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Brooks may seek Senate seat or circuit judgeship in 2006 elections

By Chip Drago
Mobile Bay Times
Mobile City Councilman Ben Brooks will likely seek another office in elections next year.

Brooks, who two months ago was unopposed in his bid for a second term on the city council, confirmed that he was strongly considering a race for either of two positions: state Senate District 35, now held by Sen. Gary Tanner, a south Mobile County Democrat; or the Mobile County Circuit judgeship to be vacated by the retirement of longtime Mobile County Circuit Judge Ferrill D. McRae.

Brooks, a 47-year-old Mobile attorney,
emphasized, however, that he would consult
with his District 4 constituents before making
a final decision on the pursuit of another

Brooks said he was aware of "three
or four" potential successors to him as the
District 4 representative, all of whom he
considered well-qualified and interested in
running in a special election to fill the seat. Brooks declined to identify the individuals.

Brooks first ran for office in 2001, defeating incumbent City Councilman Mabin Hicks who later became a Brooks' supporter.

City council elections are non-partisan, but Brooks has long been a Republican and he would seek either of the offices under his consideration as a Republican.

His possible departure from the City Council would leave almost three years on his current term of office and require a special election. The next regularly scheduled municipal elections are set for August, 2009.

Brooks would not have to relinquish his city council post in order to run for either the judgeship or the Senate seat. Should he win election to another office, Brooks would have to resign his city office before taking the oath of office for his new position. 

"It's been weighing pretty heavy," Brooks said. "The situation is amorphous. I've met with a lot of people who are really urging me to do that (run for state Senate). I've also been urged to run for the judgeship. They are both positions of great honor. I'm blessed and lucky to have an opportunity to consider them. I will think and pray over it with my family."

Brooks said he would have to be satisfied that his District 4 constituents were comfortable with his decision.

"I"m not abandoning anybody," he said. "Before I make or announce a decision, I will be consulting with the residents of my district, my constituents. If these people told me 'we cannot lose you,' I'd have to rethink it."

"Do I desire to be a part of one of those scenarios next year?" Brooks asked rhetorically. "There's no question that's of high interest to me. Again though, I will protect the interests of District 4 first."

Brooks said he has long felt a "strong calling" to public service and the possibility of increasing his contribution would be difficult to resist.

"You only go around once in life," Brooks said. "It may be a chance to bring about even more advocacy for the residents of this district."

Brooks said he expects to make a final decision "certainly within the next month or month and a half."

During his more than four years in public office, Brooks has established a reputation as a fiscal conservative who believes that the city's tax and regulatory policies have hindered economic growth within the city's corporate limits. 

Brooks and his wife, Kathy, have three children: Megan, Ben and Elizabeth. Brooks has resided in the Dog River area of Mobile almost his entire life. He is a member of Cypress Shores Baptist Church.