Two truckers running for governor in their states

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Two truck drivers — one a political newcomer and the other a evangelical minister turned progressive activist — are running for the governorships of their respective states.

Bryan Messenger, a 28-year-old company driver is running for governor of Kentucky as a Republican, while Jason Childs, 46, seeks to be on the ballot as a Democrat for the governorship of Alabama.

Jason ChildsJason Childs

Childs became a trucker after being forced out of his first career. Childs became a Southern Baptist minister at the age of 18, but when he and his wife divorced, the denomination required him to leave the pulpit.

So the resident of Gadsden, Alabama got his CDL and started driving over the road in 2006; he called it “an amazing experience.” Today he drives a 623-mile dedicated run between northeast Alabama to Canton, Mississippi delivering auto parts.

Childs’ political awakening came in 2010 when the daughter of a friend was told she could not attend the high school prom with her girlfriend. Childs successfully argued the girl’s cause, and that prompted him to create the Center for Progress in Alabama, what he calls a progressive public policy and advocacy organization.

Planks of his platform include:

  • Increasing the state’s minimum wage to $10 per hour, eliminating the state tax on grocery items, and increasing state social service for people in need
  • Creating a state lottery and a casino zone along the gulf coast to generate money to improve education
  • Increasing funding for law enforcement agencies
  • Legalizing marijuana, which Childs said would raise as much as $88 million in taxes for the state’s coffers
  • Supporting the rights of the state’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender residents

Childs expects he’ll face competition in next June’s primary for the Democratic spot for governor. The general election is in November of 2018.

Bryan MessengerBryan Messenger

Bryan Messenger has more time to generate support for his run for the Kentucky governor’s mansion. That election is not until November of 2019.

Messenger said he held a number of dead-end jobs before becoming a trucker three years ago.

The Somerset, Kentucky resident, who grew up in Florida, said the motivation for getting into politics about two years ago was the same as becoming a truck driver: To make sure his children have a better life than he did growing up.

Towards that end, Messenger’s stands include:

  • Improve the state’s economy
  • Greater support for the state’s criminal justice system including sending drug offenders to residential rehabilitation instead of jail
  • Improve the state’s public education system — especially supporting teachers he says are overworked and underpaid — and elevate its public colleges to the same level as those in the Ivy League
  • Elimination of sanctuary cities and the deportation of illegal immigrants
  • Support and improve the business climates for manufacturing and health care

Like Childs, Messenger anticipates a primary.