Rick Neighbors

Rick Neighbors

(The Marshall County Democratic Party provided this announcement for Democratic candidate for Rick Neighbors, who is running for the 4th Congressional District seat.)

Decorated Army veteran Rick Neighbors has a long history of fighting for our freedoms. He vows to bring that same fight to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Neighbors will be on the Democratic Primary ballot for the District 4 seat on May 24 vying for enough votes to again take on the 13-term incumbent Robert Aderholt in November.

“I continue to have faith in the good voters of District 4 to choose a representative in Congress who will fight for the things that matter to us all,” said Neighbors. “Having served three tours in Vietnam, I understand that our veterans need better healthcare. As a long-time manager in the textile industry, I understand the need to fight for better wages and equal opportunities.

“I’ve seen the discrimination against women and minorities. And it is heartbreaking to see our representative vote against every bill that would help women including the Violence Against Women Act,” Neighbors added.

Neighbors also believes that everyone who wants an education should have the opportunity to get one. He cites Alabama’s poor education system and the lack of proper funding to rural schools as an important priority.

Born in North Carolina, Neighbors was one of five children and was raised around small farming. He learned his work ethic from his parents. His father, a veteran of both WWII and the Korean War, quit school after a wagon turned over and killed Rick’s grandfather. His parents were married during the war in 1942. His mother, Gladys Norris, also the daughter of a sharecropper, supported the war effort by assembling ammunition. Afterwards she worked “graveyard shifts” in spinning mills to care for their children while her husband was away in the Army.

Neighbors began his military service when he dropped out of high school after his junior year and joined the Army at age 17. He was fortunate to score high on his entry tests and was sent to the Signal School in New Jersey where he studied electronics for fourteen months. Initially deployed to Germany as a communications specialist supporting our tactical nuclear defense strategy, he volunteered for Vietnam arriving in January 1967. He eventually served three tours, the last ending in the spring of 1971. His main duties involved tactical communications to include running contingency teams throughout the 3rd and 4th quadrants. He was airborne qualified and was awarded the Army Commendation medal.

As a veteran, Neighbors joined Bethel Baptist Missionary Church. In 1973 he was awarded a small scholarship from the Southern Baptist Association and enrolled in Campbell College as a ministerial student. He switched his major frequently, going from religion to psychology, philosophy, and art. After his junior year he switched schools to attend the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, graduating in 1979 with a B.A. in Political Science.

After graduating from UNCC and intending to go to law school but needing to work, Neighbors took what he thought would be a temporary job with an apparel company. This temp job lasted thirty-five years. He trained in Greensboro, NC for six months, transferred to Oneonta, Alabama to mentor for a year under a sage practitioner, and transferred in 1980 to Hackleburg, Alabama as Division Quality Control Manager for Wrangler.

He met and married his wife Judy in 1981 and made Alabama his home. They have three children, six grandchildren, and eight great grandchildren.

His work in apparel took him to many states and he soon became an international businessman and negotiator. Then In 1993 he started his own apparel consulting firm, but the impact of NAFTA eventually led to Mexico where he was general manager of a maquiladora. He started and closed a manufacturing company during this period. The maquiladora closed in 2005 because of trade agreements with China.

Neighbors returned to northwest Alabama in 2006 where he actively pursued opportunities to open manufacturing without success. In 2009 he learned that the largest manufacturers of compact fluorescent lights wanted to build a manufacturing facility in the U.S. He did his homework and realized this could be an opportunity to bring higher paying jobs to Alabama. He could not get through the gate keeper of the Chinese owner. Undeterred, he reached out to our Congressional representative hoping by virtue of his office, a door could be opened. After limited conversation, this path closed due a failure of vision and understanding by our political leadership.

Neighbors continues to support international trade and understands that trade is essential for rural Alabama to earn a middle-class income once again.

“However, our trade agreements must serve all Americans, not just a few,” he said.

“I’ll fight for all workers – for better wages, expanded healthcare and equal pay for women. I’ll put the working middle class, the disadvantaged, and the elderly in District 4 above the tax breaks for the rich. And I am committed to protect Medicare and Medicaid and to raise Social Security to help lift the elderly out of poverty.”

Neighbors also stressed the importance of fighting for better educational opportunities.

“We’re selling our children short on the education they need and deserve. Our teachers are underpaid and often spend their own money for school supplies,” Neighbors lamented.

Neighbors continued his education and earned his MBA from the University of North Alabama in 2015 He received a graduate certification in Project Management from UNA in 2017 and earned CAPM certification from the Project Management Institute in the spring of 2017.

Unlike the incumbent, Neighbors will be an “open door” representative to the people in District 4.

“I want to hear their needs and concerns,” he said. “I don’t think that a representative can live in Virginia and stay in touch with the people.”

He said Aderholt hasn’t lived in the district for almost 18 years. He instead lives in Virginia, just outside Washington DC where his children attended all their pre-college years in school.

Neighbors says he has concerns about his primary election opponent.

“I heard that she also lives outside of District 4, like Aderholt,” he said.

For more information about the Neighbors’ campaign, please visit neighborsforcongress.com. You can also follow the campaign on Facebook, Twitter and other social media.

“I’ll vote for the people in District 4 and respectfully ask for your vote on May 24 in the Democratic Primary.”

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