Words by Al Blanton | Images by Ryan McGill
Newly elected Alabama Secretary of State Wes Allen met with several small business owners in Jasper this past Tuesday. Allen, who was elected to the post last November and inaugurated in January, has been meeting with small business owners around the state over the last eight months. “We interface on a daily basis with businesses, both small and large,” Allen said. “I like to get out and visit with the taxpayers. We are here to serve them. If they have any ideas on how we can be better on our end, we like to hear that.”
Allen met several business leaders for lunch and visited Bernard’s Store for Men and Young Jewelers later that afternoon. Bernard’s owner, Rusty Richardson, said he appreciates that an elected official—especially at a state-wide level—takes the time to understand the community’s needs. “We were honored and pleased to welcome Secretary of State Allen and really appreciate his concern for small business and small towns like Jasper,” Richardson said. “He asked several questions about our business and we discussed the revitalization of the downtown area. We thoroughly enjoyed his visit.”
The Secretary of State office handles business formations, U.C.C. business entities and issues, L.L.Cs and incorporations. In addition, the Secretary of State serves as the state’s chief election official. “We handle and coordinate through the probate judges, circuit clerk, sheriff, and board of registrars,” Allen said. “We help administer our elections in the state, so that’s important, too, especially coming up next year with the Presidential election. We are really gearing up for the March 5 primary.”
Allen said over the last few months, he’s been trying to gain an understanding of the complexities of the office while balancing speaking engagements and frequent visits to municipalities throughout the state. “It’s a very humbling experience to drive up to the capitol each and every day and serve the residents and taxpayers of the state of Alabama,” he said. “We can never forget who we serve, and that’s the taxpayers.”
Tuesday was Allen’s second stop in Jasper; he had visited the town during a campaign stop before being elected. Says Allen about the city of Jasper: “Jasper’s unbelievable. It’s great. You’re seeing so much downtown re-development, a lot of excitement, and people are working very hard to provide for their families.”
Allen says his goal is to make doing business in Alabama a more pleasant experience. He is looking for ways to make his office and website more user-friendly. “On our end, we want to do whatever we can do to make it easier on business owners and taxpayers when they interact with government,” he said.
To connect with the Secretary of State’s office, please visit https://www.sos.alabama.gov/. WL