Lew Burdette, chairman of King’s Home, a Christian nonprofit organization that helps abused and neglected women and children, today announced he is running for the Republican nomination for governor.
Burdette, 62, who lives in Vestavia Hills, is making her first run for public office.
âIt breaks my heart that when I left the University of Alabama 40 years ago, we were at the bottom of the ladder in education, health care and prisons, and Here we are 40 years later and no statistic is better, âsaid Burdette. when asked why he had decided to enter a political race for the first time. âWe have no more 40 years to lose.
âI say to everyone, ‘Thank goodness I’m not a politician,’â said Burdette. “And I say that with pride because what I hear and what people tell me is, ‘Lew, we are hungry for change in this state and someone who is a political outsider and someone who has a background in business and has run a large nonprofit organization and who is just a common sense governor. And that’s who I am.
Burdette has run King’s Home since 2002. The program includes The King’s Ranch and Hannah Homes and operates 21 residential group homes on six campuses in four counties. Burdette made his announcement on the main Chelsea campus.
Burdette said he spoke to the King’s Home board about his gubernatorial candidacy and would step down from leading operations during his campaign.
Prior to joining King’s Home, Burdette spent 13 years at Books-A-Million, where he was Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. In 1998, Burdette founded Kindred, a Christian retail store in Birmingham where he was president and CEO.
Burdette joins a group in the Republican gubernatorial race that includes Gov. Kay Ivey, who is running for a full second term; Lindy Blanchard, businesswoman and former ambassador to Slovenia in the Trump administration; Tim James, businessman and son of former Governor Fob James; pastor of Opelika Dean Odle; and Correctional Officer and Former Morgan County Commissioner Stacy Lee George.
Two Democratic candidates qualified with the party for the governorship. They are Chad “Chig” Martin, an Enterprise businessman, and Yolande flowers. Dothan’s Christopher Countryman, who ran in 2018, announced last summer that he would run for the Democratic nomination this year but has not yet qualified, according to the party’s website.
Burdette grew up in Roanoke where he trashed groceries at his father’s store, Burdette’s Food Store. In a video on his campaign site, Burdette describes a terrifying experience in December 1974 when two men forced him into a car at gunpoint as he left the store after work.
Burdette, who was 15, was stabbed, shot and thrown into a well and left. He describes what happened in a video on his campaign site.
Burdette was able to get out of the well and crawl to a house for help. He said the incident reinforced a biblical faith he learned from his mother.
âI fought for my life at the bottom of this well and only survived by the grace of God,â Burdette said on the video.
Burdette said the men who threw him into the well had the mistaken idea of ââgetting a ransom from his father.
âIt was a real kidnapping,â said Burdette. âThey had a ransom demand drawn up. They were trying to get $ 250,000 from my father. I knew this was not a good plan. Small town grocery store owner and these guys think my dad has $ 250,000.
Burdette said the men had been convicted, had served their sentences and had never been in trouble again, to his knowledge. One of them later opened a barbecue restaurant in Roanoke and has since passed away, he said. One of them called him from jail and apologized for what happened, Burdette said.
Burdette said he believes he can change the course of the state as a political outsider without any obligation to vested interests. He said he would push for campaign finance reforms and would not accept contributions over $ 10,000.
âWe have poverty issues in this state in rural areas,â Burdette said. âWe need to do more for our state economically. We need to do more for our state in health care and education.
“I look forward to bringing together an incredible cabinet that is also entrepreneurial, results-oriented, who owes no political favors.”