getting left out here. This is why you don’t have any money for teachers. This is why your sheriff is lacking in funds, having to use old vehicles because we are just not getting that core money.”
Martin said he needs 35,500 signatures before next June to get on the ballot in Alabama.
“It doesn’t mean you are voting for me,” said Martin. “It just means you are giving a guy like me an opportunity to get on the ballot as an Independent. Thank you for having me in Centre, Alabama.”
Chad “Chig” Martin is an Alabama native who has lived here all of his life except for the five-years he attended the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga on a football scholarship. He grew up in Enterprise, Ala.
Martin, who has announced his intentions to run as an Independent candidate in the 2018 Alabama Governor’s race, recently addressed the Centre Rotary Club.
In other Rotary business, Cindy Cline announced that Rotary is pursuing a $ 3,000 grant for the local robotics teams.
“I think that is a marvelous project for the county,” said Cline. “It is just unbelievable the students took this on among themselves and it has been amazing the accomplishments they have made.”
Thereasa Hulgan gave an update on the SO-COOL (School’s Out-Camp Of Organized Learning) Summer program.
“We finished SO-COOL on Friday,” said Hulgan. “We had a great year. Nancy Steed and I will get the figures together and we will be doing a report one day soon. But I did want to give the Rotarians credit for attending to help us out with Patriotic Day.”
Candidate Martin shared more information about himself.
“Our claim to fame is a monument in the middle of town called the Boll Weevil monument, the only monument in the world that glorifies a pest,” said Martin. “But the story behind that is Enterprise was a huge cotton farming area so the boll weevil came in and wiped out all the cotton farms and they couldn’t control the boll weevil so they tried something new. They tried peanuts. Dothan, Alabama, holds the national peanut festival. That is where I live. They give worship to this pest for getting them to change over to peanuts. That is the whole story behind that.”
Martin is the son of Glenn and Evelyn Martin who owned and operated a trailer park in Enterprise and still own it to this day.
“We are right next to Fort Rucker Army Base down there which trains all the aviation pilots for the Army,” said Martin. “So when Fort Rucker got started, they didn’t have enough barracks, My mom and dad had built this trailer park in the middle of the Army pilots for most of the years. Now a wide range of people live there. They have had it since about the 1960s, I graduated from Enterprise High School and like I said went to Chattanooga. After I got back from Chattanooga, I came to Dothan and moved back down there to be close to my family.”
“I worked in sales for about eight or 10 years,” said Martin. “I worked in the industrial supply and equipment business. I learned a lot about dealing with the federal government and defense contractors when I worked with those companies and I saw an opportunity for small businesses to have some advantages to do business with the fed- eral government so I opened my own business, Thunder Industrial, and opened that business out of the bedroom of my house. I ran it that way for several years, turned it into almost a $2 million business from my bedroom.”
“After seven years, I was finally able to get a nice office down there in Dothan,” said Martin. “Now we have customer service reps and sales reps but the funny thing is I had more money then when I was working out of my house than I have now, I haven’t figured that one out yet. Maybe I should have stayed at home.”
Martin said he has now been in business for 13 years.
“We are doing pretty well,” said Martin. “People sometimes ask me ‘how are you doing?’ We are about to get our checking account back up to zero. But after being in business for those years, my daughter went off to Troy University to College. When your kids leave you go ‘what do I do now?’”
“When I was in Chattanooga, I always had a passion,” said Martin. “I love music, I would stay in Chattanooga during the summers and I would work. I bought myself a guitar, And I really wanted to play it then, but football takes all your time.”
But when his daughter was grown and on her own, Martin said he had more time to pursue his interest in music.
“I was sitting around one day and said ‘you know I have had a burning desire my whole life to play the guitar, play and sing and said I am going to try to do this,”’ said Martin. “I just made a commitment that I am going to learn to play the guitar and I taught myself to play and within six to eight months I had started writing songs. I went out in Dothan one night and saw a sign that said ‘Open Mike Thursday Night’ so I went into this open mike and didn’t tell my family or anybody I was doing it. I played a few songs. Just myself and another guy showed up.”
“As I was getting through with that open mike, a gentleman and his wife walked through the door and it just happened to be a guy that owned one of the biggest music venues in southeast Alabama,” said Martin. “And I had only met this guy a couple of times and said ‘how are you doing?’ He said he saw me with guitar in my hand. This is the first time I have done anything like that. He said ‘what is the chance of you playing a few songs for me and my wife? I ended up playing an hour for him. He said ‘I want you to come and play for me on Tuesday nights’ and I said ‘are you kidding?’ He said ‘I will pay you $200 to pay for two hours.’ I was blown away that anybody was offering to pay me. I said ‘Sure I will do it.’ One thing led to another and in that last six years, I got to play many concerts (open) for many Grand Ole Opry stars. It has been a great experience, I have played in front of 17,000 people the most I have ever. That was an amazing part of my life. I still get to do that some but I am very busy right now with campaigning and business.”
Martin also noted that he has his own line of hats.
“That is who I am, what I have going on personally,” said Martin.