Drawn to public service after working for other elected officials, Sen. Cam Ward has served Shelby County in the Alabama Senate since 2010. Prior to that, the senator, who has a bachelor’s degree from Troy University and a law degree from Cumberland School of Law, served two terms in the Alabama House of Representatives. Ward lives in Alabaster with his wife, Julie, and their daughter, Riley.
Q: Are you from Shelby County? If not, how did you discover Shelby County?
A: I did not grow up in Shelby County. I moved here after graduating from Cumberland Law School. My wife and I have lived here ever since. Also, both our families have moved to Shelby County in the last several years.
Q: What is the most underrated aspect of living in Shelby County?
A: There is large amount of green space available to the public. Some of the best parks in the state are right here in our local community. Oak Mountain and Alabaster’s Veterans Park are two of my favorite places.
Q: Why did you decide to seek elected office?
A: I served on staff for several officials before I ran for office myself. The decision was ultimately based upon my desire to have an impact on the public debate dealing with issues I saw statewide. I felt that I could have a bigger impact on the issues I cared about more in the legislature than some other area of government.
Q: What do you think is the most overlooked issue facing the state right now?
A: The corrections system in Alabama is a ticking time bomb. At 193 percent capacity, this system is literally on the verge of having the federal courts intervene in how we run our prisons. This would cost our state hundreds of millions of dollars and put public safety in danger.
Q: What has serving as an elected official taught you about yourself?
A: I learn something new everyday in this job. I have learned that you have to patience and tolerance for differing views. I was not sure I had this ability but over time I have grown into a role of listening to both sides of an issue.
Q: What is the proudest moment of your career?
A: When I was named Easter Seals State Elected Official of the Year for the entire country. My wife and daughter accepted the honor on my behalf. It was such an honor to be recognized for my work on helping those with developmental disabilities. I was very proud that my wife and daughter were such a big part of this honor.
Q: How do you unwind after a stressful day of work?
A: Two things actually. I enjoy exercising, and I like doing yard work. They both seem therapeutic for the stress. I am sure people would look at me oddly when I say I enjoy working in the yard, but it is definitely a stress reliever to me.
Q: Where do you see Shelby County in 10 years?
A: I think it will be a community in transition. With growth continuing and more people moving from Jefferson County into our community it will put a strain on our infrastructure. We will need to plan for continued growth and how we continue to provide the quality of life that attracted so many people to our community in the first place.
Q: Who is your role model?
A: My mentor and close friend Mike Hill. He originally encouraged me to run for office in 2002. He and his wife Carol have been a real influence on my family’s life. I could not have navigated the legislative process without Mike. The respect for him on both sides of political aisle in Montgomery makes him a great teacher and role model.
Q: What are your hobbies?
A: I enjoy collecting political memorabilia. At last count I think I have more than 2,500 buttons and posters now.
Q: What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?
A: Listen more to others. There is always a lot to learn. l